We’re getting deeper into WrestleMania season, and the big nights keep on coming. Last night, Becky Lynch got the Daniel Bryan treatment, which involves the McMahons wagging their fingers at you whilst at the same time promising a main event payday. She also got suspended, though that most likely means she’ll be driving a beer truck into the middle of a segment and dousing everyone with Guinness.
Jesus, the smell alone.
Charlotte’s teeth are spooky-white
We open a replay of Becky getting suspended. If she’s not paid AJ Styles to cripple McMahon on SmackDown, then she’s not the woman I know she is.
Following this, Charlotte Flair makes her way to the ring to be a complete dick about this. And the worst bit is, I’ll still be really pissed if the WrestleMania match becomes a triple threat. Charlotte crows about how WrestleMania is her destiny and just as good as a father’s love and attention growing up, then mocks Becky for hitting anyone with power over her. Which, to be fair, isn’t the worst lesson to learn from this experience.
Charlotte tries to put the blame for missing Survivor Series on Becky, which is outright erasure of Nia Jax’s inability to wrestle without injuring someone, saying that she’s always had to pick up Becky’s slack. She flies a little close to the sun by referencing the belief that she’s Vince’s favourite, but all that gets you these days are endless bouts with Brock Lesnar and, eventually, leukemia. Charlotte insists that she’s the smart choice for a WrestleMania main event, promising that the crowd will be chanting “this is awesome” in the end.
I can’t remember the last time that happened on a non-NXT pay-per-view, so I already don’t believe it.
Charlotte dedicates her victory to Becky Lynch, then finally remembers that she’s supposed to be focusing on Ronda as well. She makes a veiled threat about Ruby Riott becoming Women’s Champion and facing Charlotte at WrestleMania, and you shut your dirty whore mouth.
The IIconics work smarter, not harder
Here’s Carmella, wearing a fur coat that cannot have come from any animal, or at least any healthy animal. She’s joined by Naomi, with Absolution and the IIconics joining them in the ring…hang on, this feels familiar. But we had Charlotte referencing the suspension from yesterday…it’s like WWE’s gaslighting me, which is probably an improvement on their current business strategy.
Okay, so this is about which team has to enter the Chamber first. Mandy and Carmella start off, with Mandy’s cuckolding hand catching the Princess square across the jaw. Sonya tags in, quickly getting bamboozled by Carmella before Naomi tags in. So far, the IIconics have the best strategy of being not legally allowed to be pinned. Naomi works over DeVille, almost getting the pin as Mandy apparently couldn’t give a fuck if her team enters the Chamber first.
Carmella tags back in, and suddenly Sonya remembers that she used to kick ass for a living, taking advantage. She tries to use her MMA skills against Carmella, and apparently dance-fighting is the perfect counter for Mixed Martial Arts. Brock Lesnar vs. Fandango: book that shit. Mandy gets tagged in, decides she wants none of it and runs. Carmella and Naomi corral her, with Miss Glow hitting a crossbody out of the ring as we head to a break.
When we come back, the IIconics have still not tagged in, and God bless WWE for making these two the strategists of this match. Sonya has Carmella in an angry hug, keeping her isolated from the effective component of her team. Carmella fights back, both women hitting crossbodies simultaneously, knocking them both down and keeping Vaudeville alive and well.
Carmella is about to get the tag before Mandy attacks Naomi and drags Sonya back to her corner. Which leaves her to face Naomi when they both tag in. Not sure what she expected to happen, but what actually happens is a great deal of punches and kicks, none of which are thrown by Mandy. The IIconics aren’t even on the ring apron anymore, thus avoiding the comical “accidental tag” situation so often seen here. This is Stephen Hawking-level thinking from your average pro wrestler.
Sonya tries to get involved, which earns her a punching, a kicking and a tossed-the-fuck-out-the-ringing from Carmella and Naomi. Naomi hits the split-legged moonsault, and that is that.
I’m both impressed and amused at the fact the IIconics didn’t even wrestle here. But it was a decent match with some rare strategy shown, so 2.5 Stars.
