In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down both nights of WrestleMania with callers and emailers. Topics include the quality of the Firefly Funhouse match, the decision to put Charlotte over Rhea Ripley, the potential of wrestlers getting more creative freedom in the current environment, and more.
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KELLER’S WWE ELIMINATION CHAMBER PPV REPORT
MARCH 8, 2020
PHILADELPHIA, PA. AT WELLS FARGO CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON PPV
Smackdown Announcers: Michael Cole & Corey Graves
Tonight after WWE Elimination Chamber, join Greg Parks LIVE to break down the show with callers, mailbag questions, and an on-site correspondent from Philadelphia, Pa.
•STREAM LIVE HERE ABOUT 5 MINUTES AFTER RAW
•CALL: (347) 215-8558
•EMAIL COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: email@example.com
•IF YOU DON’T LISTEN LIVE, SEARCH “WADE KELLER” ON YOUR PODCAST APP TO SUBSCRIBE AND THEN DOWNLOAD OR STREAM THE FULL SHOW AN HOUR OR SO AFTER RAW
CHECK OUT OUR ELIMINATION CHAMBER KICK OFF SHOW REPORT HERE.
Raw Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Jerry Lawler
-A video package aired with a theme about the Elimination Chamber being a dangerous speed bump on the way to WrestleMania dreams.
(1) DANIEL BRYAN vs. DREW GULAK
A feud recap aired before the match. They locked up at the start. Graves talked about the high stakes for Gulak to beat one of the all-time greats, Bryan, on PPV. Gulak controlled Bryan with a leg scissors early. Bryan did a head stand to try to pop out. Bryan did escape into a half crab. They kicked at each other from their backs, driving each other’s heels not their faces. Gulak came out of that with a cut under his left eye. Bryan backed up and took a breather at ringside. Bryan went back to some matwork on Gulak, focusing on his legs. This is the type of match Bryan lives for. He reached over and pulled up on Gulak’s nose. Gulak countered Bryan’s surfboard attempt with a heel hook.
Bryan again tried to handstand out of a Gulak head scissors, but Gulak lifted him up and dropped him with his legs, driving his head into the mat with a short and quick motion. Gulak swung Bryan around by his head while on his back and dropped into a neckbreaker for a two count. Gulak lifted Bryan for a suplex, but Bryan reversed and suplexed Gulak over the top rope. Bryan tumbled over with him. They both crashed and were slow to get up. The ref began counting them out. They zoomed in on welts on the back of Bryan. Back in the ring, Gulak gave Bryan a half nelson back suplex for a two count. Bryan clutched his neck and wiggled his fingers if they were tingling. Gulak settled into a full nelson. Cole said Bryan had a match stopped once because of tingling fingers, which turned out to be indicative of a serious neck injury. Bryan came back with a Dragon Suplex for a two count. Gulak came back with his own German suplex into a bridge for a two count. Gulak landed a release German suplex. Bryan landed on the back of his head. Gulak covered him for a near fall. They replayed the nasty impact from two angles in slo-mo. Graves asked at what point is the risk too much. Bryan beat the ten count with a second to space. Gulak immediately covered him for a two count.
Gulak chopped away. Bryan rallied seconds later with a flying forearm. Both went down and were slow to get up. Bryan set up a superplex a minute later, but Gulak slipped free and knocked Bryan off balance. Gulak then delivered an inverted suplex. He rolled through into his Gulak Dragon Sleeper. Bryan rolled through into a Yes Lock mid-ring. He threw some elbows to Gulak’s head before locking it on. Gulak passed out and the ref called it off.
Afterward Bryan looked over at Gulak as if he was impressed at how good Gulak turned out to be. They replayed some of the nastier bumps Bryan took in the match including the released German suplex onto the back of Bryan’s head. Graves said it could’ve crippled Bryan. Bryan then led the crowd in Yes! chants from the ring. Cole said Gulak was “very game.” Bryan saluted Gulak who was leaning in the corner looking on as the chants continued.
