A new IC Champ, Tag Team mayhem and Kevin Owens debuting on PPV – it’s WWE Elimination Chamber 2015…
1. The New Day vs. The Ascension vs. Los Matadores vs. Kidd and Cesaro vs. The Prime Time Players vs. Lucha Dragons for the WWE Tag Team Championships
Pretty amazing opener with a lot of crazy action and stunts. Lucha Dragons and Ascension started things off, which is a great boost for the NXT brand as all three announcers put over their tag team accomplishments down there. Granted, The Ascension haven’t really done a lot for the brand, but that didn’t stop them here. In fairness, they were put over quite strong throughout the match, eliminating both the Lucha Dragons and Los Matadores, but were then just pinned and eliminated. Very odd. Prior to the Lucha Dragons getting eliminated, Kalisto did a dive from the very top of the Chamber, which should have been a cool spot but it took longer to do than it probably should have done. Time seemed to stand still while he just swung back and forth with everyone standing below him waiting to catch him. Torito did the same dive but was caught by The Ascension who launched him into one of the Matadores with amazing force which was pretty hilarious. Kalisto had another bizarre spot earlier where he seemed to get his leg stuck in one of the pods, which went forever and led to nothing of note. Crowd were super into Kidd and Cesaro and there was a huge chorus of boos when they were eliminated by The Prime Time Players. Came down to The Prime Time Players and The New Day who had all three members due to a ruling by Kane during the pre-show. Crowd didn’t seem as into the match once Kidd and Cesaro were gone, but Darren Young and Titus O’Neil did a good job of getting people back into things. A couple of near falls here and there, but it ended up with Young eating Trouble in Paradise from Kofi for the win. Ran about 25 minutes and was never dull.
Winner: The New Day
The commentators announced that Rusev would not be in the Chamber match for the Intercontinental Championship, but they don’t know who will be replacing him. Backstage, Dolph Ziggler was with Lana who wished him luck. Not much more to say on it really.
2. Nikki Bella vs. Naomi vs. Paige for the Divas Championship
Very, very sloppy match and it thankfully didn’t last all that long either. Paige at one point was audibly calling spots with Nikki and there was a hilariously bad Tower of Doom spot – which looked even worse when the tag teams did a much better on in the match prior. Noami was blowing spots left, right and centre. Nikki won with a Rack Attack on Noami and Brie came out to celebrate with her afterwards. The difference in quality between NXT and WWE women matches is staggering, just staggering. This was horrible.
Winner: Nikki Bella
3. Kevin Owens vs. John Cena
This, on the other hand, was awesome. Whole match was built around Kevin Owens taking John Cena to the limit but also never backing down himself. Very hard hitting and the announcers did a great job of putting Owens over while highlighting what a big deal it would be for him to beat this 15-time World Champion. Lots of near falls with both men kicking out of the finishes for what felt like 20 minutes. At one point, Owens hit Cena with the AA for an amazing near fall. Both men sold their frustrations perfectly. Finish came when Cena was going for clotheslines but ran into a Pop Up Powebomb by Owens for the clean victory. They had a couple of shots of the crowd in disbelief as the announcers put over the win. After the match, Owens got the mic and cut a promo about how Cena should just give up because his time is up, and Owens’ time is now. An amazing debut match for Kevin Owens. Cena was never shown after the match and the camera focused on the NXT champion.
Winner: Kevin Owens
The ‘experts’ panel talked about Owens and made predictions for the main event. Corey Graves said Seth would win, Byron Saxton said Ambrose and Booker T said… something. Both Corey and Byron talked directly into the camera when Renee asked them a question. Why do they do that? So dumb.