The IIconics jump Naomi and Carmella right after the match, and in professional wrestling terms they are now too intelligent to be left alive. I just used the term “too intelligent” to describe the IIconics. What is 2019?
We see the RAW superstars discuss the Elimination Chamber match. Nia Jax promises that no-one will be walking out of the Chamber, so it’s nice that she’s able to acknowledge how shit she is at her job. She also keeps talking over Tamina, so I guess I have to give her that. Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan say that we’re going to see “a different side of the Riott Squad”, possibly even an effective one.
Sarah and Liv also look like they wanted to go out for Halloween, but gave up halfway through dressing up and decided to just stay home and drink.
If this segment was a puppy, I would drown it
Here’s the Miz and Shane McMahon. I have bleach and a shot glass in my kitchen, so watching this segment is quite a risk on my part. They’re presenting “McMiz TV”, and the only reason I might not commit suicide is because hell might exist and it’s probably this exact same storyline.
We receive the news the Mustafa Ali is not medically cleared for the Elimination Chamber match. I’m torn, as it seems way too early for Ali to be involved in a WWE Championship programme, whilst at the same time I feel like once you’ve pulled the trigger, you don’t get to put the bullet back in the chamber.
Anyway, Miz and Shane banter as I long for the sweet silence of the grave. Roman’s chemo treatment has to be less poisonous than this. We finally get the Usos out there to dilute this horror, and I can only hope the homeopaths aren’t right.
I mean, they’re not: they’re either amoral shysters or fucking morons.
The Usos run down Shane and the Miz, as God intended, saying that they’re not a real tag team. Jesus, one of them’s not even a real wrestler. The Usos play a round of the Newlyweds game to prove how great a team they are, because years of annihilating every team not called “The Bludgeon Brothers” isn’t as impressive as knowing your twin brother’s favourite colour.
Miz and Shane also play, demonstrating that this game’s super easy if you’re just willing to lie about it. And then Miz brings up Mandy Rose, like that’s still something to be ashamed of. Did I imagine the episode where her scheme came crashing down and it turns out that Jimmy wouldn’t cheat on Naomi? Has my sanity already been irreparably twisted by this fucking storyline?
Everyone finally gets angry, which I beat them to about a month ago. The Usos get their game faces on and drop their mics. Shane tries to be street, and he and Miz raise their belts. There’s nothing more to be said, so the Usos superkick the pair of them. That was the only good thing about any of this, and it’s still not enough.
Also, Shane’s still one of their bosses, right? Did he cede all authority over the Tag Team Division when he became part of it? Because that…would actually be a very good measure to have in place.
I need a cigarette after that
Aw yes, it’s time for a Gauntlet Match. Here’s Daniel Bryan with his IKEA belt and giant hipster sidekick. I swear, I have that exact same shirt Rowan’s wearing. Bryan says that people want him to lose the Championship on Sunday, and you could lose that thing in a furniture warehouse. He tells the crowd that they need him as WWE Champion, and if the alternative is Jeff Hardy then I absolutely agree.
Bryan waxes lyrical about the horrors of the Elimination Chamber, but states that he will undergo this experience in order to continue pushing for the Green New Deal (WWE division). Another reminder that WWE can go fuck themselves for creating an “evil environmentalist” character. The world’s dying, you complacent cunts.
The New Day interrupt, teasing Big E and Xavier Woods before sending Kofi forward. Makes sense as they’re replacing Ali, but I wish it was Woods. So it’s Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston to start the Gauntlet. Bell rings, and the match gets underway. Kofi knocks Bryan down with a shoulder tackle before Bryan returns the favour, pushing his advantage with some mat wrestling, tying and stretching Kofi before Kingston almost turns a bow and arrow into a quick cover. Bryan kicks out, ducking out of the ring before slowly returning.
The Champion goes after Kofi’s arm, with the New Day member fighting back through his athleticism, hitting a pair of deep arm drags, working over Bryan’s arm in turn. Bryan escapes, putting Kofi down with a trio of hard knees to the gut before following up with a surfboard, bringing Kingston down into a cover before running the ropes, finally running into a leaping back elbow from Kofi.
