Mojo Rawley def. Curt Hawkins (Kickoff Match)
Rawley received more cheers than I thought he would, and I have to give him credit for actually showing signs of improvement. Or at the very least, working well within his limitations. Hawkins is the perennial jobber, so he never had a shot of winning here, but he deserves credit for selling nicely for Rawley's offense. I doubt Rawley will be a part of any meaningful match at WrestleMania outside of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but this was a fine win for him.
Becky Lynch def. Mickie James
I liked this match in the opening slot because it kicked off the event on an entertaining note. They delivered a pretty good match, but I don't think it was quite as great as fans had hoped going in. And I was almost expecting that considering it's the first match of the feud and I'm sure we haven't seen the last of this rivalry. That said, James should have won to keep Lynch in chase mode, though it was cool for Lynch to finally score her first singles match pay-per-view (seriously).
Apollo Crews and Kalisto def. Dolph Ziggler in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Ziggler attacking Kalisto before the bout was intended to put heat on him, but all it did was make him out to be a bigger babyface since he didn't have to go up against the odds in a Handicap match. Crews and Ziggler had a forgettable five minute match before Kalisto resurfaced, and I don't blame the crowd at all for cheering Ziggler afterward. The "babyfaces" won, yet Ziggler left them laying again, so basically, no one benefited from this match. What a shame.
American Alpha def. The Ascension, The Usos, Heath Slater & Rhyno, The Vaudevillians, and Breezango in a Tag Team Turmoil Match
This felt like a match that belonged on SmackDown Live. They received a ton of time, but none of the mini-matches were particularly memorable. The only time the titles were truly in jeopardy was when The Usos attacked American Alpha after they were eliminated and The Ascension immediately hit their finisher. Then again, The Ascension have been a joke for so long I wouldn't be surprised if fans figured American Alpha would battle back and retain their titles, anyway. American Alpha vs. The Usos is the only feud in the division that would intrigue me at the moment because this was a waste for the most part.
Nikki Bella vs. Natalya Ended in a Double Count-Out
For a match I assumed would be a dud, Nikki and Natalya put forth an excellent effort here. Granted, it was far from a five star classic, but I strongly believe Nikki turned a few heads with her performance in this match. She definitely deserves credit for coming as far as she has as an in-ring competitor over the years. Meanwhile, the non-finish was lame. I realize they'll resume the rivalry through the next few weeks, but I never condone those type of finishes on pay-per-view.
Randy Orton def. Luke Harper
Orton and Harper produced the best bout of the show up to this point and it wasn't even close. Harper has gradually gotten over as a fan favorite as of late and that was evident by the end of this matchup with the crowd solidly behind him. Orton winning was predictable, but the key was Harper having a strong showing before being beaten and he was successful in that respect. I have my fingers crossed he won't be lost in the shuffle heading into WrestleMania.
Naomi def. Alexa Bliss to Win the SmackDown Women's Championship
Naomi has been built up fairly well in the past few weeks as a challenger to the championship, and although the crowd didn't rally behind her too much in this match, they were certainly receptive of the title change and showered her with "You deserve it!" chants, which was cool. The match itself was actually quite good and Naomi shined in her first major shot at the strap on pay-per-view. I wouldn't have taken the title off Bliss so soon, but it does leave me wondering what the championship match will be come WrestleMania 33 at this point.
Bray Wyatt def. AJ Styles. John Cena, The Miz, Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin in an Elimination Chamber Match to Win the WWE Championship
It's hard to contest a bad Elimination Chamber match, but this was definitely among the better ones that have been held in the past decade or so. It wisely booked from start to finish and there were a lot of little things I liked about it. First of all, I am totally content with the new Chamber structure if only because it must be better on the bodies of the Superstars, and it still looks sweet. Furthermore, Corbin looked fantastic destroying everyone before being eliminated by Ambrose, setting up the WrestleMania match I hoped they would have. Wyatt eliminating Cena in clean fashion was a pleasant surprise and I was happy it came down to Wyatt and Styles because they were the only real choices who could capture the title. Wyatt winning his premiere singles title in WWE was a monumental moment, and as obvious of an outcome as it was, it's difficult to be upset when we have a fresh face as champion who has long deserved a run at the top. Now, if he can just hold on to it for a substantial period of time, that would be wonderful.
The first half of this event fell flat for me, and they didn't seem to find the right rhythm until Orton vs. Harper. The women's title match was a treat, but the Chamber match in the main event was far and away the best bout on the entire show. On the whole, this was the weakest SmackDown Live pay-per-view since the dawn of the Brand Split, but it was a newsworthy, enjoyable evening with two title changes and some quality wrestling.
©2010 - 2017 Next Era Wrestling, Inc. All Rights Reserved.