Elimination Chamber 2020
March 8, 2020
Wells Fargo Center
Watch: WWE Network
Meet Our Reviewers:
Sean Sedor: Since Sean completely forgot that this PPV was set to start at 7:00, he almost didn’t have this review set up in time! It was probably a combination of Sean watching the end of the NASCAR race at Phoenix, plus the fact that this PPV was so low on matches that he just assumed the pre-show was at 7:00, and the PPV was at 8:00. All of that insanity aside, you can go follow Sean on Twitter @SASedor2994 for all of his hot takes and whatnot.
Steve Case: What better way to turn a frown upside down after a horrible, annoying, and infuriating rec league hoops tournament first round loss than a little pro wrestling! There’s no way this could end poorly, right? RIGHT?! Follow on Twitter @Coachcase44.
Daniel Bryan def. Drew Gulak
Sean Sedor: The good news about the NASCAR race at Phoenix? It was pretty exciting! The bad news? Joey Logano won, and he’s probably my least favorite driver right now (that arrogant prick). You didn’t come here to hear me vent about NASCAR though, you came for my takes on this PPV! Our opener was a late addition to the card, and it was a fascinating match on paper, considering the IMMENSE amount of history that these two have in the city of Philadelphia, though promotions like ROH, CHIKARA, and EVOLVE. These two ended up having a great opening contest that felt like something straight off an EVOLVE card. Really strong technical wrestling throughout, and they told a very nice story with Gulak working over the neck and head of Bryan. This included an absolutely NASTY German Suplex and a Reverse Superplex on the top rope. Eventually, Daniel Bryan was able to mount a comeback, and forced Gulak to pass out after locking him in the Yes Lock. See what happens when you just let these wrestlers go out there and just wrestle? WWE has all the potential in the world to have so many awesome matches like this on a weekly basis, but they constantly get in their own way with their stupid creative process, and the storytelling, and all of that nonsense. A rare WWE PPV bout that’s must-see. ****
Steve Case: It’s crazy to think that when you let two pros go out there and go at it that you get a very good pro wrestling match. It also helps that the two parties involved are good friends, so they lay it in a little extra. They started with some slick grappling, but Gulak quickly began to target Bryan’s neck, which is what a smart wrestler would do with an opponent with a history of neck injuries. Logic! Bryan took some brutal bumps with the suplex over the ropes (that tore up his back), and disgusting looking release german suplex, and a reverse suplex off the top rope into a dragon sleeper. Bryan, who is a tremendous babyface of course, got the crowd behind him throughout the assault from Gulak and was able to make a slick transition into the Yes Lock to make Gulak pass out. The work was smooth, they got time, and told a good story. Plus the crowd got the winner they wanted. Pro wrestling isn’t hard. I just hope that’s not this show’s peak. ***3/4
Suit Williams: I’m sat here stunned at how good this match was. Not because the guys in the match aren’t talented, but because too often the booking in this company gets in the way of the wrestlers and sullies the match. But these two came out here and told a solid story, with hometown guy Gulak outmaneuvering Bryan for a good chunk of the match. Gulak dumped Bryan on his head with some nasty suplexes, playing off of Bryan’s past neck issues. Bryan was eventually able to catch Gulak’s arm and hit some hammerfists before making him pass out in the LeBell Lock. A damn solid pro wrestling, which is an unfortunate rarity for WWE these days. ****
— Italo Santana (@BulletClubIta) March 8, 2020
WWE United States Championship: Andrade (with Zelina Vega) © def. Humberto Carrillo