Bryan sends Kofi over the ropes; he skins the cat, tosses Bryan out and throws himself onto him as we head into a break. When we come back, Bryan is back in control of Kingston, wrenching him back across the ropes before hitting a running dropkick to his trapped opponent. Kofi stays in the match, continuing to resist, but the Champ hangs him up across the ropes before hitting a hard knee to the back of Kingston’s head for a near fall.
Bryan heads up to the top again, this time missing a flying headbutt. Kofi takes advantage of the fault, hitting a flurry of moves to keep Bryan grounded. Bryan flips over Kofi’s head, but winds up on the receiving end of a crossbody for another near fall. He trips Kingston into a turnbuckle, hangs him up in the Tree of Woe and starts blasting him with kicks. He takes Kofi up to the top, but an attempted back superplex sees Kofi try to counter, landing across Bryan’s face as we go to another break.
When we come back, Bryan and Kofi are hammering away at each other before Bryan unleashes a barrage of kicks to Kingston’s chest and head. They exchange a flurry of covers before Bryan dives for the Yes Lock, managing to fully apply it. Kofi reaches for the ropes, managing to drag the Champ across to them. Bryan hits a baseball slide to drop Kofi to the outside, then hits a flying knee strike to the head before bundling Kofi back inside.
Bryan heads back up to the top, going for the front dropkick, but Kofi catches him with a dropkick of his own! Kingston wants Trouble in Paradise, but Rowan trips him up. The New Day take Rowan out but get ejected for it, allowing Bryan to almost topple Kingston with a quick roll-up. Bryan stays on the offence, kicking away mercilessly at Kofi. He runs into a pendulum kick from Kofi, but a moment’s distraction of the referee allows Rowan to attack Kingston again, this time throwing him into the timekeeper’s area.
The referee ejects Rowan, because fuck everyone trying to make his job harder. Bryan doesn’t bother arguing, but bundles Kofi back inside the ring. He goes for the Running Knee and…Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise! Kofi Kingston beats Daniel Bryan!
Holy shit, did not call that. Next up is Jeff Hardy, and after a commercial break, both men are still struggling for control, with Jeff hitting a jawbreaker and Kingston answering with a dropkick which sends Hardy out of the ring. A dive from Kofi sees the New Day member crash and burn, allowing Hardy to hurl himself at Kingston. He throws Kofi back into the ring, goes for the Swanton and misses.
Jeff knocks Kofi down coming off the ropes. An inverted atomic drop and a leg drop connect, but Kingston almost counters the low dropkick into a roll-up! Hardy goes for Cardiac Arrest in the corner, but Kofi dodges that too, then climbs up top. Jeff catches him, following his opponent up before looking for a superplex. Kofi resists, beating Hardy back down to the mat, but Jeff climbs right back up, still trying for the superplex, then gets thrown to the mat again.
Kofi goes for a crossbody; Hardy rolls him up for the two, ducks the Trouble in Paradise but eats the S.O.S…and Kofi Kingston beats Hardy!
Now it’s Samoa Joe vs. Kofi Kingston so…good run, Kofi. After a break, Samoa Joe is brutalising Kofi like he’d like to brutalise Wendy Styles. He’s even partially dressed. Kofi tries to fight back, but a charge from Joe into the corner followed by a swift kick to the face puts a stop to that nonsense.
Joe applies an abdominal stretch, then practically beheads him with a clothesline. He applies a facelock to Kofi, getting us in the mood for some sweet Randy Orton headlock and sleeper action. Kingston escapes, manages to send Joe through the ropes and vault out on top of him! Both men beat the count back at eight, and Joe clotheslines Kofi to fuck a second later. Kingston’s not finished, though: he blasts Samoa Joe with shots, hitting a flurry before an inverted atomic drop cuts him off.