WINNER: Bryan in 14:00. (***1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: Excellent mat-based match. Really compelling start to finish, even with a more deliberate pace than usual for the WWE style. Not crazy about those bumps Bryan takes on the back of his head, though. I hope he’s got a good idea of what makes sense risk-wise for him at this point in his life with the condition of his body and is making sound decisions.)
-Kayla Braxton discussed the Tag Team Chamber match, then interviewed Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode. Roode said it’ll be glorious. Ziggler gave a shout-out to Mandy Rose.
(2) ANDRADE (w/Zelina Vega) vs. HUMBERTO CARRILLO – U.S. Title match
Andrade attacked Humberto with a spinning back elbow at the start for a quick two count. They fought to the floor a few minutes later. Andrade lifted part of the ringside mat, but Humberto fought back. Andrade whipped Humberto into the ringside barricade. Andrade hit a running boot to Humberto’s head and shoulder while he was on his back on the mat. They battled back and forth for a while, including Humberto landing a top rope hurancanrana for a near fall. Humberto went for a top rope moonsault, but Andrade avoided it and then landed running double knee strikes into the corner for a two count.
Andrade pointed to ringside where Vega tore up the ringside mat to expose the concrete floor. Andrade then set up Humberto at ringside, but Humberto backdropped out of it. Humberto dove over the top rope (and the referee) and crashed onto Andrade at ringside. Vega gasped at ringside. Humberto then leaped off the top rope with a flying body press for a two count. They went into a series of leverage pin attempts, but Andrade eventually got the three count with a yank of Humberto’s trunks.
WINNER: Andrade in 12:00 to retain the U.S. Title. (***)
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match start to finish.)
-Charly Caruso interviewed A.J. Styles backstage. Styles said he feels bad for Aleister Black because he’s a dark loner.
(3) NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Big E) vs. THE USOS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER & ROBERT ROODE vs. MIZ & JOHN MORRISON vs. LUCHA HOUSE PARTY (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado vs. HEAVY MACHINERY (Otis & Tucker) – WWE Smackdown Tag Team Title match inside the Elimination Chamber
It started with the Usos vs. New Day. After Big E and Uso ran the ropes and charged into each other, Big E gyrated above Uso. Cole awkwardly said, “Even in the Chamber, they love to entertain.” (Ugh.) Kofi slipped off the top rope and barely made it onto Uso. Graves said Kofi is usually sure-footed, but he recovered well.
Lucha House Party was the third team to enter out of the corner pod. Graves said Big E is a freak of nature, but sometimes people are disarmed by his personality. He said he’s a monster in the gym. Dorado got his legs caught in the chain fence and fell backwards. The announcers gasped. He recovered and made his way to the top of the pod. They battled up there. Dorado leaped off the top of the pod onto the Usos at ringside. Metalik then leaped onto New Day in center-ring. The fans counted down the final seconds.
Miz & Morrison entered next. They went to work against New Day aggressively. Then they turned to LHP with a barrage of kicks. Finally, the Usos took a beating including a tandem DDT for a near fall. Metalik leaped off the pod and took Morrison off the top rope with a huracanrana for a near fall.
Heavy Machinery entered next. Fans popped for their entrance. They got in a stretch of offense against the Usos and then LHP. Tucker landed a sidewalk slam for a two count. They charged at Big E and sandwiched him mid-ring. Big E staggered and then fell onto his back. Otis and Tucker looked over at Roode and Ziggler, watching from their pod. Otis then did the Caterpillar and scored a two count. Dorado had climbed to the top of the Chamber as everyone else gathered in the middle. He swung and flip-dropped onto the crowd below. Only Heavy Machinery were spared. Fans popped and cheered and then chanted “Holy shit!” HM then gave Metalik a Compactor for the elimination.
ELIMINATED: Lucha House Party.
