King Barrett is clearly feeling the weight of his crown, as he had a shocking week in terms of results. On RAW, he battled Ryback, and suffered a crushing defeat courtesy of a Shell Shock. Then came SmackDown, which provided an even more devastating loss to R-Truth which few would have seen coming. And these seven days of disappointment, Barrett final fall came as the first man eliminated from the Elimination Chamber match over the Intercontinental title.
2015 has witnessed the blossoming of an awesome tag team in Cesaro & Tyson Kidd, but this was undoubtedly one of the worst weeks since the start of their alliance. On RAW, they participated in a 10-on-3 handicap match against the New Day, which quickly descended into a full-scale brawl. On SmackDown, they lost to the Lucha Dragons in a lumberjack match, and then their attempts to reclaim the Tag Team Championships in the Elimination Chamber fell short.
Their personal troubles seemingly behind them, Kane and Seth Rollins were brought together in tag team matches on RAW and SmackDown opposite Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. Despite the backing of the Authority, this could not benefit their push for victory, as they lost cleanly on Monday night, and in the rematch would taste defeat by disqualification.
Elimination Chamber was undoubtedly the best the Ascension had looked, at least for half the match. But this was a typically poor week for the former NXT Tag Team Champions, starting with a DQ loss on RAW as part of the clustered 10-on-3 handicap match. That was followed by a defeat to the Prime Time Players on Main Event, and this tandem proved to be the death knell for Ascension’s hopes of winning in the chamber.
The Inspirational Bo Dallas only succeeded this week in inspiring his rival Neville to get the revenge he craved. Dallas was looking good on RAW, when he targeted the injured leg of his British opponent in a bid to gain an advantage. But, this proved to be for nothing at Elimination Chamber, as Neville handily overcame the Boliever.
Naomi will have to wait a little longer to finally be able to clasp onto the Divas Championship for her own. On SmackDown, she went one-on-one with Paige in a battle months in the making, and the Brit would get a measure of vengeance when she laid out Naomi. And then in the triple threat match over the butterfly belt, it was not to be for the former Funkydactyl, as she was pinned by Nikki Bella.
Back in the limelight for a brief period of time, R-Truth was fulfilling his role of the extra man in a championship match. On RAW, he was very rapidly squashed by Rusev, but bounced back on SmackDown to inflict a shock defeat onto King Barrett. But this could not boost him towards what would have been an astonishing victory in the Elimination Chamber, as he was hoisted out by Ryback.
One of those serious hopefuls for the Intercontinental Championship at Elimination Chamber was left disappointed, and likely searching for some comfort from Lana. On RAW, Dolph Ziggler could not best Sheamus, in no small part due to a brief distraction from Rusev, who then beat down the Show-Off. Rusev would be missing in the steel structure due to injury, but Ziggler would run face first into the boot of Sheamus which led to his elimination.
One of the most popular teams in WWE today took to the Elimination Chamber like ducks to water, and provided the best moments of that match. This was following a defeat on RAW as part of the 10-on-3 handicap match, and then a boost of overcoming Cesaro & Tyson Kidd on SmackDown. The Lucha Dragons opened the match with the Ascension, and provided a great spectacle before their disheartening elimination.
Rusev’s injury was bad news for him, but it certainly paid off for a returning Mark Henry. He was thrust into the Elimination Chamber in the Bulgarian’s place, and had a big opportunity to claim his first Intercontinental Championship. However, this wasn’t meant to be, as his presence was minimal for one so large, and he was eventually Brogue Kicked out of the contest.
It was a rare moment of triumph for Stardust that he could cling to on after weeks of losses and desperately poor form. Although, this hapless trend continued on RAW, as he fought Neville and came up short despite the Brit’s injured leg. But, placed on the kick-off show of Elimination Chamber, the crazed performer was able to get a much-needed win over Zack Ryder.
Whilst Naomi was not able to get many positive results out of this week, Tamina Snuka was at least able to register a valuable win of her own. Although she is in the role of bodyguard, the help of her ally at ringside allowed Tamina to overcome Paige on RAW after a hard Samoan Drop. Sadly, Tamina’s presence outside couldn’t help Naomi best the Brit on SmackDown.
The Prime Time Players pushed the WWE Tag Team Champions to their limits in the Elimination Chamber, but came agonizingly short of their first title reign. On RAW and SmackDown, Titus O’Neill and Darren Young played supporting roles in the build up to the battle in the steel structure. But, they stepped out into the spotlight when the bell rung, eliminating both the Ascension and Cesaro & Tyson Kidd, before sadly falling to defeat to by the New Day.
Rusev might have to take a short break from crushing opponents after suffering a genuine injury on SmackDown. Before that on RAW, he appeared to be in dominant form, squashing R-Truth in short order, and then assaulting his love rival Dolph Ziggler in front of a despondent Lana. But, this momentum proved to be for nothing come Thursday, as he fractured his foot in a bout with Ryback, and after a DQ loss was unable to compete for the Intercontinental title at Elimination Chamber.