Sean Sedor: Going into this, I knew it was going to be pretty good, but at the same time, it feels like these have wrestled a hundred times already. This next chapter in the rivalry between these two started with a JUDAS EFFECT right out of the gate by Andrade. Looked like he could’ve knocked Humberto out. From there, the match turned out to be a very good one. It was a little slow after the Judas Effect, but the pace picked up, and we saw some fun offense throughout from Carrillo. Even though these guys have had so many matches in recent months (as I already mentioned), this might’ve been one of the best. That being said, it never feels like these guys have stellar matches. Their chemistry is good, and the bouts usually end up being very solid, but they’re almost never great (at least the ones that I’ve seen). The finish was a little cheap, with Andrade holding onto the tights, but this was a definite step up from their match at the Royal Rumble. ***3/4
Steve Case: JUDAS EFFECT!!! Andrade has been studying Le Champion’. The pace started hot, which got me real excited we may get a strong lucha match. Unfortunately, they slowed it way down from there. Andrade took over for the next several minutes with some heel TV offense, which is real depressing when you harken back to the distant memories of the Cien Almas fellow from NXT. The energy definitely picked up when Carillo would get his flurry of offense, with the crowd surprisingly behind him. In a real LOL moment, Zelina tears up the floor padding for Andrade to DDT Carillo onto. But when Carillo reversed it and gave Andrade a back body drop, it was on the section now with double the padding. That got me a little. After a beautiful tope from Carillo, they both traded some pinning combinations until Andrade caught Carillo and pulled the tights. This was a good television match, but you hope to expect more on the big shows. This will continue. ***1/4
Suit Williams: This match started with a very dull segment where Andrade worked over Carrillo’s arm. But after that, the match picked up with these two turning in a performance that was good, not great. Carrillo reversed the DDT on the concrete and got into a pinning predicament where Andrade was able to score the fall with a handful of tights. The finish felt a little flat, and I’m not a fan of Carrillo continuing to lose these important matches. He’s not Darby Allin or Jeff Hardy, where his character can take big losses. He’s a guy who can easily get lost in the shuffle if they let him. But all that aside, this was a fine PPV outing. ***1/2
.@humberto_wwe's pulling out all the stops!
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) March 8, 2020
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship – Elimination Chamber Match: John Morrison & The Miz © def. The Usos, The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston), Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode, Heavy Machinery (Otis & Tucker), & Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado)
Sean Sedor: So while this show was going on, I was also finishing off my review of ROH’s recent Gateway To Honor event. How’s that for handling two things at once? Anyway, the only reason why I signed up for this review is because the Elimination Chamber is one of my favorite gimmick matches going today. As long as I’m on the VOW staff, you can count on my reviewing shows that have this match on the card (unless it’s in Saudi Arabia). The New Day and The Usos were the two teams that started this match, which makes sense, given their chemistry and the fact that they’re probably the best two teams involved in this one. They had a nice little exchange during the first few minutes until Lucha House Party entered. Poor Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado are making their first non-battle royal PPV appearance in AGES (maybe ever), and both of them immediately botch their first moves right out of the gate. Fortunately, they made up for it by busting out some crazy high-flying offense (as was expected), which included both of them hitting big dives of one of the pods. Miz and Morrison were out next, and while they dominated this portion of the match, the highlight was actually Gran Metalik hitting Morrison with a rana off the top of one of the pods! That was crazy.