Roode and Ziggler were out next. They worked with Miz and Morrison to attack HM. Tucker met Ziggler on top of a pod. He threw Ziggler into the arms of Otis below. Otis dropped Ziggler ribs-first over the top rope. Tucker then did a running flip dive off a pod onto a crowd of wrestler below. Ziggler side-stepped a charging Otis who flew through the pane of the pod and crashed to the floor. Cole went bonkers as and chanted “Holy shit!” They replayed it from several angles. Cole said in a decade and a half of Chamber matches, he’s never seen anything like that. The pane went flying at the Spanish announce desk. Tucker went down to check on Otis. Medics checked on him, but he wasn’t moving much. Tucker eyed Ziggler as if Ziggler did something wrong. He went after Ziggler and Roode. They eventually got the better of him including a superkick by Ziggler and a Glorious DDT by Roode and got the three count. Tucker helped Otis to the back as Roode and Ziggler antagonized them and gloated.
ELIMINATED: Heavy Machinery.
Big E and Kofi attacked Roode and Ziggler. The Usos then leaped onto Ziggler and Roode with flying splashes off opposite pods for the 1-2-3 on both. “Good, they’ve been eliminated!” said Cole. Fans sang “Na na na na, good bye!” at Roode and Ziggler as they scooted out of the ring.
ELIMINATED: Roode & Ziggler.
The Usos and New Day went after Miz & Morrison first, then turned and battled each other. Graves said they had a good thing going, but their egos were too much. Uso avoided a Kofi dive off the top of the pod, after which Miz and Morrison double-covered Kofi for the 1-2-3.
ELIMINATED: New Day.
It was down to Miz & Morrison vs. The Usos. Miz looked thrilled as he and Morrison huddled in one corner. The Usos met them mid-ring and they battled. Eventually Morrison hit Starship Pain on one Uso, but the other broke up the cover and connected with a superkick for a near fall. Miz and Morrison won when Morrison leveraged Uso’s shoulders down with a jackknife pin after a sunset flip, and then Miz used extra leverage with his feet on the top rope to help get the three count. Cole said he had to give credit where credit was due to Miz & Morrison.
WINNERS: Miz & Morrison in 33:00 to retain the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles. (***3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: They kept that entertaining start to finish with some big spots off the pod, through the pod, and off the top of the pod.)
-They showed Kairi Sane & Asuka backstage.
-Caruso interviewed Natalya backstage regarding Beth Phoenix. Natalya said Phoenix is tough and she’ll recover, but Edge is going make Randy Orton pay.
(4) A.J. STYLES (w/Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows) vs. ALEISTER BLACK – No DQ match
After a couple minutes of matwork, Styles pulled a kendo stick out from under the ring and bashed Black with it. Black came back with a high roundkick to Styles’s face. Styles flung himself over the top rope toward Black at ringside, but Black caught him with a knee. Black then pulled out a table. Saxton said it’s a familiar site in Philly. Phillips said it’s the land of extreme. Styles countered with a chair and worked over Black’s legs in the ring. Black came back with some kendo stick shots. Styles fought back and set up a powerbomb, but Black slipped out. Styles landed a forearm and a leverage two count. Styles quickly hit a brainbuster suplex for another two count.
They fought back and forth for several minutes. Black scored a two count after a back suplex into a bridge. Black blocked a Styles Clash a minute later and kicked Styles. Styles caught Black mid-air and then went for a piledriver, but Black rolled up Styles for a near fall. Black sent Styles hard into the corner where a chair was wedged in the corner. Lawler lamented that the chair was meant for Black. At ringside, Styles set up Black for a suplex off the announce desk onto a table, but Black broke free and knocked Styles off the table. Styles bumped face-first onto the desk. Black then leaped at Styles with a meteora that sent Styles through the table at ringside. Black clutched his left leg and limped once he stood. He grabbed Styles, who hadn’t moved from the broken table, and threw him into the ring.
In the ring, Anderson and Gallows saw enough and attacked Black. Styles recovered and joined in. (If it’s no DQ, why would Anderson and Gallows wait so long?) They gave Black a Magic Killer. Anderson and Gallows held up Black for a Phenomenal Forearm. The lights went out and Undertaker’s gong sounded. The lights came on and Taker stood with his hands on the throats of Anderson and Gallows. Styles dove at him, but he turned and caught Styles, then chokeslammed him. The lights went black again. Then he was gone. Black was groggy but assessing the scene. Styles was on his back, but looked up to see where Taker went. Black then hit Black Mass for the win.
