The best and worst moments from WWE Elimination Chamber 2017.
Just two weeks after the Royal Rumble, WWE presented the SmackDown-exclusive PPV, Elimination Chamber. PPVs held in the time between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania are often short on surprises, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have big moments.
This show had the potential for plenty of big moments, good or bad. John Cena defended his WWE Championship inside the Elimination Chamber against AJ Styles, Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose, Baron Corbin, The Miz, and Bray Wyatt. Mickie James returned to singles competition against Becky Lynch. The SmackDown Women’s Championship was on the line, with Alexa Bliss defending against the rising Naomi. Plus, American Alpha entered a Tag Team Turmoil Match, which had them defending the SmackDown Tag Team Championship against basically the entire SmackDown Tag Team Division.
As usual with WWE, you have to take the bad with the good, sometimes all at once. We’re going to start out with a negative.
Worst: The Kickoff Show
WWE’s treatment of the Kickoff Show is upsetting because they mostly do a good job with it.
The Kickoff Show gives a big feeling for a PPV, it makes the upcoming show feel like a must-see event. However, that feeling is taken away when a match like Mojo Rawley vs. Curt Hawkins takes place.
If WWE isn’t going to put a match of any consequence on the Kickoff Show (they shouldn’t), then don’t put a match on at all.
They should do it like they do for NXT TakeOvers. Film the show earlier, then do the pre-show match as an arena-exclusive to warm the crowd up.
This way, the crowd is ready for the show to start, and the people watching at home aren’t taken out of it before the show starts.
Becky Lynch has been through quite a bit recently. She was the first SmackDown Women’s Champion, but it’s been all downhill from there. She lost the title to Alexa Bliss, and has since lost in multiple rematches. Now, she finds herself pushed to the side of the title picture, in a feud with the returning Mickie James.
For the sake of her credibility, Becky really needed to pick up the victory here. As great as Alexa Bliss is, she really hit her stride as a heel, and her ability as a face is in serious question. Mickie may only be around for a short time. Naomi has been too prone to mistakes in the past to be completely trusted at the top right now. Nikki Bella isn’t going to be full-time anymore after WrestleMania, and Natalya’s credibility has taken too much of a beating over the years.
Becky is the only real option as the top woman on SmackDown, and this win made sure she stayed credible.
After the first match, the next few matches featured some questionable results.
Dolph Ziggler was placed in a match. His first big match since turning heel, and he lost. He was put in a Handicap Match with Kalisto and Apollo Crews. He was booked properly to take out Kalisto during Kalisto’s entrance, and even things up before the bell. Then, when he should’ve cheated to pick up a cheap victory over Crews, he lost instead. It took all the heat immediately out of Dolph’s character. This was the last thing Dolph needed, because he will have enough trouble getting the crowd to boo him, which is the same problem he’s always had as a heel.
Then, the Tag Team Turmoil Match came, and WWE actually came up with a way to credibly give the title to somebody other than American Alpha or The Usos, and give AA two good heels to feud with, but they didn’t.
With The Ascension left as the only team remaining to enter, AA eliminated The Usos, who then attacked AA. AA were good as done when The Ascension arrived, but Jason Jordan kicked out of a Fall of Man. AA then rallied to make sure that SmackDown’s Tag Team Division stayed obnoxiously top-heavy.
Nikki Bella and Natalya then wrestled a good match in Nikki’s hometown, which got more out of the crowd than most of the early matches on the show. The finish to this match didn’t bury anybody, though, instead, they went for a non-finish: a double-countout.
If rumors for WrestleMania are true, this will be Nikki’s last big singles match as a full-time wrestler, and she should’ve got the win. Natalya could’ve taken the loss and not been hurt that bad by it. Instead, Natalya had to attack Nikki during an interview later in the night, causing her to bump into Maryse, in what will probably be the intro to Nikki’s next feud, without a clear end to her current one.
Luke Harper has star-potential. If put in the correct spot, he could definitely break out and be a major star in WWE’s midcard. He could even have a few runs in the main event, babyface or heel.
His first main roster run separated from Bray Wyatt was derailed when he was awkwardly put in the John Cena vs. The Authority Survivor Series Match in 2014. Eventually, The Wyatt Family was put back together and Harper returned to being a sidekick.
Now, though, Harper is on his own again, and he seemed to come into this match with a bit of steam. Harper needed a big performance in this match to really capitalize on that, and he delivered.
Randy Orton received a babyface reaction from the crowd, more than Harper. However, by the end of the match, the crowd was going crazy for both men.
Despite the loss, it felt like a really big step forward for Harper.
Naomi needed a big performance in her match, as well.
Naomi has been a mainstay in the women’s division, and she’s received multiple pushed in the past. Every time, though, she had a noticeable botch in her big, step-forward match. It’s left many fans skeptical about her. That botch didn’t come tonight.
Naomi brought her A-game to the ring against Alexa Bliss, and the crowd was ready for her to win the title, and they went crazy when she did.
It was a beautiful moment that brought Naomi to tears, and it felt much deserved.
Alexa Bliss and her first title reign have a lot in common in the way of untapped potential. Bliss will have an opportunity to live up to that potential, her first title reign will not.
Bliss won the title in a Tables Match with Becky Lynch. It was unspectacular. It felt like a big moment for Bliss, but it wasn’t a memorable match.
Over the course of her reign, it felt like it was missing something. Not that she was doing anything wrong, but that it could just use a little extra ingredient. Enter: Mickie James.
Mickie brought that extra element. Unfortunately, since Mickie’s debut, Bliss has lost three times to Naomi, with the third costing her the title.
Hopefully, now that she’s away from the title, Bliss can take this time to grow as a performer and learn from a veteran like Mickie. Then, if she gets her hands on the title again, she could represent it to the best of her abilities.
Wyatt, John Cena, AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Baron Corbin, and The Miz all put on a great match. This might’ve been the best Elimination Chamber Match ever.
They were innovative. They were brutal. They used the cage as the seventh member of the match, and they had the crowd hanging on every move. They were all booked to let their best traits and attributes shine.
It was brilliant to start things out with Cena and Styles. It was a fitting way to end their story, giving them a spotlight. It also gave them both an excuse to lose, having to fight from the very beginning.
The big story is Wyatt though. Much like Naomi, he’s been a mainstay, and has often been used to get other Superstars over, and they deserved their chance to hold gold. That ends every Bray-Naomi comparison.
He put Cena over at WrestleMania 30. He put The Undertaker over at WrestleMania 31. The whole Family put over Cena and The Rock at WrestleMania 32. It’s been a long few years for fans of Wyatt, but he heads into WrestleMania 33 holding the WWE Championship, going through his best angle, against one of the biggest stars in WWE history.