WWE Elimination Chamber 2021 Results and Grades
The road to WrestleMania is officially underway as the WWE universe comes together for one of the most brutal events on the yearly Pay Per View calendar Elimination Chamber. This year’s card is a stacked one with several titles up for grabs as well as two WrestleMania opportunities. The WWE Universal Championship, WWE United States Championship will be defended and the WWE Championship will also be defended inside the Elimination Chamber.
SmackDown Elimination Chamber Match: Daniel Bryan vs.Cesaro vs. King Corbin vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens vs. Jey Uso.
The match started off at a break-neck pace with Daniel Bryan and Cesaro, who have been feuding in recent weeks as the lone entrants in the chamber. Both men look like they are ten years younger than they actually are with their ability and in-ring skill. The match almost immediately went to the air with Cesaro and Daniel trading high-impact high-risk maneuvers back and forth for several moments before the opening of the first pod.
King Corbin was the first man to leave his pod and wasted no time going after Cesaro immediately driving him into the pod before turning his attention to Daniel Bryan dragging his face across the chain-link sides of the cage. Corbin had a pair of near falls over Bryan and Cesaro before hauling Bryan up onto his shoulders and running him knee first into Sami Zayn’s pod.
Sami Zayn was the third entrant in the match and in typical chicken shit heel fashion held his chamber door closed so that King Corbin could not get to him. Unfortunately for Sami, he forgot that the chamber opens from both sides and was removed from the pod by Cesaro who began to beat him down immediately. The match had a slight lull here as all 4 active members of the match were laid out in different corners of the ring. The first elimination came when Cesaro locked King Corbin into a sharpshooter and forced him to tap out.
After the elimination, Kevin Owens pod was opened and it seemed for a moment that he and Sami Zayn would be working together. Unfortunately for Zayn, Owens had other ideas driving the smaller man into the cage wall and a pod door rendering him essentially useless for several moments.
The final entrant in the match was Jey Uso, a follower of Universal Champion Roman Reigns. There were 5 active competitors at this point. The focus, however, was on Uso and Owens who have run afoul of each other several times in the last few months.
Once Uso joined the match the eliminations began to occur much more rapidly first with Kevin Owens pinning Sami Zayn following a stunner. Then Kevin Owens was eliminated by Jey Uso after having his arm trapped in the Elimination Chamber door. Uso then turned his attention to both Daniel Bryan and Cesaro the two original competitors in the match but got ahead of himself and fell victim to a few modified signature moves designed for maximum destruction inside the chamber. Including a Swiss Swing into the sides of the chamber.
Cesaro was eliminated following a superkick and frog splash from Jey Uso. With only two remaining competitors Uso seemed to know that he needed to do something massive to secure the victory so he climbed to the top of the cage and threw himself off the top. But Daniel Bryan was able to get his knees up in time and was able to secure the pinfall earning a shot at the WWE Universal Title tonight.
Grade: A. This match was fantastic if a bit slow at times. Everyone in this match fulfilled their role perfectly from the spoiler King Corbin to the Kevin Owens/ Sami Zayn feud outweighing their own desire for a Universal Championship opportunity.
WWE Universal Title Match: Roman Reigns (C) vs. Daniel Bryan
Immediately following his victory in the elimination chamber Daniel Bryan pulled Roman Reigns into his patented “Yes Lock” submission giving fans around the world hope for a few moments that we might see a title change after all. Unfortunately for us, Roman Reigns tapped into his Samoan Superman powers and was able to break the hold proceeding to pummel Daniel Bryan until catching him in a guillotine choke causing him to pass out and the referee to end the match.
Grade: C. The match did what it was meant to do. It protected Daniel Bryan and the champion Roman Reigns. It was a short squash match that honestly could have been even shorter.
Edge calls his shot.
The real eye-catching moment of the match came when following his victory Roman was speared by Royal Rumble winner Edge. Edge then proceeded to point at the WrestleMania sign indicating that he would be cashing in his WrestleMania Main Event opportunity against Roman Reigns for his Universal Title.
This set up Edge perfectly for WrestleMania to chase after the title he never lost. (The WWE Universal Title was formerly the WWE World Heavyweight Title.)
United States Championship Match: Bobby Lashley (C) vs. Riddle vs. John Morrison
Bobby Lashley started this match like a bat out of hell going after Riddle immediately. Riddle and Lashley’s stable The Hurt Business have been running afoul of one another for several weeks at this point including a gauntlet match where Riddle defeated the other three members of The Hurt Business to earn this title opportunity. Morrison, who earned his title shot during the Elimination Chamber pre-show seemed eager to allow both men to take out their frustrations on one another and pick at the scraps of whatever remained, Unfortunately for Morrison both Lashley and Riddle were quick to sus out this strategy and take turns beating down the newest member of the triple threat.
The match had an incredibly formulaic feel and seemed to follow the WWE triple threat schedule to a T. With all three members of the match forming temporary alliances and breaking them up just as quickly. Riddle earned his first reign as the United States Champion after breaking a crutch over the back of Bobby Lashley and pulling Morrison into a modified Gotch Pile Driver.
