Elimination Chamber Match Almost Pays Off Until Roman Shows Up

WWE launched its Elimination Chamber event at their notorious Florida training center ceremoniously called the Thunderdome. The first match of the night was also the first match of the Elimination Chamber event.

Kevin Ownes continued the theme of "firsts" for the night, entering the Thunderdome arena first for his first even elimination chamber match. He was followed by Sami Zayn, who expressed his immediate disdain at the prospect of wrestling ever and was joined shortly by a mouthy King Corbin. (Please note at this time that Zayn wanted everyone to know the injustice he has been experiencing thus far). Jey Uso entered fourth, a controversial last-minute addition, who was forced to fight for his chance at winning the Elimination Chamber event and potentially face his cousin and tribal chief, Roman Reigns. The final two men, Daniel Bryan and Cesaro, had the daunting task of starting the match in the center of the ring.

Elimination Chamber Match Almost Pays Off Until Roman Shows Up
Elimination Chamber Graphic. Credit: WWE

The Elimination Chambers' Rules begin with two wrestlers in the ring with four others locked in their respective pod. At different intervals, a pod door will open, allowing a superstar to enter the match, a process that will continue until every pod is empty. If any one of the men submits or is pinned, they are eliminated from the match and must exit the chamber immediately. The last man standing not only wins the match but gets a chance to challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship belt.

Daniel Bryan (his fifth Elimination Chamber) and Cesaro (his third Elimination Chamber) started the match with some grappling styles, but the latter managed to attempt this pin of the night. Bryan managed to kick out quickly and took over the momentum of the match by launching Cesaro into the chains of the chamber before launching himself into the Swiss Cyborg from the top rope. Bryan's missile drop-kicked again with little time for the opponent to recover, obviously trying to go for big moves to eliminate the competition and recover with enough time before one of the pods could open. Cesaro seemed wise to the strategy, and colossal clotheslined Bryan before he could get momentum off the ropes for a big, with Owens coached the man to focus on Bryan's left knee. Once Bryan had Cesaro on the floor of the match, he went for more grappling and prevented Cesaro from using his brute strength against him. Cesaro did connect a serious uppercut which took Bryan's legs out from under him, and then picked up the Yes-man into a serious vertical suplex but could not keep him down long enough for a 3 count.

The Elimination Chamber counted down at this point, releasing King Corbin, who went directly for Cesaro. Daniel Bryan entered the fray, which worked out well for Cesaro, as Corbin then turned his fury of attention towards his opponent. The raw strength of Corbin allowed him to toss both men around like rag dolls. Corbin back-to-back deep-sixed the two men but so far could not get either to submit to a pitfall. Frustrated by the resiliency, Corbin lifted Bryan with ease and drove his knee first into the pods back to back. Sami Zayn did protest at his pod being attacked, but if Sami ever stopped complaining about anything, the WWE would probably have to immediately alert a medic to check on him.

Corbin was clearly dominating the match at this point, with any attempt from Cesaro or Bryan to challenge him quickly shut down with another devastating blow. Before Corbin could end Bryan, the elimination chamber's countdown sounded off again, releasing the poor and unprepared Sami Zayn (who wisely held his chamber door shut). As Corbin tried to get Sami out of his protective princess cocoon, Bryan took him out from behind, which allows Cesaro to come for Sami while he was distracted. Watching the Swiss Cyborg man handle Sami around the ring was a sad display as the controversial wrestler suffered at the hands of the men he had recently scorned. Sami tried to rally but missed his kick on Bryan and instead planted his leg directly into one of the elimination chamber pods.

Sami Zayn's strategy of the evening seemed to be attacking while his opponents were down and then retreating. As Cesaro and Bryan took each other out, Cesaro chased Zayn to the top of Jey Uso's pod.

Sami did try to escape, but Cesaro caught him in back-to-back-to-back uppercuts. Each man was precariously perched above the ring, climbing along the chains, with Cesaro gaining on the Master Strategist and kicking him off the fence. Cesaro attempted to follow Zayn, but Corbin snatched him out of mid-air and slammed him, then caught Daniel Bryan mid-air, and choke slammed him too. Cesaro turned the tables of King Corbin, however, swinging him around the center of the ring before tying him up in a sharpshooter, a devastating move that caused Corbin to immediately tap out and be the first eliminated.