We then had Heavy Machinery enter the match, and they were in control for a few minutes. Then, all of a sudden, every team in the match congregated in the middle of the ring, as Lince Dorado (who had scaled the chamber wall and was hanging from the roof) nailed an INSANE shooting star press!! Of course, his partner Gran Metalik immediately got pinned by Heavy Machinery, and Lucha House Party was eliminated. Tucker then hit a dive from the top of a pod as Otis got his hands on Ziggler for a brief moment. This led to Otis flying through a pod and completely outside the chamber after Ziggler moved out of the way of a charging Otis. We then got a quick series of elimination, as Roode and Ziggler eliminated Heavy Machinery, before they were eliminated after getting double teamed by The New Day and The Usos. This left those two teams in there with the champions, and in the end, Miz and Morrison retained after getting cheap pins on both of those teams. The way those last two eliminations of The New Day and The Usos turned out was a little disappointing, but as a whole, I enjoyed this Elimination Chamber Match. There were a few things that kept it from being great (it wasn’t the cleanest match in the world in terms of execution), but there was fun action throughout, and the crowd was clearly into it. Honestly, I don’t have a ton of complaints. ***3/4
Steve Case: There’s a lot of real talent in this match, regardless of push or how the team is represented. This company could be so good, but instead it’s an abomination, and that’s what is so depressing. To the hard core defenders who think people just hate the show with no reason, 95% of those people wish they could enjoy the product like you do. They just have a brain in their head. GET RID OF THE PANCAK….ugh why bother. Kofi doesn’t seem to care, why should any of us? Starting this with the two best teams in New Day and the Usos is real smart. The crowd isn’t into this at all to start. Either they know this match is going awhile, or maybe they all had an epiphany to how little tag team wrestling means in WWE in 2020. Lucha House Party enters and Metalik and/or Big E immediately botch a springboard rana, which luckily looked like Big E just power bombing Metalik. LHP brings a little life to the crowd by aggressively trying to injure themselves. How Lince didn’t break or tear something in the chain mesh I’ll never know. The champs enter next and run wild for a bit. Their tandem offense is so clunky and slow. Remember when John cut Luchasorus’s head off on Lucha Underground? Heavy Machinery enter to a nice little pop. People do like Otis. They shoulder tackle everyone and things slow again…until Lince for some reason climbs to the top of the chamber and does a flipping shooting star! And he’s rewarded by his partner getting IMMEDIATELY eliminated by Heavy Machinery. Thanks for risking your life Lince. Finally Roode and Ziggler enter and avoid Heavy Machinery like the plague. Then when Otis finally gets his hands on Dolph, what does he do? He drops him across the top rope. BLOOD FEUD. He then tries to do the spear through the pod spot, but Dolph moves and Otis goes through the pod entirely and out of the chamber. That was a new one. This allows Dolph and Roode to take advantage and pin Tucker. This leads to Kofi and Big E hitting their finishers and the Usos splashing Dolph and Roode off the pods, eliminating them. The Usos and New Day then gang up on the champions for a bit before inevitably turning on each other. This leads to Kofi missing a splash from the top of the pod and being pinned by the champions, leaving us with two heel teams to kill a dead crowd deader. That said, the final portion of this was great. Miz had a slick Skull Crushing finale/pin/figure four transition, and Morrison hit Starship Pain on the Uso while he was in the figure four. Miz/Morrison got the pin with a double pin combo while Miz’s feet were on the ropes. That wasn’t going to save this mess though. It was largely heatless and chaotic in the wrong ways with no purpose. **1/2
Suit Williams: Fun fact: since winning the titles in Riyadh, the Smackdown Tag Team Champions John Morrison and The Miz have been pinned on both episodes of Smackdown they’ve been on. Hearing Michael Cole and Corey Graves describe the Mandy Rose/Dolph Ziggler/Otis love triangle makes me want to turn this show off. This was a match that was somehow both bad sloppy and fun sloppy all in one go. There were cool spots, like Lince Dorado doing a Shooting Star Press onto everyone from the top of the Chamber, and Otis running through both sets of doors on a spear and hitting the floor. But there were weird spots in it as well where it felt like someone was off on something. Then the crowd went from silent to start, to red hot for Heavy Machinery vs. Ziggler and Roode (what a time), to cold again for the finish. I’m not sure how to rate this, so let’s just slap two and a half on it and call it a day. **1/2
.@LuchadorLD ARE YOU SERIOUS!!
