WWE ELIMINATION CHAMBER RESULTS: A Veteran Defeated, A Rivalry Extended and a Dream Becomes Reality (February, 12th 2017)

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Welcome all to the Elimination Chamber report, and the historical event that served as the last Smackdown-centric Pay Per View before the 33rd WrestleMania presented to us 3 Women’s Matches on the Main Pay Per View Card. In Chronological Order, Becky Lynch faced her revolutionary critic Mickie James, Nikki Bella clashed with her fierce rival and fellow Total Diva Natalya, and Naomi looked to rise to being the gold wielder as she challenged Alexa Bliss for the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

Facing the position of being the opening crowd warmer, the battle between former Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and an also former women’s champion in Mickie James is first. Becky enters first, then the entrance of James follows, following of course the recap of Mickie’s return to the WWE when she beat down on Becky alongside Alexa after the former champion failed to recapture her title in the historic steel cage women’s title match set up by Daniel Bryan. The two begin the match with a lock up, spilling around the ring amid the lock up. Mickie manages to take down Becky, sending her to the mat for the first pinfall attempt, with Becky easily rolling out of it at one. Becky turns Mickie over also, but there isn’t even a count as Mickie raises her shoulders quickly to escape her pin. The Twos scrappy tie up is released soon after they spill to the outside, and after a stare-down, both choose to hit the ring to avoid a count out. The Two engage in another lock up, with Becky gaining an advantage as she counters into a hammerlock. Mickie wheels out and takes Becky back to the mat, going again for a pinfall attempt with Becky escaping again at one.

Mickie applies a hammerlock next, using it to rope Becky into her shoulder to nail her own shoulder blocks. Mickie ties the same arm behind Becky’s back before Becky finds a way to counter, attempting to place Mickie in the finishing disarmer early, only Mickie desperately grasps the ropes before she can even lock in her submission. Mickie tries to overturn momentum but Becky throws off the attempt and takes Mickie to the floor at ringside. Becky tries to welcome Mickie back to the ring courteously, before hitting an elbow once she attempts to climb the apron. Becky plants Mickie’s face against the ring post before using her springboard sidekick to send her back to the floor. However Becky isn’t waiting for Mickie to make a leap back into the ring, diving off the apron and hitting her with an elbow within seconds of the veteran getting to her feet. Becky rolls Mickie back into the ring at a count of two, met with a hard kick from a recovering Mickie as she attempts to head back to the ring herself. Mickie nails the snap DDT to Becky to get her first near fall. However shes far from happy with this result, resorting to pinning her on two other occasions, both of which Becky escapes from at two.

With momentum still on her side, Mickie targets the arm of Becky next, stretching it against the ring ropes. She does this more after delivering a hard kick to a defenseless Becky in the corner, and after snapmaring her into the center, Mickie hits a singular leg drop and goes back to painfully targeting Becky’s left arm. She delivers another kick to Becky as she writhes in pain then sets up another pin attempt, but Becky keeps fighting, kicking out again at two. Mickie reverts to the same strategy of targeting the left arm again with usage from the ropes before exploiting that damage with a hammerlock locked in, bridging as she continues to further the damage. Becky begins her own onslaught upon escaping, eventually having her momentum reversed when Mickie hits back with a kick. Mickie launches her shoulder first in between the turnbuckles. Mickie revels in her spotlight after taking Becky down again, this time via a hurricanrana off the top rope. Mickie kicks Becky to the mat as she tries to make a comeback with fists, but she doesn’t manage to pin, getting a near fall instead on Becky.

Becky tries to summon the strength to escape the follow up chokehold by Mickie, eventually breaking loose after executing an arm drag. An exchange of forearms ensues, with both hitting consecutive forearms to one another in the rings center. Becky gets back the advantage and momentum with a series of clotheslines followed up with the leg lariat, and after connecting with the exploder suplex, Becky darts into the cover, but she gets a near fall courtesy of Mickie kicking out again. Becky goes for the flying firearm in the corner, missing when Mickie moves to safety. Mickie heads up top for the aerial assault next, planting Becky against the mat via the seated senton, but again getting a near fall on the Lasskicker. Becky returns the favor within moments with her own aerial assault in the form of a missile dropkick, going right into the pin after but Mickie still isn’t out to her dismay as the Veteran kicks out at two. Becky resorts to prizing Mickie to prep for the Pumphandle Suplex but Mickie escapes her grip and counters with the Mick Kick, also trying to pin Becky after but being unable to as Becky’s arm is under the bottom rope in a strategic move. Mickie yanks her to the middle of the ring to try for the pin that once failed, but Becky has recovered by that time, raising her shoulder after the count of two to the dismay of the Veteran competitor.

