The SmarK Rant for WWE Elimination Chamber 2019 – 02.17.19

The SmarK Rant for WWE Elimination Chamber 2019 – 02.17.19

Live from Planet Houston, TX

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Cheaty McLiar-Pants, and bunch of other people.  Maybe they should just put all the announcers into the Chamber and have them fight for a spot at the table.

The pre-show match was a really good Cruiserweight title match, with Buddy Murphy selling for most of the match and then hitting his finisher out of nowhere to retain.  Plus a promo from Kevin Owens, deriding pineapple on pizza.  I’m not sure if that makes him a babyface or a heel.  I know I used to hate it, but I’ve come around to that and black olives in my older years.

WWE Women’s tag team titles:  The Iconics v. Nia Jax & Tamina v. The Drunk & Cheat Connection v. Bayley & Sasha Banks v. The Riott Squad v. Sonya DeVille & Mandy Rose

Carmella and Naomi pose with the belts before getting into the cage, which causes Corey to angrily quip that you never touch the trophy before you’ve won it.  Well, he’s the expert on that.  Peyton Royce has gone brunette, which actually looks much better on her.  So we start with Mandy & Sonya v. Bayley & Sasha and the babyfaces do some awkward double-teaming and get two on both girls.  The heels bail to the apron and Sasha hits them with a bodypress for two, but Sonya counters the double knees with a slam for two.  Back to the apron and the babyfaces get thrown into the cage a few times as Michael Cole talks about the pods opening “at regular intervals” without specifying what those intervals are.  As it turns out, the first pod opens at 4:25.

The Riott Squad are the next ones in and they attack the babyfaces as expected, and then tussle with the other heels in the ring.  Liv and Sonya put on a truly horrible exhibition of strikes as this match is just all over the place thus far.  Bayley runs wild for a bit and then goes up, which gives us the requisite Tower of Doom spot and everyone is out as the Iiconics are next at 8:20.  So they come in and yell at the referee and run wild on everyone with double-teams before hitting Bayley with a knee for two.  Sasha makes a comeback on them and gets cut off while everyone else literally just lays on the apron and sells.  So they choke out the babyfaces while yelling Australian gibberish and that gets two.  This whole segment is just killing this match dead.  Finally the Sip ‘N Gulp Connection is in to make the save at 13:00 and it sounds like the crowd is hip to Carmella’s troubles because there’s not a lot of cheering for them.  Naomi with a moonsault on Logan for two, which sets up everyone running in and doing a finisher in succession and then everyone is laying around again.  Five teams in there is just too many at once.  Luckily the Iiconics use a double-team sunset flip on Naomi to eliminate them at 17:00, which shouldn’t be legal but whatever.

And then everyone turns on the Iiconics, but just stand there staring at them until Nia & Tamina are thelast ones in at 18:10.  So they plow through everyone as we get a comedy spot with the Iiconics hiding in their pod unsuccessfully.  And then they get pinned at 20:05.  Liv and Sarah try double-teaming them, and Sonya & Mandy double-team Nia for two, but Sasha & Bayley save for some reason and then go after Tamina.  Would it not make sense for everyone to team up on the monster heels?  And then Nia & Tamina lay everyone out and now Liv & Sarah hide on top of a pod and then hit everyone with a dive.  Logan gets two on Sonya off that.  Liv goes up again, but Nia hits her with a samoan drop and Tamina goes up to finish, but the Network crashes for me at this point.  I reload and Nia is crashing through the pod so I’m assuming Liv got pinned in there.

And then everyone finally teams upon Tamina and pins her at 27:10.  And the crowd mocks them on the way out, so hell of a job from the WWE machine building them up as threats.  So we’re down to Bayley & Sasha v. Mandy & Sonya and they double-team Sonya for two with a backstabber into a belly to belly, but Mandy makes the save.  The crowd chants “this is awesome” because they had one hot near fall near the end of a 30 minute match?  COME ON.  Have some self-respect and higher standards.  So everyone climbs the cage and fights on top of a pod, which results in Bayley landing on her shoulder and apparently being knocked out or something, and Mandy hits Sasha with double underhook driver for two.  Sasha comes back with the Bank statement on Sonya, who taps at 32:59 to make Bayley & Sasha the first champions.  Ending was good once they got rid of the dead weight, but overall it was a crashing bore and way too long.  *** (Future Scott edit:  I originally rated it at **1/2, but the rest of the undercard was such a dumpster fire that I went back to the beginning of the rant and raised it to ***, because at least it was reasonably fun and the babyfaces went over.)

Smackdown tag team titles:  Shane McMahon & The Miz v. The Usos

But first, Miz brings out Maryse to announce another baby.  This whole Miz family man babyface thing is just not working for me, mostly because he does stuff like announcing his wife’s pregnancy like it’s a reality show confessional.  Miz tries an early figure-four on Jimmy but he escapes like he’s running from the cops, and Jey comes in instead.  And then Shane runs wild on the Usos, taking out Jimmy on the apron and throwing his devastating strikes on Jey in the ring before putting him on the floor to clean house.  Back in, Miz throws the kicks on Jey in the corner, but Jimmy gets the blind tag and they go to work on Miz in the corner.  Miz fights out of a chinlock and gets clotheslined as a result, and Jimmy hits him with his own corner clothesline as this match is completely dead.  Shane gets the hot tag and of course destroys the six time tag team champions by himself and hits Jimmy with the coast to coast dropkick.  And then he tries it again on Jey, but lands on a superkick and Jey hits a flying splash for two.  He’s gotta stop that shit, it’s not 2000 anymore and he’s going to literally die in the ring one day soon.  Miz gets a hot tag and Jey cuts him off, but Miz gets a DDT for two.  They head to the floor and Miz preps the announce table, but the Usos accidentally collide on a dive.  Miz puts one on the table and Shane goes up with his Jerry Sags-like shitty elbow to put him through the table and perhaps have a heart attack in mid-air. Back in the ring, Miz gets superkicked by Jimmy, but the splash hits knees and Miz cradles for two.  Skull Crushing Finale gets two and Jey rolls him over with a crucifix for the pin and the titles at 14:00.  What the FUCK was the point of even putting the titles on Miz & Shane in the first place?  I have to apologize to the previous match for calling it a crashing bore, because this one redefined the term.  *

I guess that also answers the question of whether Jimmy would face consequences for his run-in with the law.

Meanwhile, Lio Rush and Bobby Lashley are apparently defending against Finn Balor tonight in some kind of handicap match, which I had no idea about.  Stellar job of promotion they’ve done with this show.  Can’t wait for Fastlane to really define filling time before Wrestlemania!

Intercontinental title:  Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush v. Finn Balor

You’d think this would qualify as an appropriate time to bring out the Demon again, but apparently not.  I mean, he’s only facing two men for a major title in a handicap match.  Bobby pounds on Balor to start and stomps the ribs, but Finn fights him off and the heels regroup.  Back in, Bobby chokes him out in the corner, but misses a charge and Finn goes up, only to have Lashley cut him off again.  Lio runs interference and Lashley takes Balor to the floor and runs him into the railing, and then drops an elbow for two.  Over to Rush, who gets some shots in the corner, and Lashley with a chinlock off that.  Rush comes in for an abdominal stretch and Lashley pounds away in the corner and hits him with shoulderblocks.  And then Rush tags himself in because he’s got it under control, but he goes up and SHOCKINGLY misses a splash.  Balor makes his comeback and dumps Lashley, then follows with a dive.  Back in, he hits Rush with the Coup De Grace and wins the title at 9:37.  Well that was a lot of nothing and I have no idea how bouncing the title around on every show helps anyone.  Just a match.  *1/2  And then Lashley gets rid of Rush afterwards after finally finding something to get him over a little bit.  Enjoy the trip back to 205 Live, Lio.

RAW Women’s title:  Ronda Rousey v. Ruby Riott

The whole video package and buildup for this match consists of highlights of Becky v. Charlotte, which shows you how much chance Ruby has.  And then we get a promo from Charlotte before the match about Wrestlemania, to further make Ruby look like the jobber of the month while the real stars threaten each other and point to the sign.  Ronda’s got videogame inspired gear that’s actually better than anything else she’s worn thus far.  Ruby attacks to start and gets thrown around, so she bails to the floor and stalls.  Back in, Ronda finishes her with the armbar in 1:43, which is about how everyone figured it should go.  And then Ruby quietly disappears immediately so that the real stars can continue pointing to the sign.  Complete waste of a PPV match.  DUD

Ronda and Charlotte have words in the ring, but Becky hobbles out of the crowd on crutches, still on every show despite being “suspended”.  We have TWO MONTHS left until Wrestlemania, can we not just let this simmer for a week or two?  There’s no impact if she keeps coming out every week while she’s suspended.  Becky attacks Charlotte with the crutches, and then goes after Ronda as well, hitting her right in the baby-maker and also getting a pretty vicious shot to the head that draws blood.  I think they’re gonna miss the peak with this feud, to be honest.  It should really be blown off at Fastlane.

Braun Strowman v. Baron Corbin

Baron decides to try getting those hands, and that goes badly for him, so he grabs a kendo stick instead and goes to work with that.  Braun needs no kendo stick and sends Baron to the floor, then gives him a shoulderblock into the railing that seems like it should have gone a lot better than it did.  So he tries it again and this time Corbin throws a chair at him and then suckers him into the stairs for the heat.  As with any Corbin match or segment in general, “heat” is relative, of course.  Back in the ring, Braun makes his comeback and yells a lot.  They didn’t want Braun losing to Brock but he has to sell for BARON CORBIN in this shitty match for five minutes straight?  Braun sets up a table in the corner and powerslams Corbin through it, but has to stand there and look like an idiot while Drew McIntyre’s music hits.  Why not just pin Corbin?  He’s clearly done and Drew wasn’t exactly running to the ring.  So then Drew and Lashley double-team Braun and bring stairs into the ring while no one comes out to help Strowman.  And they take FOREVER bringing multiple tables in the ring before putting him through with a Shield powerbomb for the pin at 11:00.  So again, they pulled him from the Brock Lesnar match at Royal Rumble to protect him, and then had him lose to BARON CORBIN on this nothing shitshow?  -*

Meanwhile, we get more Shane and Miz drama, as Miz freaks out about losing the titles and Shane sends him home so he can get treatment for his broken neck in peace.

Lacey Evans literally just walks out to the aisle, turns around, and walks back.  THAT WAS THE WHOLE SEGMENT.

WWE title, Elimination Chamber:  Daniel Bryan v. Kofi Kingston v. Jeff Hardy v. Randy Orton v. AJ Styles v. Samoa Joe

Daniel’s naturally sourced title belt is amazing.  In case I haven’t mentioned it.  Complete with eco-friendly graphic!  Bryan starts with Joe and runs away, but Joe fires away with kicks to the leg and rolls into a kneebar, but Bryan makes the ropes and runs away again.  Joe catches him with chops and blocks a rana with a powerbomb for two, into the crab and STF.  Bryan escapes and dropkicks the knee to take over, then runs him into a pod for two.  Back in the ring, Joe with the chops, but Bryan fires back with kicks and Kofi is in at 5:15.  He runs wild on both guys and gets a flying splash on Joe for two, but Bryan suplexes him onto the top rope and drops a knee on him for two.  Daniel runs away from Joe and hides on top of a pod while Joe beats on Kofi instead, but Kofi follows him up and they exchange kicks on the side of the cage.  This sets up a trust fall from Kofi onto both guys, and that gets two on Bryan.  Kofi with a back elbow off a criss cross for two, and Joe adds a senton on Bryan and a suplex on Kofi for two.  AJ Style is in next at 10:25 and he goes after Joe and slugs it out with Bryan, then hits both Bryan and Kofi with a DDT at the same time and gets two on both.  Question:  That week of the shakeup when Vince met with AJ on Smackdown and everyone was like “Oh man, this is going somewhere!”  Did it go anywhere?  Because it doesn’t seem like it did.  Bryan tries to climb the cage and AJ hits him with the forearm, but Kofi reverses out of the Styles Clash.  AJ hits him with the Ushigoroshi instead for two.  Kofi makes a comeback and slugs away on Joe, but walks into the choke before escaping with a jawbreaker, into the Phenomenal Forearm at 14:45 to get rid of Joe.

Jeff Hardy is next at 15:10 and he runs wild and dropkicks Styles for two, then hits Bryan with a dive to the apron.  The crowd is shockingly quiet for this match, I have to say.  AJ counters the Twist of Fate with the Pele Kick and they fight in the corner while Bryan beats on Kofi on the other side.  AJ and Jeff fight to the top and AJ goes down awkwardly, and then they magically reconvene with AJ laying on the top rope so that Jeff can hit a unique swanton on him.  And then Bryan hits Hardy with the running knee and pins him at 18:10 anyway.  So we get the Tower of Doom with the three remaining guys and everyone is out, which brings Randy Orton in at 20:00.  Nothing like Randy Orton to pick up the pace of a match.  Randy tosses Kofi into AJ in the corner, but Bryan backslides him for two.  Kofi makes another comeback and AJ hits him with a backbreaker and goes up for the forearm, but RKO OUTTA NOWHERE finishes him at 22:22.  Kofi goes up and Orton cuts him off and hits the draping DDT.  Kofi hits the Trouble in Paradise kick equally out of nowhere for the pin at 24:07, however.

So it comes down to Bryan and Kofi and they slug it out with Kofi getting impressively fired up for his big shot, but Bryan dropkicks the knee.  Bryan with the No Kicks, but Kofi hits the SOS for two.  Blind charge hits the post, however, and Bryan slugs away on him and lays in the badmouth.  Corner dropkicks from Bryan, but Kofi leaps out with a double stomp for two for the big hope spot.  Bryan bails to avoid the Paradise kick, so Kofi runs him into the cage to unleash his pent up Jamaican rage.  And then Bryan runs him into the pod to cut him off, and the Captain Planet knee gets two.  Bryan uses the curb stomping for two, but Kofi hits the Paradise kick for two and Bryan reverses him for two.  LeBell Lock, but Kofi gets the ropes, which the announcers had already made the point about not actually counting in a no-DQ match.  But Bryan breaks anyway.  Bryan goes up and Kofi brings him down with a kick, and they slug it out on top of the pod and fight for a superplex. Bryan goes down first, however, and Kofi follows with a flying splash, but that misses and Bryan puts him away to end the Black History month dream at 36:30 and give the crowd a huge downer to end the show. Should have just done the upset win here and created a WM match. Great finish to the match, but they would have been better off just doing a singles match, I think, instead of shoehorning everyone else in.  ****

The Pulse:

If there was ever a “skip the entire show and watch the main event only” card, this was it.  Thumbs down, but the last portion of the Chamber match was worth a look.

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