WINNER: Black in 23:00. (**3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match, which picked up in pace and intensity as it progressed. Taker interfering fits the idea of Taker & Black vs. The O.C. taking place at WrestleMania.)
-The Street Profits celebrated being Raw Tag Team Champions. Angelo Dawkins said, “Trust the process.” (A reference to the local NBA basketball team’s G.M. years ago.) Montez Ford they aren’t “one and done.”
(5) THE STREET PROFITS vs. SETH ROLLINS & MUPRHY (w/AOP) – WWE Raw Tag Team Title match
The Profits made their way through the crowd. Fox stood on the desk and danced. Phillips broke into his robot-laughter. Seth & Murphy came out second, accompanied by AOP. Dawkins got the better of Murphy early. He tagged in Ford who went to work on Murphy’s arm. The heels worked over Dawkins for a few minutes until a hot tag to Ford. (There was ZERO pop for that hot tag. Yikes.) AOP attacked Ford at ringside as Seth distracted the referee. Seth congratulated them and said that’s why he’s aligned with them. Then the Viking Raiders’ music played. They ran to ringside. AOP met them in the aisle and they brawled.
Murphy settled into a chinlock on Ford in the ring. Ford eventually hot-tagged Dawkins for ZERO crowd pop. Seth and Murphy noble superkicked Dawkins. When Ford leaped off the top rope at them, they kicked him out of mid-air. Murphy then scored a near fall on Dawkins. Murphy asked Seth what he should do next. Seth tagged himself in a minute later. Dawkins punched him and tagged in Ford, who landed a top rope frog splash for a near fall. Murphy came back and hit a flying meteora for a near fall. Seth dove through the ropes, but Dawkins caught him and overhead tossed him on the floor.
Back in the ring, Ford went for a superplex on Murphy. Some fans chanted “We Want the Smoke!” (Is that a pro- or anti-Profits chant, since *they* the smoke, after all? Is there enough to go around?) The Profits set up a double superplex, but Seth entered and powerbombed all three off the top rope. Everyone was slow to get up. Kevin Owens walked down the stairs munching on a box of popcorn. Fans stood and cheered. He walked to ringside, stepped over the ringside barricade, and sat on an announce desk while eating more popcorn. He threw it in the face of Seth. Dawkins charged at Seth and knocked him hard into the ringside barricade. Murphy went for a running flip dive onto the Profits at ringside, but they caught him mid-air and threw him into the ringside barricade. Dawkins and Ford then double-teamed Murphy including a top rope frog splash for the win.
WINNERS: The Street Profits in 19:00 to retain the WWE Raw Tag Team Titles. (***)
(Keller’s Analysis: The Street Profits once again had help from KO to retain their tag team titles. I know it’s meant to be amusing that KO keeps messing with Seth, but it’s clearly putting the personal rivalry between KO and Seth ahead of the idea that the Profits tag team title reign is earned and important enough to stand on its own and not be a backdrop for another storyline. The match itself was solid, but it won’t go unnoticed by Vince McMahon the lack of crowd investment.)
-Afterward, Seth leaned over the top rope and yelled down at Murphy on the floor, “What happened to you?” KO gave Seth a stunner. Phillips said, “Oh hell yeah!” KO dumped some popcorn onto Seth and then strolled to the back. Seth recovered and threw a fit by kicking around the popcorn on the floor.
-A commercial aired for the FCW documentary on WWE Network. (“We went in there literally not knowing anything,” said one of the Bellas. That’s not hard to believe if you’ve ever watched Total Bellas.)
-A clip aired of the Kickoff Show tag match between The Viking Raiders and Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins.
-Braxton interviewed Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Cesaro backstage. Sami said he’s going to face Braun Strowman and bring the IC Title back where it belongs.
