Stardust’s fall down the ranks continues, as instead of looking towards the stars he remains rooted firmly to the bottom of the card. On RAW, his match against Dolph Ziggler was over in a matter of seconds, showing how minimal a threat he is now perceived. And on SmackDown he fell to R-Truth, having to watch him push towards an Elimination Chamber match whilst wondering whether his next championship opportunity will ever come from.
Two people that will be receiving a title shot in the Chamber are Konnor and Viktor of the Ascension. They made their presence felt as one of the six teams battling for the Tag Team Championships on Sunday, but will likely be an outside bet to get their first taste of gold. On SmackDown they participated in a fatal four-way tag match, but could only watch on as the Lucha Dragons built momentum.
It has been a meteoric rise for Neville, who has certainly captured the imagination of the WWE Universe with his tremendous performances. But, this was a trying week for him, as he was first interrupted during an interview by former NXT rival Bo Dallas, and then due to a pre-existing leg injury suffered defeat to King Barrett on RAW. Following the loss, Neville was beaten further by Dallas, as their feud is set to renew in the coming weeks.
Fresh off the humiliation of being forced to quit by John Cena at Payback, Rusev was in no mood to take that loss lying down. He came out to the ring looking for a rematch, but was interrupted by Lana, who stated that the Bulgarian quit and she saved him from serious injury. Rusev would not listen, sending her away for good, only to return when she kissed Dolph Ziggler later in the evening, and suffering a Zig-Zag to add to his embarrassment.
It was not a good week for either participant of Payback’s I Quit match, as United States Champion John Cena stepped out to revel in his victory and extend his Open Challenge to the roster. The call was answered by an unexpected source: NXT Champion Kevin Owens. But, the Canadian seemed to have no intention of battling for the belt, feigning walking away before blindsiding Cena and dropping him with a Pop-Up Powerbomb.
Another member of Elimination Chamber’s Tag Team Championship match, the Prime Time Players stood tallest at the end of RAW among all of their fellow opponents. This led to a match on Main Event between them and the champs the New Day. However, they were unable to deal with their numbers game, as interference from Kofi Kingston from ringside handed his stablemates the win.
RAW was meant to be a night of celebration for the Architect Seth Rollins, who held onto his WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the face of three challengers at Payback. Along with his Authority cohorts he was only concerned with having fun and enjoying his success. But, his festivities were interrupted by Dean Ambrose, who thanks to an assault on Rollins was able to cajole himself into a WWE Championship match at Elimination Chamber. The Champion sent a message with a Pedigree to Ambrose, but will not be looking forward to their upcoming encounter in the slightest.
One of the combatants in the Intercontinental Championship Elimination Chamber match, Ryback stood up for the heart of Daniel Bryan and challenged the bully Sheamus, in spite of suffering a broken rib in his Payback bout with Bray Wyatt. The Big Guy took a lot of punishment and gave plenty in return in this physical encounter. But, due to his opponent feigning an eye injury, Ryback was caught out with a Brogue Kick to suffer defeat.
Placed in another match on RAW to become Divas Champion for the first time, Naomi would battle Nikki Bella without the presence of Brie at ringside. However, she could not get the better of her rival, and was only spared the embarrassment of being pinned by interference by Tamina causing the disqualification. This brought out the returning Paige, who alongside Nikki would take out both Naomi and her bodyguard here and on SmackDown.
Another tandem would come up short in a championship encounter on RAW, but this time they were the ones that suffered due to the disqualification of their opponents. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd could not overcome the New Day due to the champs ignoring the referee’s instructions. Then on SmackDown, they were unable to come out on top in a fatal four-way battle featuring a number of their Elimination Chamber rivals, as the Lucha Dragons scored the victory.
Although I am not exactly enamored with this retro combination, Macho Mandow and Curtis Axelmania were able to push themselves to a victory on SmackDown. With Adam Rose and Heath Slater the opponents, the quirky pairing were able to win with their classical maneuvers and silly taunts.
It seems that it is only adequate to be the King, as King Barrett took an even record of results this week. Firstly on RAW, he mixed it up with the man that embarrassed him at Payback in the form of Neville, and this time was able to secure a victory. But things took a significant downturn on SmackDown, as opposite one of his rivals in the Elimination Chamber this Sunday he could not come out on top, losing to Dolph Ziggler.
The Tag Team Champions once again took the easy way out when forced to defend their championships against Cesaro & Tyson Kidd on RAW. With Xavier Woods banned from ringside, Kofi Kingston and Big E refused to stop stomping Kidd, leading to a DQ decision from the referee. They then became very acquainted with all five of their challengers at Elimination Chamber, and even more so with the Prime Time Players on Main Event when New Day earned the win.