Mickie forearms Becky out of frustration, then awaiting for the opposer to get to her feet to ready the next attack. Mickie readies the finishing move, only for Becky to counter into a back body drop. Lynch instantly tries to entrap Mickie in the disarmer, but Mickie reverses into a pin attempt that Becky reverses quickly. The Jackknife reversal is enough to shock Mickie and cost her the match, unable to kick out before three. Becky wins the match.

Next in line women’s match wise is the also booked match between the Total Divas Nikki Bella and Natalya, that follows up from a very neat video package. Nikki gets a nice pop on her way to the ring, then playing witness to the entrance of the crueler than ever Natalya, who has emotionally and physically targeted her over the weeks. The Match starts exactly as it should, with a look of intensity on the face of a disheartened and enraged Nikki as Natalya takes the chance to mock her boyfriend John Cena with the “You Cant See Me” taunt. She slaps Nikki before hoisting her back up to force her back down with a take-down. Nikki tries to reverse into a headscissor on the instant, but Natalya forces herself out of it quickly, countering into a second take-down. Nikki gets a headscissor in this time, but Natalya kips up to escape. Natalya forearms her in the back after breaking loose from her own waist-lock attempt, giving Nikki a load of smack talk to follow before taking a kick to the knee. Nikki rolls Natalya into a cross armbreaker, with both rolling out of it within moments back to a vertical base. Natalya doesn’t react well to a slap from Nikki, taking her down to the mat and throwing fists at the opponent. Natalya delivers a vicious kick following from a waist-lock takedown, and she connects with a second before taking her time to taunt over her increased domination.

Natalya readies the next move, quickly reversed by Nikki into a knee-bar. Unfortunately for Nikki, Nattie has clambered her way to the ropes, forcing the breakage. Natalya heads out to regroup, but not before telling the Bella loyalists in the crowd to shut up. At this time, she takes her eyes off Nikki, who connects with a baseball slide dropkick to the former Divas Champion from behind. Nikki isnt finished there, taking Natalya fully to the floor with a diving clothesline. Nikki rolls Nattie back to the ring, but Nattie is very quickly back out, looking for an official regroup and timeout as indicated. Nikki isnt having it, stepping over to Natalya and staring the fierce competitor in the face before being shoved back first into the ring post. She follows Nikki into the ring to begin her newest run of momentum, beginning with a snap suplex, continued with a kick to the back before delivering some boots to a sunken Nikki in the corner. The run of momentum only continues with a basement dropkick and a chokehold. Nikki tries to make a comeback but is brought down via a series of big clotheslines from Natalya. You steps over Nikki’s body and proceeds to taunt John Cena style again, caught suddenly in Nikki’s surprise roll up, enough to get the Bella a near fall.

Nattie delivers a kick then drives Nikki face first to the mat. She temporarily targets the left leg of Nikki while calling out to the Bella family supporting from the crowd, but it proves a mistake as she takes a slap to the face from a retaliating Nikki who follows this by officially locking in Cena’s famed STF. Natalya, however, is already near the ropes and reaches them quickly to again force the release of Nikki’s submission hold. Nikki begins her comeback with a running shoulder block and dropkick, then sending Nattie head first into her knee. Nikki tries to capitalize on this comeback offense with her next pin attempt, resulting in a near fall again for Nikki on the nemesis. Nattie reverses momentum quickly with a michinoku driver, which gets her a near fall also. She takes her time to try and prize Nikki in the sharpshooter, but its a costly move as Nikki throws her off with kicks. Nikki delivers her lethal forearm smash, the very move that cost Brie her huge Summerslam Match against Stephanie McMahon, but it doesn’t take Natalya out, kicking out of the Bella’s next pin attempt at two.