Grade: C-. While not a bad match by any means it was a typical WWE triple threat match up. Nothing new or unique really took place to its own detriment.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (C) vs. Sasha Banks & Bianca BelAir
The women’s tag team division on the main roster has struggled in recent months with only a few real teams between both RAW and SmackDown finding new and exciting stories has been easier said than done for the better part of this year. This match is no exception. Baszler and Jax now in the midst of their second reign with the titles faced off against the newly minted team, as of the most recent SmackDown, of the SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks, and perhaps her challenger for the title at WrestleMania the 2021 Royal Rumble winner Bianca BelAir.
This match much like the US Championship bout was a simple formulaic WWE title match. With the dominant heels starting strong only to begin to falter just long enough for the plucky babyfaces to begin to gain momentum turning fan attention to the fact that there might actually be a title change on the show before the champions, magically recovered from whichever malady may have laid them out earlier in the match found themselves restored and full of energy and able to once again take control of the matchup. In this case, the victory came when Reginald, the sommelier for Carmella, who is associated with Sasha Banks for some reason attempted to hand off a foreign object of some kind leaving banks open for Jax’s Samoan Drop securing the champions the win and retention of their WWE Women’s Tag Team Title.
Grade: D. Unlike the US championship match which had its monotony broken up by truly impressive feats of athleticism. This match felt strange and disjointed. Maybe because of the hastily thrown-together team of Banks and BelAir or maybe Jax hasn’t yet fully recovered from her recent “Incident” on SmackDown. Either way, this was not a great offering from any of the four ladies.
RAW Elimination Chamber Match for WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre (C) vs. AJ Styles vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton
Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy kicked off this edition of the Elimination Chamber at a decent pace. With Hardy trying to pick up speed and Orton doing everything in his power to grind it to a halt. To be frank, the first few minutes of this match were entirely forgettable and nowhere near the level of brutality or skill that we have come to expect from either of these competitors.
The WWE Champion Drew McIntyre was the first to enter the chamber and he immediately went after both Hardy and Orton trading off heavy blows with Orton and allowing Hardy to run himself out opting simply to dodge Hardy’s moves than to try and reverse or counteract them allowing him to run his own gas tank low and take himself out of the matchup.
Kofi Kingston was the next competitor to enter the chamber and went to work immediately eliminating Randy Orton in short order. Orton, incensed delivered an RKO to Jeff Hardy. Following the elimination, AJ Styles bodyguard Omos ripped the back of his pod off its frame allowing Styles to enter the chamber ahead of his allotted time. He attempted to take advantage of this circumvention of the rules by rolling up both Kingston and Hardy leading to near falls for both men.
After several minutes of back and forth the sixth and final member of the match Sheamus entered. Sheamus, who recently ended nearly 20 years of friendship between himself and the WWE champion Drew McIntyre came out of his pod with a clear gameplan. Turn Drew’s chest into hamburger meat and allow the other men to eliminate each other.
Unfortunately for him, Hardy, Styles, and Kingston had other ideas. Pulling both men apart and beating down Sheamus before turning their attention back on one another. The match oscillated back and forth for several moments at this point with the focus shifting from AJ and Kofi to Sheamus and Drew with AJ hanging around the edges like a vulture ready to pick up the scraps.
There were a few stand-out moments in the match like the double pinfall with AJ and Sheamus attempting to pin Hardy and McIntyre respectively and Kofi Kingston throwing himself off of the top of the chamber onto all four remaining members of the match.
The eliminations began in quick succession when following a Brogue Kick, Sheamus was able to pin Kofi Kingston. Jeff Hardy was then pinned by McIntyre after delivering a Swanton Bomb to AJ Styles and falling victim to a Claymore. AJ, Sheamus, and Drew traded a series of high-intensity moves for the final minutes of the match before Sheamus took control of the match tying AJ up in the ropes and delivering several devastating fists to his chest. Before climbing to the top rope and delivering a brutal-looking clothesline and when getting ready for a Brogue kick fell victim to a beautiful DDT from the WWE Champion.
AJ Styles was able to capitalize on the confusion and deliver a Phenomenal Elbow to Sheamus and pinning him, eliminating the competitor from the chamber. Styles went up for another Phenomenal Elbow but was snatched out of mid air by a truly impressive flying Claymore allowing Drew McIntyre to retain his WWE Championship.
Grade: A. A fantastic bookend to a midlevel Pay Per View event. The last five minutes of that match made the previous three matches more than worth it.
Bobby Lashley attacks WWE Champion
McIntyre’s celebration was short-lived unfortunately because as the chamber was being lifted into the ceiling the former United States Champion Bobby Lashley rushed the ring and proceeded to beat down the exhausted champion. Leaving him open to a Money in the Bank cash-in from the Miz. Miz who won the Money in the Bank several months ago from the first winner Otis has been hinting since receiving the case that he would pick the most opportune time to cash in for his title opportunity. He came away with the WWE title following a Skull Crushing Finale putting the nail in the coffin of a truly exhausted McIntyre.
Grade: B. I am a huge Hurt Business fan and love when factions that are set up as businesses are used as such. It only makes sense that The Miz. The most must-see superstar in the WWE would use every advantage available to him to maximize his opportunities. Including an incredibly pissed-off Bobby Lashley.
Overall Show Grade: B.
Was this an incredible Pay Per View? No. But was it fun and did it drive interest in WWE’s product leading up to the biggest show of the year in WrestleMania? Absolutely. Both Elimination Chamber matches were highlights and truly great matches which outweighed the low points on the card.