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) March 9, 2020
No DQ Match: Aleister Black def. AJ Styles (with The OC)
Sean Sedor: As soon as this match got announced, my immediate reaction was “Undertaker is coming out at some point” (more in that in a little bit). So the story of the match was that AJ Styles would constantly work over the leg of Aleister Black. Black would get bursts of offense in, but almost every time, Styles would immediately regain control. While all of this was going on, the crowd in Philly was pretty much dead, unless they were using one of the weapons that got involved (a kendo stick, a chair and a table were the weapons in question). Meanwhile, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows were on the outside for most of this match, which begs the question….why didn’t those two just attack Black right away as soon as the bell rang?? It’s No DQ, you can do whatever you want. It got to a point where Black was about to win, and it was only then that The OC interjected themselves and swarmed Black. This was when The Undertaker (with a hilarious look on his face) showed up to a massive pop. He took out The OC, vanished when the lights went out again, and this allowed Black to hit the Black Mass for the win. The wrestling itself wasn’t awful. They didn’t botch anything or look totally untrained, but you can only go so high on a match that had so many obvious flaws if you gave it two seconds of logical thought. The last two minutes should’ve been the entire match. Instead, it took us OVER TWENTY MINUTES to get to that point. My rating is probably generous. **1/2
Steve Case: This match began with both guys really trying to work the other’s leg, with AJ getting the upper hand with the help of the Club distracting from the outside. Eventually a kendo stick and chair got involved. It was so good, the crowd was constantly chanting for the Undertaker. AJ would slow it down, Black would get in a few cool kicks, they hit each other with a kendo stick, and it was all so slow and dull. AJ is now Randy Orton with three or four cool moves instead of one. They go on for twenty minutes that feels like sixty, and it all leads to the Club beating Black down in the ring when they could have done that from the beginning. Investment. GONG. Taker kills everyone. GONG. Taker disappears. Black Mass. Black wins. Next match please. **
Suit Williams: This was a well put together match where everything made sense, but the problem is that it was very dull. AJ either isn’t able to hit that second gear anymore, or he doesn’t care enough to turn it up that much anymore. But the match was smartly worked with AJ consistently going after Black’s leg, with Black using short-range offense to keep from moving too much. Black gets the upper hand with a Meteora through a table and goes for the Black Mass before Guns and Gallows get involved. All three go to put Black away before The Undertaker appears and takes all three men out. He DONGs away, and Black hits the Black Mass to get the win. It was solid, but could have been a bit more lively to start. ***
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) March 9, 2020
WWE RAW Tag Team Titles: The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) © def. Seth Rollins & Murphy
Sean Sedor: This is the third match that these two teams have had in the last two weeks. I hadn’t watched those first two meetings (because why would I watch RAW or a Blood Money show?), so I was mildly interested in how this one would turn out. What we ended up getting was a RAW match in almost every way. They wrestled for a bit, AOP interfered behind the referee’s back, The Vikings Raiders ran out and took AOP out of the equation, they wrestled some more, Kevin Owens came through the crowd eating some popcorn, and his presence distracted the heels long enough for The Street Profits to gain the advantage and score the win. The wrestling from start to finish was actually very solid (it was much better than AJ Styles/Aleister Black), but it was impossible to really care about it. Owens hit Rollins with a Stunner afterwards. This match went almost twenty minutes. I guess they realized they only had a seven match card, and decided to stretch out these matches to be as long as possible? You don’t need to have a seven match card go this long. ***1/4
Steve Case: Street Profits came out to a pretty big reaction from the crowd, which makes sense given their natural energy and charisma. Unfortunately, this match didn’t showcase that much. This was extremely paint by numbers. Basic tag wrestling went on for about ten minutes, The Viking Raiders then came down and brawled with AOP to the back and I thought things were about to pick up. Then they went right back to basic tag team wrestling. There was a fun Dawkins hot tag and double team sequence by the profits, but it went nowhere. They started to do some solid back and forth that lead to a powerbomb/double suplex combo in the corner. Kevin Owens showed up in the crowd and distracted Seth enough to get pounced into the barricade by Dawkins. Profits then hit their finish on Murphy and they retain. This was a perfectly fine tag match where absolutely nothing of circumstance happened. **1/2
Suit Williams: This was a whole lot of meh. It was a decent little match where the crowd was kinda into the Profits, but weren’t into the match at all. The Viking Raiders came out to run off the AOP when they got involved. There were some very cold hot tags for the Profits, but Murphy and Rollins had the upper hand. Kevin Owens came down through the crowd and Rollins got in his face before Dawkins pounced him into the barricade. A big flurry of offense leads to a frog splash and a successful defense for the Profits. This was essentially a third hour Raw match. **1/4
.@AngeloDawkins with the catch of the day!