(6) BRAUN STROWMAN vs. SAMI ZAYN & SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & CESARO – Intercontinental Title match
Sami opened up against Braun. He obnoxiously danced, then leaned into his corner and tagged out. “I’m not legal!” he boasted as he smiled at Braun. Sami’s bravery didn’t last long. Braun beat up Nakamura for a while as Sami continued to mouth off. Once Nakamura got an advantage, Sami tagged in and stomped away at Braun. Then he tagged back out right away to Nakamura. Braun eventually took control and knocked everyone to the floor. He signaled for his lap around the ring. Sami ran into the ring and hit Braun with a forearm. Braun no-sold it and then chased Sami around ringside. He knocked Nakamura down and then knocked Cesaro into the crowd. Sami dove under the ring. When Braun went after him, Nakamura and Cesaro attacked him. Graves said Braun is obsessed with Sami he isn’t focused on winning. The heels threw Braun into the ringside steps. Back in the ring, Cesaro side-stepped a charging Braun, then drove him shoulder-first into the post. Nakamura then gave Braun a Kinshasa. Sami tagged in as Cesaro and Nakamura lifted Braun. Sami then delivered (weak looking) Helluva kick for the win. Graves told Cole he looked like he was going to vomit. Cole said, “I may.” Fans sang along to Sami’s song.
WINNER: Sami Zayn in 9:00 to capture the Intercontinental Title.
(7) SARAH LOGAN vs. ASUKA vs. NATALYA vs. SHAYNA BASZLER vs. RUBY RIOTT vs. LIV MORGAN – Elimination Chamber match to earn a shot at the Raw Women’s Title at WrestleMania
When Logan came out, Phillips said she’s the epitome of the every-woman-for-herself situation in a Chamber match given what she did to her ex-partners last week. Riot and Natalya battled at first. The crowd was quiet and then grew restless, including a brief “C.M. Punk!” chant. Logan entered third and charged at Natalya with a running knee. Riott and Logan climbed the cage to the top of a pod. They fought up there. The crowd reacted like, “We saw this three hours ago and we cared about those wrestlers a lot more.” Baszler entered next and quickly forced Logan to tap to the Kirifuda.
Baszler then slammed and kneed Riott before making her tap to the Kirifuda. It was about a 30 seconds between tapouts.
Baszler went over to Natalya who was on her back. She lifted her and threw her hard into the wall of a pod. She slammed a pod door at Natalya and tapped her out with the Kirifuda clutch.
Asuka mouthed off to Baszler obnoxiously from within her pod. Baszler paced around the ring as the pods remained locked because apparently they’re “pre-programmed” to only open at set intervals. The crowd grew increasingly restless. Liv Morgan was hyperventilating in her pod. This dead pause went on and on and on. More booing and boredom. Finally the countdown clock showed ten seconds and fans counted down, but with less enthusiasm than normal. Out came Morgan. Baszler attacked her. Liv tried to fight back, but Baszler powerbombed her into the side of the fence and then swung her hard twice into it. The crowd ohh’d. Phillips said it was disgusting and savage. Phillips said it was as ruthless as anything he’s seen in the Chamber before. The visual was nasty. She then put Morgan to sleep.
Another long pause with Asuka yapping the whole time. (How about a rule change that if one person remains in a Chamber, the clock automatically hits zero?) Asuka exited and faced off with Baszler. (So Baszler is the heel they’re setting up to face Becky, and they do it by having Baszler dominate everyone in the Chamber and ultimately square off against ultra obnoxious heel Asuka?) Baszler got the better of Asuka initially. Asuka went for a backslide, then landed a roundkick to her chin. She then applied her Asukalock. Some fans cheered. Baszler rolled out of the ring, but Asuka held on. Baszler rammed Asuka into the fencing to finally break free. Baszler soon applied her Kirafuda for the tapout win.
WINNER: Baszler in 21:00 to earn a WWE Raw Women’s Title match at WrestleMania.
(Keller’s Analysis: The least entertaining match of the night, and when the crowd turned against the match itself – especially the pacing, but it was rough from the start – it took away a lot of whatever benefit Baszler got for dominating like that.)