The SmarK Rant for WWE Elimination Chamber 2022 – 02.19.22
I should point out that although the show happened on Saturday morning, I had no trouble avoiding spoilers because no one was talking about it online and literally no one was emailing or texting me about it. But hey, I haven’t reviewed one of the Jeddha Blood Money shows in a while, and they managed to keep it under 3 hours, so let’s give it a look.
Live from the glorious kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where Cole assures everyone that we’re sold out and the dome will be filled to capacity. I care about this why…? Poor Cole sounded like he literally had a gun to his head reading that information.
Your hosts are Michael Cole and the others.
WWE Universal title: Roman Reigns v. Goldberg
We get a 10 minute video package for a match that’s probably going to last 1:30. Byron notes that Goldberg won his first World title from none other than Hulk Hogan. Yeah, TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO. Do they not see the issue here? Roman quickly beats grandpa down and tosses him, with Goldberg barely able to take that bump off the apron, but Goldberg whips him into the railing. Back in, Roman beats him down again, but Goldberg hits the spear, before Roman shrugs him off and hits a Rock Bottom for two. Goldberg tries for another spear, but Roman puts him down with a superman punch. Goldberg hits another spear, however, and tries for the jackhammer, but Roman guillotines him and hopefully puts him out for good at 6:00. It’s time to go home and stay there, Bill. Goldberg looked comically awful here and could only do one move, and even then his stuff had no impact. *
Women’s Elimination Chamber: Liv Morgan v. Alexa Bliss v. Bianca Belair v. Rhea Ripley v. Nikki ASH v. Doudrop
And of course after all their talk of inspirational steps forward, all of the women are covered up in bodysuits from head to toe to appease the Saudi overlords. We start with Nikki and Liv, even though Alexa gets the last entrance. Nikki quickly takes Liv to the apron and slams her out there while trash-talking Ripley and Alexa, and then runs her into the post for two. Doudrop is in at 2:17 and Nikki wants a Scottish alliance, but Doudrop turns on her and runs her into the cage and then adds a shot for Liv as well. At this point they start adding in the weird canned heat, despite the acoustics being totally wrong in a stadium show like this. Rhea is next at 4:43 as we’re really flying through this one, and Nikki tries to run away with no luck. Nikki and Rhea fight on the cage and Nikki falls onto Doudrop and Liv, and the Riptide finishes Nikki at 6:22. Alexa Bliss is next at 7:00, which makes for a weird bit of non-suspense because we already know Bianca is coming in last. It’s just the thing where they have to do the countdown and light show because it’s what they do. Bliss runs wild for a bit, and then Rhea follows Doudrop to the top, before Liv gets a sunset bomb on Doudrop and pins her at 8:58. And Bianca is last in at 9:10 and she runs wild, getting the press slam on Morgan and spinebuster on Alexa. Rhea and Bianca do a double suplex on Liv and Alexa, but then they turn on each other and slug it out. Liv takes them both out, but Alexa gives her the Twisted Bliss and pins her at 12:08. Rhea tries the Riptide on Alexa, but Bianca hits the KOD on Rhea and pins her at 12:49. This leaves Bianca and Bliss, and Alexa gets a code red for two. They head to the apron and Bianca gets a powerbomb into the cage and then goes up and misses a 450. She escapes a DDT from Alexa, but Bliss rolls her up for two. Bianca with the KOD to finish at 15:39. Not sure why they did all the buildup for Alexa’s big return here and then beat her right away. Match wasn’t, like, actively bad, but it was super basic and safe, with rushed entrances, and didn’t make use of the Chamber gimmick in any notable way. **1/4
Charlotte Flair & Sonya Deville v. Ronda Rousey & Naomi
Oh good, more women covered up head to toe so as not to offend the oil barons. Ronda has to wrestle with one arm behind her back here, and also she’s wearing a full judo gi as her covering and no makeup. Most shockingly, she has BARE FEET. Someone should tell the Saudi overlords before anyone gets titillated! Ronda starts with Sonya and quickly chases her out after Sonya reveals that her broken arm is a RUSE. Naomi comes in and tries the bulldog on Sonya, but it misses and Sonya slams her in the corner for two. Ronda comes in and takes Sonya down for another armbar attempt, but Charlotte saves and runs Rousey into the corner. Charlotte works on the arm the heels work her over in the corner and Charlotte cuts off the tag. Ronda’s “tied up” hand is literally just in a normal position, making the stip all the more pointless. Naomi gets a hot tag and tosses Charlotte for a dive, and back in with a crossbody for two. Charlotte with a powerbomb for two and she turns that into the figure-four, but Ronda saves, so Sonya tosses her out. Sonya with a running knee on Naomi for two, but Ronda gets another tag and finishes destroying Sonya with the armbar at 9:14. This definitely didn’t make me want to see the title match at Wrestlemania or anything, but it was fine. But really, Sonya Deville’s whole gimmick for years was that she was an MMA badass, and they’ve just dropped it completely as she did generic heel stuff, when it could have been a cool thing with Ronda where they’re trading submission attempts. **1/2
Drew McIntyre v. Madcap Moss
This is falls count anywhere and no DQ, so the heels attack Drew and double-team him. I should note that even Lady Ref has to wear a giant shirt so she’s covered up. So inspirational and progressive! They fight to the floor and Drew beats on Moss out there and then chases Corbin away, but he comes back and double-team Drew again, as Moss gets two. Back in the ring, Drew gets a pair of suplexes and then spikes Moss on his head with the Alabama Slam, as Moss takes the bump on the back of his head for some reason. Well that was terrifying. They fight to the floor again and Drew throws him into the table, but the heels team up again and toss Drew through the railing for two. Back in, Drew fights back with a superplex and then hits the Future Shock DDT for two, before grabbing the sword and trying to behead Corbin. Sorry, they’re probably still touchy about that subject. Claymore kick finishes Moss at 9:08. Probably a bit long, but it was good and hard-hitting. *** And I guess we have Drew v. Corbin to look forward to next.