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) March 9, 2020
WWE Intercontinental Championship – 3-on-1 Handicap Match: Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura, & Cesaro def. Braun Strowman ©, Sami Zayn wins Intercontinental Championship
Sean Sedor: I know Sami Zayn jumped at the opportunity to make this bout a handicap match, but did he realize that whoever got the pin on Strowman would win the title? I guess it didn’t matter as long as Strowman lost, but I’d be kinda pissed if I was Nakamura (to be honest though, he probably only cares about catching that next wave while surfing in Florida). Well, the match happened, and I’m struggling to finds words, because I honestly don’t know what to say. For this show, it was relatively short, which I guess was a good thing. Outside of that, it was….just there. Strowman got his spots, but for the most part, the heels were in control. Eventually, Sami Zayn was able to pin Braun Strowman to win his first title on the main roster. Braun must feel really stupid about signing that contract now. To be honest, this WWE handicap match was actually….somewhat realistic, I think? Most WWE handicap matches see the babyface make a comeback and win, but Strowman ultimately fell to superior numbers. It doesn’t matter, because who could possibly care about this feud. **1/4
Steve Case: Sami moshing with himself during the entrance will probably be the highlight of this match. He spends five minutes talking about how he is going to stand up to Braun only to….tag out right away. HEAT. This caused the big dummy Braun to try to go after Sami on the apron, leading to the heels taking him off his feet and beat him down. Sami is at least entertaining as a chickenshit, cocky prick. In an alternate universe, Cesaro vs Braun is main eventing this show for the title, but I digress. As far as handicap matches go, there are a lot worse matches. The heels actually work well together, which isn’t surprising given all involved. Out of nowhere, Cesaro and Nakamura get Braun up for a suplex that Sami finishes with a helluva kick and he pins Braun for the title clean(ish) as a sheet. Sami vs Braun in a real match could be good at Mania, but it’ll likely be a fast squash given Sami’s character. I didn’t hate this. **1/2
Suit Williams: Oh god, I forgot about this. Whoever scores the fall wins the title. Sami raging out during Nakamura’s entrance is always hilarious. The story was solid, with Sami staying away until Braun was down and having Nakamura and Cesaro take the lion’s share of the work. Then Sami would come in and take some shots. Braun hulked up and took everybody out and almost got his hands on him before Nakamura caught him with a Kinshasa on the ring post. A triple team Helluva Kick before Sami Zayn shockingly got the pin and the Intercontinental Title. I wanted to hate this, but I didn’t. Everything made sense, with Sami tricking Braun into this match. And it’s hopefully leading to a Sami Zayn/Braun Strowman match at WrestleMania to tie a little bow on this whole thing. Solid storytelling here, even if the match wasn’t anything special. Extra half a star for Sami Zayn finally winning a title on the main roster. **1/2
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) March 9, 2020
#1 Contender’s Elimination Chamber Match: Shayna Baszler def. Asuka, Liv Morgan, Natalya, Ruby Riott, & Sarah Logan
Sean Sedor: I suppose this was always going to main event, out of the two Elimination Chamber matches (there was no way the tag team Chamber match was main eventing), but still….very bold move to put these women in this spot. Ruby Riott and Natalya started off. Even though what they did was largely fine, the Philly crowd seemed pretty dead for this opening bit. Sarah Logan was out next, and actually got a lot of shine, as she ran wild and pretty much destroyed both Riott and Natalya. Shayna Baszler was the next person to enter the match, and the crowd finally started to make noise. She ran through everything that moved and immediately eliminated Sarah Logan and Ruby Riott with chokes. She then smashed Natalya repeatedly with one of the pod doors before choking her out as well. Shayna then taunted the remaining two women (who hadn’t entered yet) until Liv Morgan finally entered. Liv got a few hope spots, but Shayna pretty much destroyed her before practically hanging her with a choke while sitting in the turnbuckle. Asuka finally entered the match, and actually took the fight to Shayna. She actually got Shayna trapped in the Asuka Lock at one point, but Baszler broke the hold, and choked her out a few moments later.
