Elimination Chamber 2021 closed with a surprise: The Miz cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and won the WWE Championship off Drew McIntyre. It capped off a strong pay-per-view, which opened with a fantastic Elimination Chamber match won by Daniel Bryan. In what would become a theme of the show, Bryan was immediatey defeated by Universal Champion Roman Reigns in the bout that followed.
Keep reading for a full recap of Elimination Chamber.
The Miz cashes in, becomes WWE Champion
Bobby Lashley ambushed Drew McIntyre after the Chamber, destroying him outside the ring and then putting him in the Hurt Lock. Miz’s music played and he ran into the ring, officially cashing in his Money in the Bank contract.
The bell rings. Miz got a two count following a DDT, but got the win following a Skull Crushing Finale. The show goes off the air as The Miz celebrates his championship win.
Drew McIntyre retains WWE Championship
In the main event of the show, Drew McIntyre retained his WWE Championship by winning the Elimination Chamber match. McIntyre last eliminated AJ Styles to retain his championship.
The match built up to a showdown between Sheamus and McIntyre, with Sheamus being the final entrant in the match. Sheamus eliminated Kofi Kingston with a Brogue Kick, and McIntyre eliminated Jeff Hardy with a Claymore Kick, so it looked like the two would clear house and battle to close the bout. That wasn’t to be, as Sheamus was pinned by AJ Styles following a Phenomenal Forearm.
Randy Orton was the first to be eliminated, which also came as a surprise. Kofi Kingston entered the Chamber fourth and quickly caught Orton with a creative roll up. Following his pin, Orton RKO’d Kingston and Hardy before leaving. AJ Styles, who had yet to officially enter, took advantage by instructing Omos to break his Chamber door. Omos did, and AJ ran from the outside and walked through the Chamber door and unsuccessfully tried to pin Kingston and Hardy. Note that this absolutely doesn’t make sense, since AJ isn’t a legal man until his Chamber door unlocks. Alas.
The bout was good, but far more disjointed than the SmackDown opener. This is especially true during the period in which there were five men still active — AJ, McIntyre, Sheamus, Kingston and Hardy — where there was often action going on in multiple areas. But it improved after Hardy and Kingston were eliminated, when AJ, Sheamus and McIntyre put on a strong closing section.
Rating: 3.5 stars.
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax retain tag titles
Nia Jax pinned Sasha Banks with a Samoan Drop after a bizarre distraction thanks to Reginald, Carmella’s sommelier.
The bout started slow, with Nia Jax battling both Banks and Bianca Belair. Things picked up once Baszler tagged in, and we eventually got some solid action courtesy of Baszler and Banks’ excellent counter wrestling. The finish came as Jax and Banks were the legal women. Reginald came to the ring with fancy champagne and a glass, and rolled the champagne into the ring as he told Banks to break it over Jax. Sasha declined, and was struck by Jax, Samoan Dropped and then pinned.
The distraction was contrived, Banks looked silly and Jax’s execution was sloppy.
Rating: 2 stars. It seems highly likely that Banks will face Belair at WrestleMania, so this match suffered from the knowledge that Jax and Baszler were sure to retain. It was further handicapped by a bad finish and Jax, who is generally not particularly fun to watch. Shayna Baszler absolutely rules, though, and was the highlight of the match.
Riddle wins United States Championship
John Morrison replaced Kieth Lee in this United States Triple Threat match, which also featured Riddle and champion Bobby Lashley. Riddle won the fun bout by pinning Morrison.
It began with Lashley being a monster, handily destroying both Riddle and Morrison. Riddle and Morrison then decide to team up to take down the beast. At first not even this works, but eventually they get the better of Lashley and incapacitate him out the outside with some tandem offense.
Inside the ring, we get some great wrestling between Riddle and Morrison. Morrison is tragically underutilized. Eventually, of course, Lashley returns to the ring. Riddle rocks him with a ripchord V-Trigger, but Lashley ends up cleaning house. Morrison takes MVP’s crutches and tries to swing at Lashley, but Lashley avoids it and puts Morrison in the Hurt Lock. Riddle takes the crutch and smashes Lashley in the back — the announcers hastily tell us it’s No Disqualifications — causing Lashley to retreat and regroup outside.
Riddle then planted Morrison with his BroDerrick tombstone slam for the win. He immediately ran away from Lashley, a true fighting champion.
Rating: 3.5 stars. A fun match with three talented guys. It’s silly seeing Riddle, an alleged babyface and real-life tough guy, made to look so weak compared to Lashley. But it was nice to see Morrison’s talents on show.
Roman Reigns defeats Daniel Bryan
This Universal Championship match was short but sweet. Bryan, stumbling and barely able to walk, tells the referee to ring the bell. Roman immediately goes for a spear, but he’s countered as Bryan locks in the Yes Lock. Announcer Michael Cole is losing his mind, screaming that Bryan is going to pull off a miracle. Fantastic moment.
It wasn’t to be though, as Reigns powered out and barraged Bryan with mounted punches. He then locked on a Guillotine and chokes out Bryan for the win.
Just like Bryan had no opportunity, neither did Reigns. He was speared by Edge, who announced he’d face Reigns at WrestleMania.
Daniel Bryan wins SmackDown Elimination Chamber
The main show opened with the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match. It featured Cesaro, Jey Uso, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Corbin and its eventual winner, Daniel Bryan. Bryan started the match with Cesaro and, after about 50 excellent minutes, last eliminated Jey Uso to win the bout.
After five minutes of rock solid wrestling between Bryan and Cesaro, Corbin was the third to enter the Chamber. He was a wrecking machine, taking down both and demolishing Bryan’s knee. Corbin would ultimately be the first to leave the Chamber however, being tapped out by Cesaro’s sharpshooter.
Zayn was in fourth, with Owens and finally Uso following. A high spot came as Zayn scaled the Chamber, and was followed by Cesaro. Cesaro, holding himself up with the links at the top of the Chamber, kicked Zayn off to the Chamber floor. Zayn was the second to be elimianted, when Owens stunned and pinned him.
Following Zayn’s elimination, Uso trapped Owens’ arm in the Chamber door and blitzed him with superkicks. He then pinned him after a top-rope splash.
After Cesaro took Uso out on the outside, we got excellent back-and-forth action between Cesaro and Bryan. Just as it looked like Cesaro was going to eliminate Bryan — amid a single-leg Giant Swing on Bryan’s injured leg — he was clocked with a superkick by Uso. Uso then pinned Cesaro with a top-rope splash.
That left Uso and Bryan. Uso promptly hit a splash on Bryan for a two. He then scaled the top of a Chamber pod and attempted a giant splash, but Bryan got his knees up, then hit Uso with the running knee for a pin, winning his third Chamber match.
The good news? Bryan wins a shot against Roman Reigns’ Universal Championship. The bad news? Roman Reigns comes out immediately to start that match. No rest for Bryan.
Rating: 4.5 stars. Excellent stuff.
Kickoff Show results
John Morrison defeated Ricochet, Elias and Ali to win a spot in the triple-threat match United States Championship on the main show. Bobby Lashley will now defend his US title against Morrison and Riddle.
Morrison won the match by rolling up Ali while Ali was distracted by his Retribution faction powerbombing Ricochet on the outside.