WrestleRevel: WWE Elimination Chamber 2017 Recap

Naomi comes up big, Luke Harper and Randy Orton impress, and The Wyatt Era begins in the Elimination Chamber on the debut edition of WRESTLEREVEL!
wwe, elimination chamber, bray wyatt, wrestling

“Welcome to Hell, SmackDown Live.”

 

Confession: I had every intention of rolling out Entry Revel’s wrestling coverage starting with the first WWE pay-per-view of 2017, the Royal Rumble. That being said, I found myself in San Antonio seeing the Rumble live with my best friends (shout out to the Yacht Rock Mafia), and all of a sudden my grand plan went out the window with a keg of Lone Star and a Tito’s chaser. But now that the hangovers have faded and certain statutes of limitations no longer apply, I’m back and ready to rumble with the debut edition of WrestleRevel. First up: the SmackDown exclusive PPV, ELIMINATION CHAMBER.

But before we grease ourselves up and get to grab-assing, I’m compelled to let y’all know how WrestleRevel coverage is going to work. Yes, wrestling is fake predetermined, but so is Game of Thrones. Just because some balding writer with a belly full of lavender scones and Earl Grey tea sits in a conference room and decides that Jon Snow should sodomize a White Walker with a flaming lance doesn’t make it any less thrilling to watch; same goes for wrestling. So indulge me, suspend your disbelief, and let’s pretend everything that happens in wrestling is one hundred percent authentic. No grades, no peeking behind the curtain, no bullshit. Otherwise, we run the risk of turning into one of those pretentious wrestling websites where bloated nerds wax philosophical about Vince McMahon’s booking decisions in between mouthfuls of ham and cheese Hot Pocket and bouts of rim-stinging diarrhea. Without further ado, let’s get down to the biscuits.

The Era of Wyatt Has Begun

Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your zesty mesquite BBQ gator nuggets, because Bray Wyatt has finally captured the WWE Championship. The low key thicc leader of The Wyatt Family suddenly finds himself top dog on the SmackDown brand, and the story of how we got there is hands down the most compelling narrative going into Wrestlemania season. Prior to the brand split this past July, The Wyatt Family was all sizzle and no steak. When looking like a ZZ Top cover band fucked Deliverance failed to bring The Wyatts championship gold, they split up. And when their solo careers imploded like the cartilage in Chris Christie’s knees, the band quickly got back together with the added power of the pants-shittingly enormous Braun Strowman. Still, success eluded them. Then Erick Rowan went down with a blown rotator cuff and Braun Strowman was drafted to Raw, leaving Bray Wyatt and his hetero life mate, Luke Harper, to terrorize the SmackDown Live roster. Their first target: The Viper, Randy Orton. Hoooo boy. Going after the Apex Predator seemed like kicking the proverbial hornet’s nest, but just then, a funny thing happened. Like Tucker Max trying to neg a hot girl into riding his herpes-pocked dork, Bray Wyatt systematically broke down Randy Orton’s psyche until the 12-time world champion did the unthinkable and bent the knee to the dreaded–and dreadlocked–villain.

Suddenly, The Wyatt Family was a trio once more, with a little added venom in its veins. And just as suddenly, the new Wyatts started racking up wins, culminating in the capture of the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. But not everything was sunshine and swamp gas. Luke Harper never fully embraced his new brother, sensing an ulterior motive. I mean, can you really blame the guy? Randy Orton is nicknamed for a sneaky snake, that’s like recruiting a guy called “The Puker” for your beer drinking competition. The Wyatts fell to infighting, losing their Tag Team Championship almost as soon as they won it. Like any good father, Bray Wyatt did the sensible thing and pitted his “children” against one another in a knock down drag out grudge match, and when Randy Orton emerged victorious, Wyatt shocked the world and turned on his most loyal soldier, hitting Harper with Sister Abigail’s Kiss. Just like that, Harper had lost his family, and the new tandem of Wyatt and Orton turned their sights to the Royal Rumble–a match that Orton would go on to win for a shot at the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 33. Which brings us to tonight. After years of pushing the proverbial elephant up the stairs, Bray Wyatt is more dangerous than ever. Even heading into a stacked Elimination Chamber match with the likes of WWE Champion John Cena–a man who has cucked the Wyatts in spectacular fashion a few times before–there was still an air of destiny to the new-look Bray Wyatt. Sure enough, he last pinned a woozy AJ Styles to capture his first singles title in WWE. Not bad for a white guy with dreads.

If it sounds like I’m giving the other competitors in the Elimination Chamber match short shrift, it’s not intentional. All six men put on an absolute clinic and proved why their arguably the top stars of the SmackDown brand. Dean Ambrose eliminated Baron Corbin, the man who looks like he could actually give tetanus to the jagged steel of the Chamber, and ate an End of Days for his troubles. AJ Styles continues to prove why he may be the best singles performer in the galaxy, and John Cena was, ya know, John Cena. This was an incredible match and highly worth the watch–but all the action was secondary to the slow burn story of Bray Wyatt, finally tasting the sweet nectar of success after years of near misses, and Randy Orton, the man whom he will face at Wrestlemania as he defends the WWE Championship. I, for one, have so many questions. Is Randy truly loyal to his new master, so much so that he’ll take a page from Kevin Nash’s book and lie down for Bray Wyatt? Or was Luke Harper right to distrust Orton, and is Bray Wyatt about to take a tumble into The Viper’s nest?