4. Bo Dallas vs. (Not Adrian) Neville
Short, but mostly entertaining match. They were in the death spot however and the crowd were burned out following the Cena/Owens match. Some pretty cool spots from both men including a moonsault to the outside, and Neville won with a Red Arrow. Announcers stopped paying attention to the match to bicker amongst themselves about baseball and other unimportant things. They did however make the point that they were two former NXT Champions and pushed what a night it has been for that brand with these two, Kevin Owens, Lucha Dragons, Ascension and Xavier Woods being on the show – forgetting that Seth Rollins, the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion, is a former NXT champion. Idiots.
Backstage, Triple H told Roman Reigns that he couldn’t be in Dean Ambrose’s corner for the main event and said if he interfered, Dean would be disqualified.
5. Sheamus vs. King Barrett vs. R-Truth vs. Ryback vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Mark Henry for the vacant Intercontinental Championship
Another long chamber match, but not as good as the tag team opener. In fact, it was pretty bad. At times this was okay, but it also dragged in places and the crowd still hadn’t recovered from Cena/Owens. Mark Henry was the sixth man added to the Chamber and he looked pleased as punch to be there. Barrett was the first one eliminated (by R-Truth of all people) to continue his losing ways since winning King of the Ring. That man should never win any tournament or belt – he just goes on a losing streak once he does. There was an odd moment where Sheamus seemingly couldn’t get out of his pod, which at first felt like a storyline but then it never led to anything. On top of that, the match completely fell apart when he was ‘stuck’ with Ziggler, Truth and Ryback standing there clueless and then exchanging dreadful roll-ups like it was their first ever match. Henry also came out before it was turn when his pod was broken open by Barrett, causing everyone to call spots rather loudly. Looking back, this match was quite the mess! Sheamus eliminated Henry and also pinned Ziggler with a Brogue Kick. Ziggler was super over, so of course he did nothing. Was down to Ryback and Sheamus who hit each other really bloody hard. Sheamus hit a White Noise and rolling senton on the outside which looked like it sucked for both men. In the end, Ryback hit Sheamus with a pretty lame looking Shellshock to win his first singles title. In the post-match, Daniel Bryan presented the belt to Ryback and led the crowd in ‘YES’ chants.
The announcers once again put over Owens and Cena and announced they would have a rematch at Money in the Bank in two weeks. They also announced that Neville, Sheamus, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler were the first six men announced for the Ladder Match.
6. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Another decent match between these two, but it still felt like the crowd was burned out by Cena/Owens. They tried really, really hard to make this seem like a big deal – and succeeded for the most part by pulling out their best moves. Crowd really came alive towards the end of the match though once the Stooges and Kane got involved. No one really bought into Ambrose winning. Finish came when Ambrose went to knock down Seth, but hit the referee instead when Rollins pulled him in front of him. Seth went for his Phoenix Splash but missed and Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds. Another ref came down and counted the three which popped the crowd massively. Ambrose celebrated with the belt for a minute or so, but the first ref told Lilian that Dean won by DQ and therefore Seth was still the champion. Crowd did not like the Dusty Finish, but Seth sure did. His reaction to retaining the title was better than his actual win at WrestleMania. Tremendous. They beat down Dean to get the belt back but Reigns made the save and Dean left with the belt, claiming he won the match and was the champion. It was cute to see Roman and Dean acting like best buds. Seth was rather upset that Dean had left with his belt.
Winner: Dean Ambrose by DQ
Overall, this was a pretty decent Network-only show, but it felt like they needed to do something a bit more newsworthy in order to get people to sign up for the Network (which was the aim of this show, presumably). No titles changed hands and the only outstanding match was Cena/Owens – which people can see again in a couple of weeks’ at Money in the Bank on traditional PPV. Was it the right time for Seth to lose and for Dean to win? Not at all. But they needed to do something to make non-subscribers realise that they need to sign up in order to see these exclusive shows. And I don’t think Swerved or Too Hot For TV with Jerry Springer is going to do it. Totally worth watching the show however for the Cena/Owens match – probably the best match this company has had so far outside of the triple threat at the Royal Rumble.
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.