Natalya clubs at the previously injured neck of Nikki, before having her whip reversed, leading to Nattie becoming the target of the former Divas Champions spinebuster, which gets Nikki another near fall. Back on her feet, Nikki utilizes the ropes to execute an inziguiri to separate herself again from Natalya, but like the prior spinebuster, its again not enough to take out Nattie, as the Queen of Harts kicks out of the Bellas pin attempt at two once again. Nikki rolls to the apron, blocking a charging Nattie once on her feet with a shoulder tackle before connecting with a kick as Nattie hangs against the middle rope. Nikki positions herself atop the top turnbuckle, but not before shes met with a fist from Natalya, who also helps herself up the turnbuckles. Natalya seizes Nikki into position and successfully hits a superplex off the middle rope, leaving both ladies down on the mat. The executor of the move, that being Natalya, is up first, and plans to sink Nikki in for the sharpshooter for a second time, this time locking it in successfully. She even forces Nikki away from the ropes in her desperate attempt to break the Harts signature submission, and in another attempt to force the release of the Sharpshooter, Nikki attempts a reversal, with succession as she turns over Nattie to apply the STF again. Again Natalya makes her way to the ropes and clenches them to force Nikki off herself. Within moments, the two spill outside to the point where both are counted out of the match, resulting in neither gaining victory. The heated brawl between the continuing rivals closes when Nikki delivers an explosive spear on the ramp to a retreating Natalya.

Nikki is interviewed later on the show about the ending of her match with Natalya, but its clear theres no ending in sight for this bitter rivalry as Natalya clubs her earlier opponent from behind. Maryse is even seen watching, and as the two continue to grapple, Natalya knocks Nikki into Maryse, leaving the poor woman covered in her own make up powder.

Following right up from this intriguing altercation is a match that has many fans talking, the awaited womens title match between Naomi and the defending champion Alexa Bliss. As what comes with many title matches, challenger and champion are introduced, in this case by Greg Hamilton, beginning with the introduction of the title contender Naomi then the heel champion Alexa Bliss. Once closed, the bell rings and Bliss’s title defense can begin. Alexa’s cockiness is immediately on display, as she flicks her hair in the face of her underestimated challenger Naomi, who has already had enough of the antics, trying to take the title early with a surprise roll up on the champ, who kicks out at one. Alexa isnt amused by this, throwing some of Naomi’s hair in her face, receiving a physical onslaught for her cocky antics. Naomi drives Bliss head first into a far corner turnbuckle, proceeding to run her into some opposite turnbuckles to continue the sequence. Alexa throws Naomi off the turnbuckle, but she makes a complete landing on the apron. Naomi ducks a clothesline by Alexa and executes her high kick to knock Alexa away temporarily, then attempting to fly over the ropes before Alexa takes her by her hair and tosses her back first to the mat. Alexa throws forearms right at Naomi after, trying to capitalize afterward with a pin attempt, but getting a near fall on her challenger instead.

Alexa continues her run of momentum as she chokes Naomi against a corner, furthermore doing the same against the middle rope. Alexa doesn’t complete this sequence without double knees to the back of Naomi’s neck however, only enough to get a near fall to her dismay. Naomi tries to overturn momentum with a running bulldog, but Alexa counters, leading to Naomi meeting the top turnbuckle head first. Alexa tries to pin her again, but it results once more in a near fall. Naomi ends up caught in the stretch hold from Alexa, which Alexa tries to capitalize off with another pin attempt, again leading to a near fall result. Alexa applies a rear chokehold that Naomi manages to break away from, only to have a potential corner assault diverted by a back elbow from Alexa. Alexa has a pin attempt reversed by Naomi, enough to get her challenger a near fall.

Naomi executes a high kick to Alexa that sends both down, and once back on their feet, both meet simultaneous forearms from each other. Naomi gets the upper hand however as she takes Alexa down with a clothesline after ducking one by the champion. A Spinning elbow follows by Naomi, who has her whip reversed by the champion. Naomi has her legs diverted to the ropes by Alexa, but thats no issue for Naomi as she bounces back with an inziguiri. After a high knee, Naomi is back with another spinning clothesline, before being sent over the ropes by Alexa. Naomi fights back with a kick, then ascending to the top rope and executing a spinning neckbreaker. However the combo from Naomi only gets her a near fall on the champ.