R-Truth has worked his way into the Elimination Chamber contest for the Intercontinental Championship, mostly down to his success in his recent feud with Stardust. His string of victories over his bizarre opponent continued on SmackDown, as thanks to some play with a glove, Truth outsmarted Stardust and floored him with the Lie Detector.
Roman Reigns was kept out of in-ring action this week, as he continues to campaign for a singles opportunity to challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. But, he is still looking to support Dean Ambrose now that he is the current contender, and despite being given the night off by Kane, didn’t stay away long. Instead, when interference took place in the main event between Ambrose and Bray Wyatt, he cleared out J&J Security and aided his friend’s victory.
After close to two months out of action, Paige returned with a vengeance, and eyes on the prize she values above all others. Immediately dispatching of Naomi and Tamina following the former’s title match against Nikki Bella on RAW, the Brit then splattered the champ with the PTO. However, she ended up as the recipient of an assault on SmackDown, first from Naomi, and then a Rack Attack from Nikki for good measure.
Months in the wilderness have finally seem to have gotten to the previously upbeat Bo Dallas, as watching his former NXT rival Neville rapidly ascend the ranks had him green with envy on RAW. After being cleared from the ring by his British foe, Dallas helped King Barrett defeat the Man Gravity Forgot. A post-match assault set the exclamation point, and Dallas rode this momentum into a win over Jack Swagger on Main Event.
The Bella Twins might be set to suffer once again due to Stephanie McMahon’s problems with Daniel Bryan, as she sent Brie away to take counselling over her husband’s injury jinx. Nikki was therefore forced to defend her Divas Championship alone, and did so when Tamina’s interference caused a disqualification. Nikki was spared a beatdown due to the return of Paige, only to endure a PTO of her own. But, the champ turned the tables on SmackDown, dropping the Anti-Diva with a Rack Attack.
Back together and as dominant as ever, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan made short work of their opponents this week. The sad fools that chose to stood on the other side of their power were Fandango and Zack Ryder, who endured consecutive losses to the former Wyatt Family members on RAW and Main Event.
Speaking of the Wyatt Family, the leader of that faction Bray Wyatt had his hands full with former rival Dean Ambrose this week. With both men a few sandwiches short of a picnic, they took each other to their limits on both RAW and SmackDown, producing some of the most fun match of Wyatt’s career. On RAW, thanks to some outside aid, the New Face of Fear took a win, but on Thursday he suffered a rare loss due to support from Roman Reigns for the Lunatic Fringe.
The Celtic Warrior was looking for an easy ride to become Intercontinental Champion with some serious brown-nosing of the Authority on RAW. But, that only drew the ire of Ryback, who was fed up with his bullying attitude towards those smaller than him on the roster. In a very physical and aggressive bout between the heavyweights, Sheamus once again used some dirty tactics to score a victory, feigning an eye injury before offering a Brogue Kick to win.
Building the most momentum out of any team heading into the Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber match, the Lucha Dragons have the crowd on their side too if RAW and SmackDown are any indication. On the blue show, the combination of Kalisto and Sin Cara scored a crucial win in a fatal four-way match between some of their upcoming rivals, showing they will be tough prospects to overcome with the gold on the line.
The Show-Off had plenty of reason to feel good this week, which seemed unlikely after Sheamus’ brutal assault at Payback. On RAW, Dolph Ziggler dispatched of Stardust with ease, and enjoyed a very sweet reward in the form of a couple of kisses from Lana. This drew the ire of Rusev, but the Bulgarian ended up enduring a Zig-Zag. Then on SmackDown, with the Ravishing Russian looking on, Ziggler overcame King Barrett to build momentum heading into Elimination Chamber.
The Lunatic Fringe is ready to take one more opportunity at dethroning Seth Rollins of the WWE Championship, but went through it the hard way. On RAW, thanks to some shady outside help, Dean Ambrose was defeated by Bray Wyatt. But, he made his mark by forcing the Authority to agree to his title match at Elimination Chamber by assaulting Rollins with a chair. And, with some assistance by Roman Reigns, he evened the score with Wyatt on SmackDown by inflicting a rare loss on the Eater of Worlds.
If there was a guide on how to make the best possible impression on your debut, you can bet that NXT Champion Kevin Owens would be the author. Owens emerged when John Cena issued his United States Championship Open Challenge, and stood toe-to-toe with the biggest name in the WWE today. Although, he didn’t feel like challenging for Cena’s title, but left a permanent mark by dropping the champ where he stood with a Pop-Up Powerbomb. He then showed the ultimate disrespect by treading on the US title belt, and made sure that he would challenge the legend at Elimination Chamber.