He was so close you could hear the entire Toyota Center sigh but it was not to be. Even though he was the heavy fan favourite going into the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship, Kofi Kingston was bested by the current champion, Daniel Bryan. Bryan retained his championship by pinning not only Kingston but surviving the likes of AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton and Samoa Joe.
Bryan was one of the starting participants along with Samoa Joe in the main event in Houston. Bryan refused to tie up with the Samoan Submission Machine. He opted to climb over the ropes and run around the outside of the actual ring instead.
Joe finally gets a hold of Bryan. Photo: WWE.
When Joe finally caught Bryan he put him in a submission lock as the fans begged Bryan to tap out. Even though he escaped the hold Bryan found himself trapped. Joe chopped him up against the cage. Bryan sent the pendulum swinging the other way by bouncing Joe’s head off Kingston’s pod. A few seconds later it was Kingston’s time to join the action.
Bryan took a powder once again climbing to the top of Kingston’s pod and sitting down cross-legged as Kingston and Joe fought below.
Tired of Bryan’s camping and dodging, Kingston leapt up to the pod and fought Bryan as they both clung to the side of the cage. After Joe hauled Bryan down, Kingston splashed them both diving off the cage.
AJ Styles joined the fray while Joe lit up Bryan’s chest with more chops. The Phenomenal one double DDTed Kingston and Bryan. He belted Bryan with a Phenomenal Forearm knocking him off the side of the cage.
At 14:35, Styles eliminated Joe with another Phenomenal Forearm.
Jeff Hardy’s pod was the next to open. Substituting Kingston’s back for Matt Hardy’s, Hardy jumped off Kingston’s back, over the ropes to blast Bryan with Poetry in Motion. Hardy Swanton Bombed Styles from the top of a pod as the Phenomenal One was draped over a corner of the ring. Bryan seized the opportunity stunning Hardy with a running knee strike to pin him at 18 minutes into the match.
Kingston is ready to lay a beating on Bryan. Photo: WWE.
The war of attrition continued on. Everyone was destroyed when Styles German Suplexed Bryan out of a corner just as Bryan Superplexed Kingston off the ropes. This made everyone easy pickings for Randy Orton who was the last to become part of the Chamber match. Orton RKOed Styles has he sailed over the ropes for another Phenomenal Forearm. Styles was eliminated at 22 minutes and 25 seconds.
Orton was too distracted powerslamming Bryan to see Kingston taking aim. A Trouble in Paradise later and Orton was sent packing at 24 minutes and 5 seconds.
This left Daniel Bryan against Kofi Kingston. They stared each other down before flailing away with haymakers and kicks. Absorbing the blows, Kingston dared Bryan to hit him again and again.
Kingston evaded Bryan’s running knee strike to execute the SOS for a two count. Kingston missed as he followed-up with a splash.
Kingston puts it all on the line. Photo: WWE.
“You don’t deserve to be here with me!” shouted Bryan as he buffeted Kingston with his running kicks.
A double stomp from out of nowhere scored Kingston a two count. A failed bulldog saw Bryan throw Kingston into the side of an empty pod.
Bryan was visibly confused and angry when a running knee strike did not put Kingston away. Bryan grabbed Kingston’s arms and stomped him in the face again and again. With the crowd willing him on, Kingston reached the ropes to break the “No!” Lock.
At the top of a pod, Bryan and Kingston took turns ramming each other’s heads into the plexiglass. Kingston put the entire match on the line by leaping off the top of the pod onto Bryan. He missed allowing Bryan to knock him out with a running knee strike to win the match and retain the WWE Championship.
Kingston gave it his all. Photo: WWE.
The Women’s Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber match was introduced without any mention of Velvet McIntyre and Princess Victoria, Velvet McIntyre and Desiree Petersen, The Glamour Girls or the Jumping Bomb Angels, teams who held the WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship from 1983 to 1989.
It really is contemptible that the achievements of those women were forgotten by the WWE but then again it seems to be the sign of the times when people who have no clue about history champion Wonder Woman as the first female-led superhero film and make other such appalling and flagrant errors because they wrongful believe their time is the only time of change and the only time in which historic milestones occurred. They couldn’t be more wrong.