Naomi struggles to yank Alexa out of the corner, taking a kick in turn. Alexa gets back on her feet, running over to Naomi who retaliates with the rear view. She hopes for the hopeful victory there as she seats herself for the pin attempt, but again Alexa is out at two, shoulders raised. Naomi takes Alexa near to the corner to ready her split leg/springboard moonsault but a clever Alexa forces her grip on Naomi’s leg. Naomi knocks her off, storming over to Alexa who tries to plea for mercy before using the ropes to avoid an altercation. Once releasing herself from the ropes, Alexa hits with a forearm and kick to Naomi, sweeping her to the mat by her hair and executing the Insult to Injury. Its another near fall from Bliss on Naomi, enough to unleash the champs frustration as she hammers at Naomi with forearms, ascending up the turnbuckles after to ready her finishing Twisted Bliss. However as Alexa positions atop the top rope, Naomi springs into high gear and stalls Alexa’s hopeful momentum with an inziguiri again. Alexa ends up on the outside, stumbling about before regaining her composure to stop a charging Naomi back in the ring with a forearm. Alexa capitalizes with her DDT but finds herself flipping when the damaging move doesn’t put away Naomi, as Naomi kicks out of the champs pin attempt at two. Naomi then puts out the furious champ with boots to the jaw, immediately heading to the ropes, going for the finishing moonsault though Alexa moves in the nick of time. Alexa tries to capitalize on Naomi crashing to the mat with her next pin attempt, even sneakily placing her feet on the ropes though this isn’t gone unnoticed as the ref instantly cancels after a count of two. A Furious Alexa tries to put away Naomi with a few more boots before readying Twisted Bliss. Alexa takes flight, but ends up crashing into the raised knees of Naomi, who has countered the finishing maneuver. Naomi instantly connects with her split leg moonsault and surprisingly pins the champion to fan elation. Naomi wins the match, becoming the new Smackdown Women’s Champion.

Naomi is overcome with emotion in the post match interview, clenching her newly won championship. Shes overwhelmed by the fan adulation, from the many in the crowd who verbally shower her with “You Deserve It” chants, recognizing her years of continual attempted ascension. She expresses how she envisioned the moment of being a champion for years, stating how good it is to be in that moment. She admits how Alexa has been one hell of a champion, but shes also snatched her title, and shes more than certain that shes taking it home to Orlando for Mania.

(Mickie James vs Becky Lynch)

(Natalya vs Nikki Bella)

(Natalya, Nikki Bella and Maryse Backstage Segment)

(Naomi vs Alexa Bliss; Smackdown Womens Championship Match)

Thoughts On:
Mickie/Becky: While the end result is debatable, im more than agreeing with the result here, based on what was stated on the Kickoff show over Becky studying Mickie James. Becky used the said studying to her advantage to overcome and surprise the cocky veteran, and in turn, it builds a new layer to the feud to allow it to continue. This match served as a technical affair while also displaying much of Mickie’s in ring ability, even to those who haven’t seen it passed her last WWE run or have forgotten entirely, and it wont be the last time she has a lengthy affair in the ring on WWE TV.

Natalya/Nikki: Overall, in terms of physicality and intensity, this was the number one women’s match of the night, capitalizing on the heat the feud presents and the chemistry both women (and real life friends) have in the ring, making this their most lengthy and one of their most remembered in ring clashes. This was another result to agree with also with the count-out ending, allowing this feud to continue, which indeed will culminate in a Falls Count Anywhere Match on the next episode of Smackdown, as announced on tonights Smackdown by Daniel Bryan. The Post match brawl and the backstage brawl that soon followed continued the heat of the angle and gave additional reasoning to put the feud to bed eventually with the booking of the said match, allowing Nikki to move onto her temporary showdown with Maryse in a rumored mixed tag showdown if the spillage of Maryse onto the floor courtesy of Nattie hinted anything.

Alexa/Naomi: Overall the shortest of the women’s matches, and confusingly and inappropriately without a video package, which it should have deserved considering its a title feud, though we may be able to let them off considering the feud has only been a minor few weeks long, and they’ve failed to reference the past showdown at No Mercy throughout it all. While Alexa is the full package as champion, shes still young in her career and more or less promised various opportunities and another possible run in the wings just by being affiliated with Smackdown Live and their multi opportunities for women in comparison to RAW, while Naomi has waited a lengthy number of years to obtain and attain victory and become champion, held back by either the corporates or something else, and with Orlando hosting WrestleMania, there is no better time for Naomi to walk into the city as Champion than now. Naomi breaking down to celebrate her years of hard work was a sweet touch at the end of the match, allowing her to present the emotion shes also expressed over the years, whether it would be on WWE TV or on Twitter, and she truly deserves the limelight that RAW surely wouldn’t give her, treating her as a womens midcarder like Summer Rae, Alicia Fox and others if she was on the brand. They wouldn’t even give her her own identifiable merch during her heel run, and its sad to remember that she never became Divas Champion at Elimination Chamber 2015 as she was slated to be due to some supposed backstage heat between the WWE and AJ Lee that lead to Nikki’s ascension as the Divas Champion to record breaking heights. While i wouldn’t be surprised if WWE did a 180 and took the title off her by or shortly after Mania, Naomi has an accolade and moment that cant be taken from her. Congrats Naomi!! As they say, hard work pays off.

– Catherine

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