The only positive that can really be said about Seth Rollins’ week is that he’s still the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, which is pretty good. Other than that though, it was one frustration after another. On both RAW and SmackDown, he and Kane lost consecutive tag team contests against Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns heading into his title defense. And Rollins would even fall short in that title match, but thanks to the referee calling a disqualification he remained champ. Although Ambrose left with possession of his beloved belt, leaving Rollins enraged.
Back in the ring and pushing for a record-equaling third Divas Championship reign, Paige would suffer mixed fortunes. The Brit first suffered a loss on RAW, falling to Tamina Snuka thanks to some blatant interference by Naomi. Paige paid her back for this cheating and renewed their rivalry on SmackDown, and there she came out the victor. But, it was not enough to get some form heading into the triple threat title match at Elimination Chamber, as Nikki Bella reigned supreme.
The Irishman seemed nailed on to claim his first Intercontinental Championship in the eyes of many fans, but fell short in that pursuit in the end. Sheamus made a mark on the faces of the opposition in the lead up to the Elimination Chamber, beating Dolph Ziggler on RAW and then flooring both King Barrett and R-Truth on SmackDown. But, despite ousting Ziggler and Mark Henry in the steel, Sheamus was the last man to fall to defeat at the hands of Ryback.
There are some that demean his ability, but there is no doubt that John Cena brings out his best for the big occasion. Leading into his heavyweight clash with Kevin Owens at Elimination Chamber, Cena successfully defended his United States Championship against Zack Ryder. But, come to Sunday’s match everyone was talking about, Cena and Owens took each other to the very limit, and shockingly Cena suffered a clean defeat.
Being left off of the Elimination Chamber card must have been a slightly bitter pill to swallow for Roman Reigns, who was instead forced to watch his buddy Dean Ambrose from the sidelines. He had been supportive in the Lunatic Fringe’s tangles with the Authority throughout the week, leading to a pair of victories over Seth Rollins and Kane in tag team action on RAW and SmackDown. And, whilst Ambrose didn’t win the gold, Reigns helped him leave the arena with the WWE Championship belt on his shoulder.
A leg injury could not keep the Man that Gravity Forgot grounded, as all three of his opponents this week found out. First it was Stardust on RAW, Neville’s victory somewhat blemished by a post-match assault by Bo Dallas. Adam Rose was the next opponent to fall on Main Event, and this momentum served him well when he battled his former NXT rival at Elimination Chamber. Neville overcame his leg damage to land a Red Arrow right into the Inspirational One’s heart.
The Divas Champion took on her two toughest challengers and sent them both packing at Elimination Chamber. First, Nikki Bella dispatched of Summer Rae with relative ease on Main Event before the real challenge took place. Facing a triple threat title defense against Naomi and Paige, Bella stood tall at the end, dropping the former with a Rack Attack to retain her precious championship.
Another successful title defense was made by the New Day, who took advantage of their extra man inside Elimination Chamber. After overcoming a 10-on-3 handicap match on RAW and coming out ‘victorious’, they were then faced with the difficult prospect of overcoming five teams in the steel. But, aided by having all of their stable allowed in the match, they finally beat the Prime Time Players to remain the Tag Team Champions.
Few wrestlers receive what Kevin Owens enjoyed in the first two weeks of being on the WWE roster, and he has grabbed his opportunity with both hands. Owens targeted the biggest name in the company today, John Cena, and made good on his promise. Instead of just being another upstart that talks a big game, the current NXT Champion backed it up and then some. After an incredible back-and-forth battle which resembled his old days in ROH, Owens defeated Cena, and thus set the entire roster on notice.
Dean Ambrose did what he needed to do all week. The Lunatic Fringe teamed with Roman Reigns on RAW to defeat Seth Rollins and Kane, and then signed the contract to grant him his WWE Championship match at Elimination Chamber. Another tag team victory by disqualification followed on SmackDown, albeit by disqualification. But the big match was at the PPV, where Ambrose defeated Rollins and appeared to become the new champion. Yet, it wasn’t to be due to a devastating DQ decision, but Ambrose left with the belt in his hands.
It has been a long and tough road for Ryback in WWE. Part of one of the early Tough Enough series and working his way through developmental, the Big Guy went from the Nexus to a supposed Goldberg rip-off. Now though, he has finally reached for a brass ring and clasped it. Ryback enjoyed a pair of victories on RAW and SmackDown against King Barrett and Rusev respectively. But it was his performance in the Elimination Chamber that earns him top spot, as he overcame five fierce opponents to win the vacant Intercontinental Championship. Ryback got the endorsement of former champ Daniel Bryan, as he now takes the belt on its latest journey.
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