The biggest flaw of the otherwise decent Elimination Chamber match was there were far too many announcers. You had Michael Cole, Cory Graves, Beth Phoenix and the perpetually blithering Renee Young constantly getting in each other’s way, stumbling and talking over each other. There were too many voices conflicting with each other and pulling the viewers in far too many directions all at once.
When The Iconics exited their pod they took over putting Bayley and Sasha Banks and The Riott Squad in their place. For the first time ever, Sonya Deville had traded in her MMA gear for fancy wrestling pants.
As Naomi was preoccupied with exacting some revenge on Mandy Rose, The Iconics pulled off a double roll-up pinning her. Naomi and Carmella were bounced from the match at 17 minutes and 10 seconds.
As everyone argued in the middle of the ring, it was time for Nia Jax and Tamina to exit their pods and get busy dishing out some pain. The Iconics locked themselves into a pod. Nia Jax and Tamina pried open the doors simultaneously slamming the team into the cage. Double Samoan Drops on The Iconics had them both pinned at 20 minutes and 15 seconds. The unhappy fans booed loudly.
In a really awkward and transparent move, Mandy Rose crawled in under Sonya Deville so they could be double stomped by Sasha Banks. Jax pinned Liv Morgan to boot the Riott Squad to the curb at 25 minutes and 5 seconds.
The Boss and Hug Connection are the champs. Photo: WWE.
Bayley side-stepped a charge causing Jax to put herself through a pod. Everyone teamed up on Tamina. Bayley smashed Tamina with her flying elbow drop. Bayley, Banks. Rose and Deville all pinned Tamina. Jax and Tamina hit the road at 27 minutes and 5 seconds.
The crowd cheered them off by singing: “Na na na na. Na na na na. Hey hey, goodbye.”
Deville speared Bayley into one of the metal pod supports. Bayley was taken out of the match forcing Sasha Banks to fight alone against Rose and Deville. Deville accidentally speared Rose. Deville tapped out to the Banks Statement.
Boss and Hug Connection are your WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions.
Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Akira Tozawa – Singles match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
In the middle of the match the WWE cuts to an attempted interview with Kofi Kingston. Instead we hear from Big E and Xavier Woods. They call Kingston a “living legend”. Love Kofi but that’s a bit much. They start a “Kofi rocks!” chant. A fantastic reason to reduce the Cruiserweight title match to a picture in picture feature. Tozawa almost puts Murphy away with a Shining Wizard. Murphy is up before Tozawa can hit his Senton splash. Tozawa counters a powerbomb from the second rope with a hurricanrana. A knee strike to the face and a brain buster gets Murphy a two count. Instead of following up, Murphy mocks Tozawa slapping him in the face. Murphy falls out of the ring after an inverted hurricanrana. Murphy kicks out of Tozawa’s top rope senton while hanging over the ropes. Murphy switches an octopus lock into Murphy’s Law to keep the title.
Winner: …and still WWE Cruiserweight Champion at 13:27, Buddy Murphy.
Match Rating: 8 / 10
Nia Jax and Tamina vs. The Riott Squad (Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan) vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville vs. The Iconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce) vs. Bayley and Sasha Banks vs. Naomi and Carmella – Elimination Chamber match for the inaugural WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Winners: …and new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, Bayley and Sasha Banks at 33 minutes.
Match Rating: 7 / 10
The Miz and Shane McMahon (c) vs. The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) – Tag team match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Shane flies high. Photo: WWE.
Before Shane McMahon comes out, The Miz dedicates the match to his father, wife and daughter. Maryse makes a special appearance announcing she and The Miz are having another baby. The Miz also dedicates the match to his unborn child.
The Miz mocks the Usos by mimicking their chant. Miz and McMahon start really taking apart the Usos hurling them both to the floor. The Miz taunts them again. The Usos begin to double team The Miz taking a lot of the momentum and starch out of him at about five minutes in. The Miz is desperate to tag out, however, the Usos cut off the ring. Jimmy Uso starts mocking The Mix and Shane. It allows The Miz to foul up Jimmy and hot tag Shane. Shane obliterates Jimmy Uso with a Coast to Coast. He ponders doing the same thing to Jey. Jey catches Shane with super kick as he dives. The Miz saves Shane from the pinfall. Shane flies off the top rope putting Jey through an announce table with a flying elbow smash. Jimmy Uso kicks out of the Skull Crushing Finale rolling up The Miz for the pin.
