Here are my final thoughts on Raw and SmackDown’s Elimination Chamber 2021!
Mustafa Ali (with RETRIBUTION) vs. John Morrison vs. Ricochet vs. Elias (Fatal 4-Way Match, Winner Will Join the WWE United States Championship Match)
Reactions: When life hands WWE lemons, they rarely make lemonade. In the case of Keith Lee’s exclusion from the Triple Threat Match for the US Championship, the right decision was made here. The booking of this Fatal 4-Way bout to slot a new competitor into Lee’s spot thankfully paid off and resulted in an exciting Kickoff Match.
All four men (yes, even super mediocre Elias) showed out here and put on quite the fast-paced barnburner. That multi-man Reverse DDT/Rolling Neckbreaker spot was pretty dope, of course. Plus Ricochet and John Morrison bounced all over the place to keep everything from slowing down. Even RETRIBUTION’s interference wasn’t annoying since it added to the match and played into the finish. This was a fun sprint.
Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Kevin Owens vs. Jey Uso vs. King Corbin vs. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro vs. Daniel Bryan (Elimination Chamber Match, Winner Receives a WWE Universal Championship Match)
Reactions: This was good, but it never really hit that second gear that the best Elimination Chamber matches tend to land on. It had had its solid moments here and there, but there wasn’t anything that came from this match that was truly jaw-dropping. It featured a whole bunch of uninspired spots, such as Jey Uso landing big splashes off of one of the chambers and Kevin Owens going cannonball crazy on everyone in his path.
Cesaro looked the best out of everyone, but immense disappointment was felt as soon as he got eliminated. Everyone put in a respectable effort and produced a solid showing, but they didn’t do a whole lot to really incorporate the massive structure they did battle in. I expected so much more from this match considering who was among the pack. It did its job and provided a somewhat enjoyable opener, but it didn’t reach the highs I certainly thought it would.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE Universal Championship)
Reactions: Roman Reigns is an opportunist, but we all knew that already. I had a feeling he’d immediately come out to defend his championship as soon as the winner of the preceding Elimination Chamber match was crowned. Watching Daniel Bryan lock in a submission hold to counter Reigns’ spear attempt was cool and all, but we all knew he wasn’t going to claim the title here. This match was more of a segment that was used to further cement Reigns’ savage nature and possibly set up a proper rematch for Fastlane. Plus it finalized Edge’s WrestleMania 37 plans, so there’s that. I wasn’t all that into this whole deal though, to be quite honest.
Bobby Lashley (c) (with MVP) vs. Riddle vs. John Morrison (Triple Threat Match for the WWE United States Championship)
Reactions: Not only was this Triple Threat Match a lot better than I thought it would be, but it also gave us an unexpected title change. The story that played out during the entirety of it kept me entertained from start to finish – Bobby Lashley made his dominance felt as soon as the bell rang, which forced Riddle and John Morrison to team up just to get the upper hand on the champ.
Both men pulled out everything in their arsenal to ground Lashley, then they eventually transitioned into targeting each other. Once we reached this bout’s closing moments, Riddle took hold of MVP’s crutch to take Lashley down and pin Morrison to claim the title. While not incredibly lengthy, this match didn’t overstay its welcome and managed to be pretty worthwhile. Riddle winning the US Championship and doing so by not pinning Lashley obviously sets both men up for a big rematch later down the line.
Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair (WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship)
Reactions: The Women’s Tag Team Championship scene has really been an eyesore on PPV these past few months. It’s just so hard for me to care about anything Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler do these days, but Sasha Banks and Bianca Beliar did enough to make me not catch a nap during this contest. Banks and Belair kept the energy up for this one thanks to their chemistry and constant double-team maneuvers. There were a lot of moving parts here that were fun to watch unfold. However, this match was a bit shorter than I expected and it lacked any real heat to it. Plus the ending was pretty silly, to say the least.
Rating: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. AJ Styles (with Omos) vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. Sheamus (Enters Last) vs. Kofi Kingston (with Xavier Woods) (Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship)
Reactions: So I wasn’t really feeling this main event at first. Randy Orton, Jeff Hardy, and Drew McIntyre weren’t exactly producing the most riveting in-ring action to kick things off. But once Omos gave AJ Style the ultimate assist by breaking him out of his containment cell early, this match became a whole hell of a lot more interesting. Orton’s early elimination was quite shocking, which resulted in him going RKO crazy before he made his exit.
Styles, Kingston, and McIntyre tore into each other with reckless abandon. And once Jeff woke back up and Sheamus entered the fray, this match officially kicked into an even more intense second half. We got a sick Tower of Doom Spot, a higher than usual Swanton Bomb off of one of the cells, and some stiff fisticuffs between McIntyre and Sheamus. Whenever Styles got to pull off some offense of his own, I was thoroughly entertained as well (nice save on that impromptu Springboard Senton Bomb, by the way). The eliminations played out in a satisfying manner and the right man won. This was a step above Smackdown’s EC match, which is something I didn’t think I’d say about this PPV.
Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. The Miz (WWE Championship)
Reactions: I had a feeling this was going to happen since The Miz could be seen planning something out backstage with MVP beforehand. I didn’t actually think they’d go through with The Miz actually winning, though! This end result broke my heart and simply shouldn’t have happened. The Miz has been made to look like a scrub for months now and now all of a sudden I’m supposed to take him seriously now that he’s WWE Champion? I’ll pass…
Match of the Night
The WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match!
This year’s Elimination Chamber event was solid, but a bit disappointing in parts. The Women’s Tag Team Championship match was simply okay, but the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match was a big letdown considering the talented men competing in it. It’s pretty wild to say this, but I’ll go ahead and let it be known – the Fatal 4-Way Kickoff Match was better than both of those bouts. The rest of the card featured some good contests, such as the Triple Threat Match for the US Championship and the Elimination Chamber main event for the WWE Championship. However, the expected squash match that featured the Universal Championship and the incredibly lame Money in the Bank cash-in win by The Miz put a damper on this show.
Final Score: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars