SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE ELIMINATION CHAMBER 2021 KICKOFF REPORT
FEBRUARY 21, 2021
REPORT BY MIKE F. MEYERS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Kickoff Panel: Charly Caruso, JBL, Booker T, Peter Rosenberg
The panel spoke in general terms about the challenges of Elimination Chamber matches. Charly circled it back a fresh Roman Reigns facing the winner of the Smackdown Chamber match. Peter suggested that Reigns could get lucky with a Jey victory, implying that Jey would lie down for his cousin. JBL stated that even if you’re missing a leg from the Chamber match, it’s still the chance of a lifetime to face Reigns. Peter, a former 24/7 title holder, admitted that none of his championship matches have been in an Elimination Chamber.
Cesaro was interviewed backstage. He said his favorite drink is espresso, and that it isn’t just made – it’s extracted with the perfect pressure. He said he’s going to win the Chamber match, then extract the championship from Roman Reigns. Not impressed with the espresso metaphor, Booker recommended black coffee and recommended that Cesaro gets meaner.
Charly announced that as a result of Keith Lee’s recent injury, there is a vacancy in the US Championship triple threat match. To determine Lee’s replacement against current champ Lashley and challenger Riddle, the Kickoff show will feature a fatal four way: Morrison, Ali, Ricochet, and Elias.
A replay of Lacey Evans’s pregnancy announcement was shown, and Charly wondered who the father was. Booker said his father had him when he was 59 years old, so don’t count out Ric Flair. JBL said the kid would be born a hall of famer with the genetics at hand. Charly asked who would challenge Asuka since Evans is out of action. Peter said nobody wants to see Asuka.
Sonya Deville joined the panel, and a fuss was quickly made about her attire. Regarding the women’s tag match, Deville thought Jax and Baszler would have the upper hand over the newly-formed Belair and Banks pairing. The panel considered how a Belair / Banks victory would complicate Belair’s decision on who to face for her Royal Rumble victory.
Street Profits appeared at the panel table. They were concerned about getting a tag team championship rematch, but Deville was appalled at how they approached her with this issue while she was on the live Kickoff panel. The Profits backtracked and agreed to come back during her office hours. Deville told the panel that she has to set boundaries, and that if anyone has an issue, they need to respect authority and see her in her office. Charly said, “We love to see a boss lady in the house.”
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
(1) MUSTAFA ALI (w/ Retribution) vs. JOHN MORRISON vs. RICOCHET vs. ELIAS – Fatal four-way, winner will join the WWE United States Championship match later tonight
The match had a chaotic opening. Ali executed a unique chain-combo neckbreaker against all three opponents before pinning Ricochet for a two-count. Ali stomped Ricochet’s leg before dropping him onto his neck with a sidewalk slam. Elias moved in and leveled Ali with a rising knee strike, then covered for two before being yanked out of the ring by Slapjack.
Elias choke slammed and pinned Ricochet, but Ali broke up the cover. Elias tossed Ali over the top rope to the floor, then went back to Ricochet. Morrison entered and nailed Elias with a springboard kick from the middle rope, then took Ricochet down with the Moonlight Drive. He covered but Ricochet kicked out at two.
Morrison went for Starship Pain, but Ricochet rolled to safety before his landing. Ricochet leveled Ali with a double-barrel drop kick. Ricochet dealt blows to both Ali and Elias before taking them both down with a springboard splash. Ricochet suplexed Morrison and pinned with a bridge, but this was busted up by both remaining opponents.
Ricochet hit a 450 splash to Ali, but Retribution dragged Ali out to safety before he could be pinned. Ricochet ran and jumped over the top rope at Retribution, but was caught in mid-air by T-Bar and Mace, who tossed him back-first against the ring post. Meanwhile, in the ring, Morrison rolled up and pinned the exposed Ali for the victory.
WINNER: John Morrison by pinfall in 7:10.
Meyers’s Analysis: This match was largely frantic, but it executed a nice storyline with Ali having the advantage of Retribution at ringside in a match with no rules or disqualifications. This proved useful for Ali several times until all of Retribution became preoccupied with Ricochet outside of the ring, and this distraction was enough for Morrison to snag the victory.