This is the kind of match where star ratings are hard. It’s not the kind of match that will get a very high star rating, but it was booked to absolute perfection (tip of the cap to….presumably….Paul Heyman). The first part of the match was what it was, but once Shayna got in there, she kicked everyone’s ass. She eliminated every single person in the match, and looked incredibly strong. I also love the fact that the only one who even remotely put up a fight was Asuka, which puts her above all of the other people who got murdered by Shayna. The only way they could’ve possibly done this better is if they booked it like the men’s Royal Rumble from January, where Shayna is the #1 entrant (in the Lesnar role) and just kills everybody one at a time. The result was never in question, but I really liked how they got there. ***1/2
Steve Case: RIOTT SQUAD EXPLODES! Riott and Natalya start the match. Nattie is bringing the fire to start really working ove Ruby, though it would be much more effective if she wasn’t trying to trash talk. She’s bad at it. Sarah Logan enters next and is legitimately terrifying. Liv getting some great scouting in as this entire match has taken place around her pod to this point. Logan is running wild throwing Nattie around and diving off the pod onto Riott and Nattie. We then get our second powerbomb/suplex spot of the evening leading to Shayna coming in a laying out everyone, but thankfully no chewing. She chokes out Logan, eliminating her almost immediately. She hit an almost stormbreaker looking move on Riott and then chokes her out for another elimination. She then kicks Nattie through the pod and slams the pod door into her body over and over until choking her out. Shayna has the chamber all to herself, talking trash to both Liv and Asuka. This goes entirely too long, as the crowd starts to turn on it. Maybe just let someone in? Liv finally is allowed in and Shayna throws her around like a rag doll against the chain and pod. Shayna then Suzuki’s Liv’s Goto and we are down to Shayna and Asuka, the way it should have been from the beginning. Shayna really targets Asuka’s injured wrist to great success, hits her with the stormbreaker move again, and then chokes out Asuka. Dominating performance for Shayna. She looked great here, but why did we need a chamber for any of that? An Asuka/Shayna match, with Shayna squashing these ladies in the build would have been just as good, if not better. ***1/4
Suit Williams: The match picks up when Baszler comes in fourth and almost immediately taps out both Sarah Logan and Ruby Riott. She then proceeds to beat the shit out of Natalya until she chooses to tap her out. Liv Morgan came out, and Shayna knocked the hell out of my poor girl Liv before tapping her out in front of Asuka’s pod. Now we’ve got the big money fight here, Shayna Baszler vs Asuka. Two of the most dominant NXT Women’s Champions of all time going head to head for the first time. Asuka lasts a good bit longer than everyone else, but Shayna uses Asuka’s injured wrist to get control and choke her out. Shayna Baszler literally eliminated everyone in the match in a matter of 10 minutes with the same sequence of moves. That is how you set up a dominant threat to your champion. That is how you set up a WrestleMania match! Don’t screw around with Natalya and Sarah Logan, just have Shayna kill them all and make people believe she will do the same to Becky Lynch! I’m fired up on the Road To WrestleMania! ***1/2
.@QoSBaszler is just tearing apart poor Liv!
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) March 9, 2020