The Real Women’s Revolution

With an unprecedented three, count ’em, three women’s matches on this card, it feels a little disingenuous to lump them all together. However, it serves to illustrate a larger point, and that’s just how fucking awesome the stacked SmackDown women’s division is. Raw may have flashier marquee names in Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair and Bayley, but SmackDown is the land of opportunity. Long ridiculed for her ass-based offense and perceived lack of charisma, Naomi silenced her doubters by capturing the SmackDown Women’s Championship from the pint sized shit talker, Alexa Bliss. Cool mom Mickie James got her comeuppance at the hands of girl next door Becky Lynch, while Nikki Bella vs. Natalya went to a double count out on account of tooooo much ass kickin’. And while all of these stories stand on their own, they are interconnected in subtle ways. Alexa Bliss only won the SD Women’s Championship by throwing Becky Lynch through a table back at TLC, yet she walks around like she went three rounds with Ronda Rousey and won. Her ego is so inflated to the point of delusion that she refused to take Naomi seriously, and ate a mouthful of day-glo buttcheek for her hubris. Maybe now she’ll realize it’s not enough to let her bulldog mouth overload her puppydog ass. Her mentor Mickie James resents Becky Lynch for helping usher in a so-called “Women’s Revolution” in WWE, believing herself superior to the new generation of female superstars even to this day. But as much as James would never admit it, perhaps there’s some truth to the idea that she’s past her prime and Becky Lynch is just a superior competitor regardless of time and place. Alexa Bliss and Mickie James are great at playing dominant, but their enabling of one another only serves to make them complacent. After a pair of embarrassing losses, these two are desperate. And considering their affinity for bending the rules to win, that makes these two a huge danger to the rest of the SmackDown Women’s division.

Natalya, meanwhile, is a dick. And far be it from me to sexualize an athlete when the quality of her work is what counts, but I have gone on record as saying that I would suck a fart from Nikki Bella’s ass and hold it in like a bong hit. Sad, lonely weirdos like your truly are the reason Natalya has snapped and gone after her former friend. There’s no shutting Nattie up until Nikki Bella proves once and for all that she’s not only a pretty face, but also a master of her craft. With the inconclusive finish to their match, we should be getting plenty more of the Queen of Hearts versus The Fearless One.

Tag Team Turmoil

A little tag team 101: tag team turmoil is an elimination style match where two teams kick things off and as one team is eliminated, another shows up to take its place. Tonight, collegiate meathead SmackDown Tag Team Champions American Alpha emerged victorious, retaining their tag team gold by last eliminating ancient Egyptian Tim Burton cosplay enthusiasts, The Ascension. Unlike the women’s division, the tag team division isn’t exactly brimming with exciting feuds and stories at the moment. The new heel Usos have adopted some pretty pronounced pimp limps and a bad attitude to boot, Heath Slater and Rhyno continue to be inexplicably popular with live crowds, and for those who looked at The Village People and said, “no, not quite gay enough,” there’s the Fashion Po Po (Tyler Breeze and Fandango). There are plenty of bad guys of varying degrees of threatening walking around, yet nobody’s been able to break out and challenge American Alpha in any meaningful way. As a result, people don’t seem to give a shit about the SD Tag Team Championship or the two extremely entertaining, challenging men who hold it. So, somebody’s got to step up. Maybe the Usos should pull a Tonya Harding and club Chad Gable’s knee in the parking lot. Or perhaps the hilariously anachronistic Vaudevillains can tie Jason Jordan to train tracks and laugh as they twirl their mustaches in a manner most menacing. But for fuck’s sake, somebody step up and give American Alpha a run for their money. DOESN’T ANYBODY WANT THOSE BEAUTIFUL BLUE LEATHER BELTS?!?

…And All the Rest

*I could give Luke Harper and Randy Orton several paragraphs in praise of their match and storyline, but I run the risk of repeating my sentiments from the opening. Harper hates Orton with a passion. Like Cady Heron before him, The Viper worked his way into the inner circle and found himself cozied right up to Bray Wyatt’s Regina George. And simply what this means is, none for Gretchen Weiners Luke Harper, and the match reflected this betrayal and desperation. Harper came up short, but the match was straight fire, the story feels far from over (especially with Bray vs. Randy at ‘Mania looming) and it’s clear that despite being a bushy-bearded weirdo who wears the same piss-soaked wife beater to every match, Luke Harper is a star in the making. Go watch this match.

*Dolph Ziggler was supposed to have a 2-on-1 handicap match versus Apollo Crews and Kalisto. Instead, he took Kalisto out of commission and focused on Crews, only for Kalisto to reappear and help Crews get the win over Ziggler. Then, Ziggler proceeded to hobble Crews with a steel chair an sulk off to the back, presumably to masturbate to old Motley Crue music videos. Worst of all, the Arizona crowd thought this was the feel-good event of the season. Put another way:

wwe, elimination chamber, wrestling, dolph ziggler, apollo crews, kalisto, arizona

*Gronk’s perpetually hyped broski, Mojo Rawley, beat Curt Hawkins in a preshow match. That…that’s it. That’s all I have to say. It was a thing that happened and we should try to forget about it.

That’s the show, everybody! I had a good time, even if every little thing wasn’t a technical masterpiece or a triumph of storytelling. And I’m sure as shit glad I didn’t watch The Walking Dead or the Grammy’s over this. I know I said I wouldn’t be grading PPVs, but fuck it! I give WWE Elimination Chamber three and a half Nikki Bella booties! Tune in next time when I review the Raw exclusive PPV, Fastlane on Sunday, March 5th.

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