By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Stardust def. Zack Ryder (Kickoff Match)
While I enjoyed the match for what it was, it wouldn't have been so forgettable had the commentators not completely ignored the action in the ring. Instead, they talked about other matches and made penis jokes (no, I'm not kidding; they actually went there). It's a shame because these two are capable of having a pretty nice match, and it was sad to see Ryder back to his losing ways after his showcase against John Cena this past week (though I never should have expected anything less). I'm glad Stardust picked up a win for once, but the damage has already been done and it's time for him to go back to being Cody Rhodes.
The Miz Hosted 'Miz TV' with Daniel Bryan (Kickoff Show)
I didn't understand why they were bringing Bryan back so early unless we were going to get an update on his health status or if he was going to plug his upcoming book and DVD, and thankfully he did both. The Miz played his annoying role well and it was good to see him get his comeuppance at the hands of his former stunt double Damien Mizdow... or should I say, Macho Mandow (although it was a sad reminder of what a botched program tha was). It was encouraging to hear Bryan's career isn't over, but no timetable was given for his return or even what the nature of the injury is.
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day def. Prime Time Players, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, The Ascension, The Lucha Dragons, and Los Matadores in an Elimination Chamber Match
First off, let's address the elephant (or bull?) in the room: why the hell was El Torito allowed in the Chamber? Him being the "mascot" for Los Matadores doesn't make a damn difference, and them being the first ones eliminated made it even more pointless. I didn't mind all three members of The New Day being in there at once, but technically only two should have competed per the "Freebird Rule." Plus, it made the Players look strong in defeat because they had to overcome the odds, in addition to The New Day coming in last. The early goings were rather slow, and the quick elimination of The Lucha Dragons was odd, but I enjoyed the match for the most part. The final few minutes when it came down to the Players and New Day were especially suspenseful and the Players put up a good enough fight that a rematch should be in order. I figured The New Day would retain, but how ridiculous is it that we haven't crowned a new champion inside the steel structure since 2010? And no, I'm not counting the Intercontinental Championship Chamber match because there is no champion going into that.
Divas Champion Nikki Bella def. Naomi and Paige in a Triple Threat Match
My expectations for this match weren't high by any stretch, but I honestly thought it'd be better than this. There was too much talent involved in this match for it to be as bad as it was. Was it the worst Divas match I've ever seen? Absolutely not, but it felt like they crammed too much in a short period of time and that it was all rushed. There were some fine moments, but the sloppy spots were much more noticeable. To top it all off, this should have been Naomi's night. Unless there's a grand plan to put the belt on Naomi (I'll reserve judgement), I'm surprised they didn't pull the trigger here. How hilarious would it be if they have Nikki become the longest reigning Divas Champion ever just to spite the recently departed AJ Lee?
NXT Champion Kevin Owens def. United States Champion John Cena (Non-title)
No words I write here can do this match justice, but I'll try my best. What an absolutely fantastic match. There was never a point where Owens was made to look inferior to Cena, and by that I mean they didn't have him make any "rookie mistakes." As he pointed out himself, he's been in this business for 15 years, even longer than Cena, so it was logical to think they'd be on the same level. I loved how he pulled moves out of his arsenal (the Swanton, moonsault, and the Attitude Adjustment) that not even fans of NXT would have seen yet. It truly gave the match the special feel it had going into it. Furthermore, take nothing away from Cena, who was equally excellent here as well and sold Owens' offense like a champ (no pun intended), so kudos to him for making a star out of Owens (as if he wasn't one already). Owens scoring a clean win over Cena his first official match as a WWE Superstar is a monumental deal, now we can only hope they follow it up properly, and I have faith that they will.
Neville def. Bo Dallas
You had to feel for these guys because there was zero way they were going to follow up that instant classic from Owens and Cena. As I figured they would, Neville and Dallas delivered a good match but nothing overly memorable. It was fun while it lasted and the crowd was completely dead for it, though that doesn't mean anything since this was a terrible crowd, anyway. It was an easy win for Neville and was everything it should have been, so I have no complaints.
Ryback def. Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Mark Henry, R-Truth and King Barrett in an Elimination Chamber Match to Win the Intercontinental Championship
Would it be safe to say that this was the worst Chamber match in WWE history? I don't know, this match definitely gave that one from 2006's December to Dismember a run for its money. Just about everything about it was a mess. From Henry being named as the replacement for Rusev (it could have been worse, I guess) to Sheamus' pod door not opening to Henry coming out early to Barrett getting eliminated by Truth (that takes the cake), it was a total disappointment. The fans couldn't have cared less by the end, but at the very least, it's great to see Ryback finally rewarded for his efforts with his first singles win. Daniel Bryan being the one presenting him with the title made the moment even cooler considering how close of friends they are outside the ring.
Dean Ambrose def. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins by Disqualification
Following their stellar string of matches last year, it was a given that this match would be every bit as excellent as their past encounters. The crowd didn't give it the reaction it deserved, but as previously established, they were horrendous all night long. The in-ring action was highly entertaining and I couldn't believe my eyes when Ambrose scored the three count. I was shocked beyond belief! Of course, that led into the decision being reversed and Ambrose via disqualification, but I didn't have a problem with it. Ambrose will be champion someday, so what's the hurry? They'll likely do a rematch at the next event, so perhaps they pull the trigger there. At least Roman Reigns making the save and Ambrose taking the title with him sent the crowd home happy.
For all the awesome moments this show had, it was all over the map from start to finish, so I'm hesitant to call it a great show. Above all else, Owens and Cena stole the night, and arguably the year with their outing. That was the biggest highlight coming out of this event, along with Ryback's title win and the great main event. The tag team Chamber, although it could have been better, was solid, but the second Chamber was lame as all hell. Neville and Dallas delivered while the Divas title match was underwhelming, so you can see why it's difficult to say this show fired on all cylinders. I will say, however, I enjoyed it for the most part and the high points were fantastic and have me looking forward to what's next on Raw Monday night. Hopefully WWE learned their lesson with announcing pay-per-views two weeks in advance, otherwise we'll be stuck with dead "house show" crowds like this more often.
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