Hello AW Universe,
The last PPV stop on Road to WrestleMania 36 did exactly what it was supposed to: serve its purpose.
Here is a summary and a report of the event.
Daniel Bryan d. Drew gulak
Andrade d. Umberto Carrillo retains United States Championship
The Miz and John Morrison d. The Usos, The New Day, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode, Heavy Machinery, Lucha House Party to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship in an Elimination Chamber match
Aleister Black d. AJ Styles in a match without disqualification
Benefits of the street d. Seth Rollins & Murphy to retain RAW Tag Team Championship
Sami Zayn Shinsuke Nakamura Cesaro d. Braun Strowman in 1v3 handicap match, Zayn wins intercontinental championship
Shayna Baszler d. Asuka, Liv Morgan, Natayla, Ruby Riott and Natalya in a RAW # 1 Contender Elimination Chamber Women's Championship match
Daniel Bryan on a Sunday evening heat is a sin, and Drew Gulak has been an underutilized talent since his 108-day reign as Cruiserweight Champion starting last June.
That being said, their game was amazing.
It featured a sublime storytelling between the two, who have incredible chemistry. It was a fantastic display of technical holds and suplex, with Bryan hitting a magnificent Dragon suplex into a bridge, while Gulak's were a bit stiffer, with a German suplex dropping Bryan right onto his neck.
It was a key point of in-ring storytelling - and props to Michael Cole and Corey Graves for delivering it too - as Bryan's injured neck became a key target for Gulak.
Bryan took the victory by submission, but Gulak's heel tactics and Bryan's teasing made it feel like the first game in a long streak that just won.
United States Championship
It was a well-worked game, really putting on the more aggressive side of Carrillo. The crowd is definitely a party there too, and the two certainly have some chemistry together, but there is something about this feud that just feels tired and overdone, especially the “ripping the padding on the outside”. We understand: Andrade is ready to do anything to win the match. And with Carrillo once again failing to win the title, one has to wonder if this rivalry is going to go limo. WrestleMania season.
As talented as Carrillo is, it looks like he needs to move on to a new program, and maybe pairing him up with a good manager could be what he needs to take the next step.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship
The Elimination Chamber's opening game was full of bad points, mostly at the hands of Lucha House Party whose style seemed to have been lifted from an AEW show; the biggest of their spots was without a doubt Lince Dorado hanging from the ceiling like Spider-man and falling on everyone in the ring. This then led to their immediate elimination, as Gran Metalik ate a Heavy Machinery Trash Compactor tandem paver.
And with Heavy Machinery, the Otis / Ziggler storyline was infused perfectly into this match, like if they were touching each other, there was never the huge, aggressive blow from Otis, meaning they can shoot a bit. more juice from this quarrel. It was quite shocking to bring out Heavy Machinery as they did, as it looked like it was gearing up to be a hot babyface comeback for Otis after he stepped through the plexiglass capsule. But it's better for the feud that Ziggler and Roode take them down, as Tucker got a high spot with an Unexpected Senton from a pod.
All that talk so far and the champions haven't been mentioned yet. This is no coincidence, as the game went down a bit after the elimination of Heavy Machinery and Ziggler & Roode. The Usos, New Day, and Miz & Morrison all looked good - and it looks like the Usos are the # 1 Contenders - and it makes sense not to take the belts off the champions in cocky heels, but everyone's hearts. world is still clearly invested in Otis and Ziggler.
This match accomplished everything it wanted: the storytelling was good, it was stiff, The Undertaker appeared, and most importantly, still managed to come out strong. For a Philly crowd accustomed to hardcore matches, it didn't quite reach the levels of a 1997 Sabu / Sandman match, but there were still some hard spots, the styles coloring a bit of a stick. kendo burst that Black moaned over him with. They also teased the table venue very well, setting it up early in the game and around it until Black finally led Styles through with a Meteora.
But we cannot say enough about the beauty of the Blacks at the end of this match. He fought from below for most of the match and sold a left leg injury like a champ, and was fearless in being ready to take on the three CO members when they surrounded him.
Obviously this was a placeholder for Styles as he made his way over to The Undertaker at WrestleMania 36, but this match established Black as a star, so hopefully the bookers use him and put a rocket on his back.
RAW Tag Team Championship
This match was flatter than it should have been, but being the one that followed a hardcore match with an Undertaker appearance and a hot babyface is tough. But the Philly crowd just never got into it - except for near the end when a “We Want the Smoke” chant arrives.
As was the theme of the night, he achieved his goal of removing Rollins from the tag title scene as Owens made his presence known again, setting up a match between "The Monday Night Messiah" and KO at WrestleMania 36 while Street Profits can have a decent headline across Tampa Bay.
This match ran as close to a cooler as possible, despite the talent in the ring. Zayn was at his comedic best, the quick and ruthless heeled player. It was a bit of a shocking finish, but with Zayn winning the title, it shows there could be a renewed effort from the Smack down bookers to push him to gain more work in the ring. It's a bit of a disappointment to see Strowman's first round with a singles title come to an end so soon, but it's a rivalry that probably works well if the Sunday Night Heat is over. WrestleMania weekend.
RAW Women's Championship # 1 Contenders Match
In theory, this could have been a nice main event. The problem is that the finish had already been telegraphed. Which may actually be good, but the action in the ring has to be good enough to make up for it; if you can add a babyface with a few hopeful spots that put the idea of 'deviating' in your head, then that's even better.
But they wanted Baszler to look strong, and since she tore just about everyone in that game apart, there was too much lull in a main event that should have had a lot more energy. There were no strong points, and although psychology in the ring can exists in a gadget game like Elimination Chamber, she can't rely on it. WWE hosts this match once a year, so they should keep a promise that some crazy shit will happen there. All of these wrestlers are good workers, but they didn't make enough use of what the structure offered.
Asuka was great at talking crazy shit the entire time she was in her pod, but her hand injury could have played a role in her being booked to come last and not engage with Baszler. for too long. But she was fantastic to get engaged and stand out even though she had been in a plastic box for almost twenty minutes.
They definitely made Liv Morgan strong, and they had the opportunity to give her the mega babyface run to make her look even more beautiful, but the hot Philly crowd was no doubt ready to get behind Morgan after she got her. ate the vicious swing in a capsule. but for Baszler to eliminate Riott and Logan before Morgan even entered the match made no sense; this is where the tag team match was best able to intertwine the Otis / Ziggler storyline.
But ultimately, they wanted to book “The Shayna Baszler Show” from start to finish, and that's exactly what they did.
Honestly, a promising game that ultimately disappointed. Well, let's move on to Baszler vs. Lynch.
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