The Miz helps Shane up after the match. He tells Shane he is sorry. They walk to the back leaning on each other. Later on in the show as Shane is receiving medical attention, The Mix is freaking out about the loss. Shane tells Miz to go home and cool off. He will see him on Smackdown Live later this week.
Winners: …and new WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions at 13:55, The Usos.
Match Rating: 7 / 10
Bobby Lashley (c) and Lio Rush vs. Finn Bálor – Handicap match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
The Balor Club has gold again. Photo: WWE.
Graves calls Lashley “the steak” and Lio Rush “the sizzle, a human filet mignon”. Whatever the hell that means. Balor haymakers his way out of powerbomb. He prepares to splash Lashley. Lio Rush distracts Balor allowing Lashley to drive Balor into the ringside barricade. Rush takes over kicking Balor to the mat. Once Balor starts to turn the tables Rush tags out. The official gets in the way as Lashley clotheslines Balor from the apron. The crowd starts cheering loudly for Balor. Michael Cole asks if Lashley and Rush expected Balor to last this long into the match. This is at only six minutes into the bout. Lashley spears Balor in a corner and then slams him down with one arm. Rush tags in. Balor rolls out of the way of Rush’s splash. Balor smiles as he cuts Rush off from Lashley. Balor flies splashing Lashley and Rush on the floor. Balor shotgun drop kicks Rush in a corner. His Coup de Grace wins him the belt. Rene says the “sizzle has been put out”. Wah. Wah. Waaah.
A furious Lashley paces around the ring. He starts yelling at Rush. Lashley starts choking Rush down to the mat. Lashley picks up Rush slamming him to the with just one arm. The crowd chants…One more time! Lashley throws another tantrum on the ramp way.
Winner: …and new WWE Intercontinental Champion at 09:25, Finn Balor.
Match Rating: 5 / 10
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Ruby Riott – Singles match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Ruby Riott is forgotten as Becky Lynch arrives. Photo: WWE.
Charlotte Flair heads down to the ring before the title match. She is going to sit at ringside and take in the match. Rousey comes out dressed as Sonya Blade from Mortal Kombat. She is voicing the character in the next installment in the video game franchise. She looks great. After being thrown around the ring Riott takes a powder outside. The crowd chants…We want Becky! Some can be heard chanting…No, we don’t! Rousey makes Riott submit in 1 minute and 30 seconds.
Rousey and Charlotte butt heads in the middle of the ring. Becky Lynch comes down to the ring on crutches. The crowd chants…She’s The Man! Lynch beats Charlotte with one of her crutches as Rousey looks on. Rousey throws down the championship picking up the other crutch. Lynch motions to Rousey to get her revenge on Charlotte. When Rousey turns her back on Lynch, Lynch batters Rousey from behind with her crutch. Security hits the ring. Lynch is escorted away. Michael Cole says Lynch should be arrested. Rousey was busted open by the crutch attack. The side of her head is bleeding.
Winners: …and still WWE Raw Women’s Champion at 1:30, Rhonda Rousey.
Match Rating: 2 / 10
Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin – No Disqualification match
Strowman is slammed through the tables. Photo: WWE.
To start the match, Corbin throws his vest at Strowman. Corbin takes a kendo stick to Strowman’s legs. Strowman breaks the kendo stick over his knee. “I don’t need a kendo stick to whip your ass!” says Strowman.
Corbin clobbers Strowman with the steel ring stairs in the shoulder and face. He mocks Strowman. Strowman powerslams Corbin through a table.
Drew McIntyre’s appearance is heralded with his music for some unknown reason as he comes to the ring with a steel chair. Lashley blindsides Strowman. McIntyre and Lashley bash Strowman with steel chairs. McIntyre and Lashley slide steel ring steps into the ring. Graves: “It is not their fault Strowman doesn’t have any friends.” Strowman is put down with a Claymore Kick. Lashley and McIntyre put two tables on top of one another in the middle of the ring. Strowman is triple chokeslammed off the stairs through two stacked tables.
Winner: At 10:41, Baron Corbin.
Match Rating: 4 / 10
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. Samoa Joe vs. Kofi Kingston – Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship
Winner: …and still WWE Champion at 34:16, Daniel Bryan.
Match Rating: 8 / 10
Overall Event Rating: 7 / 10