Owens was the next man released from the chamber and was caught in the web of Zayn's sweet smooth-talking, but Kevin answered his requests for an alliance by slamming Zayn's head into the pod. Owens and Cesaro found themselves face to face in the ring before getting caught in Daniel Bryan's devastating sleeper hold. Kevin then turned his attention back to Sami Zayn, who answered the assault by biting Owens in the arm. Thinking Zayn had the upper hand after leveling Owens in the ring, he took his eyes off his opponent for only a moment and received Owens' superkick for his trouble.

Owens used the turn of events to cannonball all three men in the ring, but the fast exchange of blows put all four men down as they recovered from the quickly-paced fight. Owens was the first to recover, using a neck breaker on Zayn, but could not get the 3 count. He then attempted to pin Bryan but also failed at only two counts. Cesaro was the third to get Owens' wrath but was saved by the last Elimination Chamber entrance of the night.

Jey Uso and Kevin Owens went after each other immediately. The two men have had massive beef over the past few weeks, with Jey interfering on Kevin's matches with Roman Reigns during the previous weeks and costing him the title of Universal Champion. The fight was punishing and personal, with Kevin placing his foot on Jey's neck at one point, only to be interrupted by the other three men who wanted a piece of the action. Kevin was not to be outdone on the big moves, using a moonsault off the top of his pod to take out all four men at once. He caught Bryan, Cesaro, and Sami in sequential stunners, with the last one being enough to eliminate Sami.

Jeu used the opening of the chamber door to slam Kevin's arm and trap him before launching a fury of kicks into his opponent's head. Throwing Kevin into the ring, Jey climbed to the top of the ropes and frog splashed Owens, resulting in him successfully eliminating Kevin in a pitfall count-out.

Jey wasted no time in turning his attention on Daniel Bryan, focusing on his injured knee and punishing him mercilessly. Cesaro was not to be outdone on ruthlessness and took advantage of the distraction to put an offensive attack on Jey. He picked up Jey and slammed him again and again into the cage. Bryan tried to get the drop of Cesaro but was caught in mid-air and tossed aside inconsequentially. Cesaro planned on landing a moonsault on Bryan but caught a kick to the midsection instead, which gave Bryan enough momentum to attempt two pins on the Swiss Cyborg but was unsuccessful.

It was thirty minutes into the match at this point, and Bryan was attempting to rally the crowd and ignore the injury to his knee, kicking Cesaro again and again in the head. However, before he could get to the top rope, Cesaro caught Bryan with devastating uppercuts before lifting him up from the top rope and bringing him down in a devastating gut buster. With the same power used to eliminate Corbin, Cesaro lifted Bryan by his injured knee but was interrupted by Jey Uso, who used the surprise to eliminate the Swiss Cyborg. Jey caught Bryan with a frog splash, but he was able to kick out of the subsequent pitfall attempt. Now that it was down to two, the men were able to focus on the last opponent standing. Bryan was nearly lifeless in the ring as Uso climbed to the top of a pod but caught the high flyer with his knees before he could receive a frog splash.

It was the last move Bryan needed to make and managed to, injury and all, pin Jey Uso, thus winning the Elimination Chamber match. This win launches Bryan into a match later in the night against Roman Reigns, who was not necessarily an underdog but was not the favorite to win for the night (that happened to be Cesaro). Before the Yes Movement leader could even attend to his injured knee, Roman Reigns immediately entered the Thunderdome and climbed into the ring against an already broken Daniel Bryan.

Reigns did not take his opponent seriously, and it ended up being his almost downfall, as Bryan caught him in a devastating Yes lock. Reigns was operating on a full tank, however, breaking out of the grappler's moves and punished him justly by landing blow after blow on his opponent and flinging him into the air with absolute ease. It didn't seem like Bryan had any of his agency at this point, and the official was forced to call the match as he had no capability of defending himself against the Tribal Chief and head of the table. Roman LAMES seemed proud of himself for his half-assed effort against a man who just spent over thirty-five minutes fighting for the chance to face him, with hopefully a real comeuppance coming at Wrestlemania.

BUT WAIT. As Reigns gloated in his lazy win, Edge entered the arena, followed by an echo of audience cheers and nearly cut Roman in half with a catastrophic spear. What nearly ended with disappointment was quickly turned around by the Ultimate Opportunist, who loud and clear proclaimed that he had Roman justly squared in his crosshairs.

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About Chelsy Bloomfield

Chelsy Bloomfield is an artist, cosplayer, writer, and comic book aficionado. She is the founder of Utah’s Graphic Novel Book Club, the first of its kind in Utah, and has hosted monthly meetings since 2011. If she is not writing or preparing for the next book club meeting, she can be found yelling about conspiracy theories on the internet or playing with her perfect puppy, Puffin.
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