RAW Women’s title: Becky Lynch v. Lita
Well they certainly accomplished the goal of making sure no one could find Lita glamorous tonight. Becky tries a spinkick and Lita SWEEPS THE LEG and slaps her. Lita with a headscissors and tries the Twist of Fate, but Becky blocks and puts the boots to her in the corner. They LOUDLY YELL A SPOT and Becky slugs away. Lita fights back, but misses a charge and Becky gets the guillotine legdrop for two. Becky with a pair of Bexploders, but Lita counters a third one into a DDT and they’re both down. Lita with a crossbody for two as she makes the comeback. They trade rollups and Becky grabs the ropes for two, and then Lita gets a sleeper on the mat and Becky rolls to the ropes to break. Lita with a powerbomb for two. Becky bails to the floor to escape the Litasault and they fight to the top back in the ring, but Lita takes her down with a headscissors and gets LA Knight’s neckbreaker for two. But then Becky just takes her down and gets the disarmer before switching to the uranage for two. Becky goes up and tries her own moonsault, but that misses and Lita hits the Twist of Fate to set up the Litasault, which gets two. But then Becky just hits the Manhandle Slam to finish at 12:22. Well that was a weak finish. Good showing for Lita, though. ***1/2
Smackdown tag team titles: The Usos v. The Viking Raiders
The Usos attack them on the floor and lay them out, hitting Ivar with an impressive suplex onto Erik, which apparently leaves the challengers in no condition to compete and so there’s no match, which the announcers make sure to stress multiple times. That makes the false advertising OK, I guess. Considering I’ve already managed to cut this show down to a little over an hour by zooming through videos and fluff, maybe they should work on their time cues and cut a bunch of bullshit out so they wouldn’t have to cut advertised matches.
Elimination Chamber, WWE title: Bobby Lashley v. AJ Styles v. Austin Theory v. Seth Rollins v. Riddle v. Brock Lesnar
We start with Rollins and Theory, although just like in the women’s match, Brock Lesnar gets the last entrance despite going into a pod. Seth hits a sling blade on Theory right away, but misses a charge and allows Theory to come back with a slam and fisherman’s suplex for two. Seth manages to beat on him outside the ring, however, and powerbombs him through Lashley’s pod, and Riddle is next in at 3:30. Riddle runs wild on Seth while the crack medical team checks on Lashley, but Rollins hangs Riddle in the Tree of Woe and then follows with an inverted superplex for two. Meanwhile Lashley gets taken out of the match for basically falling backwards in his pod, and AJ is in at 5:54. He hits Seth with the neckbreaker and faceplants Riddle for two. Torture rack slam on Rollins gets two. Everyone stacks up in the corner for our Tower of Doom spot, and Riddle moonsaults Theory for two. Riddle does a little Orton with a draping DDT on AJ and Seth, but Lashley is supposed to be in, and he’s being tended to. So Brock smashes out of his pod and pins Rollins at 9:51, then Riddle at 10:02, then AJ at 10:58, leaving Theory alone after Brock treats all the top contenders like complete garbage and pins them with one F5 each. So Theory hides in the pod, but Brock smashes him out and Theory goes low to finally get offense. DDT gets two, but then Theory panics and runs away, so Brock pulls him down from the cage, takes him to the top of the pod, and then throws him down to the apron with an F5 and pins him to win the WWE title at 15:00. What a fucking waste of time and money this was. Not only that, it retroactively made Brock dropping the title in the first place EVEN MORE POINTLESS if he was just going to win here and regain it. What a shitty way to end what was an average show up until that point. And yeah, big shock, Brock comes in, works 2 minutes, and pins everyone in the promotion with his move. Probably one of the low points for the Chamber gimmick. *1/2
On the bright side, I do enjoy them making sure B-shows are wrapped up in 2:50. There’s nothing worth going out of your way to watch on this one, though, and it’s a pretty solid thumbs down from here as they add an additional FUCK YOU, PAL, to anyone who sat through the Royal Rumble last month.