Samoa Joe applies a surfboard, like he’s forgotten his finishing move but is sure if he tries every submission move he knows, he’ll remember it. Kofi somehow manages to hit a back kick, staggering Joe before the bigger man flattens Kingston with a back senton. Kofi rolls onto the apron, still fighting off Joe. He tries to springboard onto his opponent, but Joe shoves him off the rope, letting him crash and burn on the outside. Samoa Joe waits out the ref’s count, but Kofi makes it back in at eight somehow.
Joe starts wrenching Kofi’s head around, presumably reaching an emotional state where he’s comfortable with snapping his opponent’s neck. Kofi fires back with some strikes, but Joe finally remembers the Coquina Clutch, locking it in. Kingston struggles, then kicks off the top rope, rolling over the top of Joe and…he pins him! Kofi Kingston beats Samoa Joe!
Imagine if they’d let Mustafa Ali do this.
Joe is understandably miffed, and demonstrates the depth of his irritation by wrecking Kofi’s shit. Kofi’s locked in the Clutch on the outside, with Joe keeping it applied as AJ Styles’ music hits and AJ runs down the ramp. Styles doesn’t bother trying to wrench Joe off Kingston, instead taking advantage of the fact that both of Joe’s are busy by stomping him repeatedly in the head. Samoa Joe releases the Clutch, backing off as Styles smacks his wife’s would-be rapist around.
So now it’s AJ Styles vs. Kofi Kingston, with Kofi dragging himself back into the ring. Styles is on the apron, trying to tell Kingston to give it up, even getting into the ring to talk to him. If I was Styles, I’d keep my distance; even he’s not safe from getting eliminated tonight. Kofi shoves AJ away, yelling that he’s been waiting too long for this opportunity.
AJ responds by punching Kofi in the face, then opens up a can of whupass on him. Kofi kicks out of the backbreaker, then again from getting whipped into the corner (come on, Styles). Kofi still fights back, but AJ goes after his leg, dragging him down to the mat. Styles looks honestly vicious here, although it might be because I now want Kofi to win this whole thing.
Styles gets Kofi up, holding onto his leg. Kingston responds by punching him in the face, but Styles shuts him down again, hitting a snap suplex for another two count. This single match has been better for Kofi Kingston than every Royal Rumble escape ever. He slides out of a suplex, tries to roll AJ up multiple times, but eats a fucking nasty backbreaker from Styles once the former Champion collects himself.
Kofi elevates Styles onto the apron, then kicks his legs out from under him. He joins Styles on the apron, kicking away at him, but a charge sees Styles dodge, with Kofi crashing and burning hard against the ring post. The referee makes the count, and I don’t even think…nope: Kofi makes it back into the ring. This is awesome.
AJ continues his assault against Kingston, this time going for a Frankensteiner, but Kofi blocks it, hitting a splash to the back of Styles for a near fall! He goes for the S.O.S., but Styles counters into the Calf Crusher. Kofi screams as Styles wrenches back on the leg, finally tapping out. AJ Styles beats Kofi Kingston.
The New Day come down to help Kofi to the back, carrying him out. AJ watches him leave, and I’d say that’s really dumb considering who’s left in the match, but Randy Orton actually plays his music rather than go for the surprise attack…scratch that: Orton plays his music, then RKOs Styles out of nowhere for the win. Hahaha: you sneaky fuck. Randy Orton beats AJ Styles: Randy Orton wins the Gauntlet Match.
Outstanding subversion of expectations: using Kingston as the marathon man, taking out Bryan immediately, having Kofi beat Joe and give Styles a real fight. I only guessed the finish because of how little time was left on the clock. This was excellent storytelling, and I hope the Elimination Chamber is of this same quality. 5 Stars.
Tags: AJ Styles, Asuka, Becky Lynch, Big E, Carmella, charlotte, Daniel Bryan, Erick Rowan, Jeff Hardy, Lana, Mandy Rose, Mustafa Ali, naomi, R-Truth, Randy Orton, Ronda Rousey, rusev, Samoa Joe, Shane McMahon, shinsuke nakamura, smackdown live, Sonya Deville, The IIconics, The Miz, the usos, WWE