Ah, good ole’ Elimination Chamber, how I do often find myself enjoying the brutality you create. However, let’s find out how the women’s matches at this PPV have fared over the few years this PPV has been around.
LayCool (Michelle McCool & Layla) vs. Maryse & Gail KimElimination Chamber 2010
Initially, this match was supposed to be the finals of the Divas Championship tournament, which became vacant after Melina dropped the title due to injury. Maryse and Gail Kim were supposed to face off in a singles match. However, Vickie Guerrero has other plans. She instead informs the two women that because of the RAW Divas comments about the SmackDown Divas they will instead have to team together to face LayCool. So, two women who seem to dislike each other, going up against a team that practically ran the division during their time together. I’ll take it. Gail and Layla start out the match, Layla has incredible pace while going for a pin, but it only gets one. Gail was always much better in TNA to me, I don’t know why I never really enjoyed her during her time with WWE, but she works pretty well in this match. It’s quite funny that she is the only one still currently wrestling, although she’s injured at the time of writing this. She’s perched up on the top rope and Michelle pretty much kicks her head off her shoulders, LayCool were so great together, I miss them. Michelle tags into the match while Maryse looks as if she doesn’t care at all about what happens to Gail, despite them being partners. Gail gets a little bit of separation from Michelle and tries to tag in Maryse, but she has other ideas and shoves Gail in the face back towards Michelle and right into a big boot. One faithbreaker later and that’s the end of the match. I mean, what did they expect pairing a heel Maryse with face Gail Kim? Maryse’s entire character was her being in love with herself, so her evading the tag worked well. Watching Layla and Michelle celebrate after the match as if they had conquered the world was honestly hilarious. Gail also gets a french kiss DDT from Maryse to further the point that she does not care about her at all. This was way too short lasting only three and a half minutes, but it’s good for what it is, LayCool being annoying yet funny, Gail being the face you feel sorry for and Maryse as the heel who only cares about herself.
Elimination Chamber 2011 did not feature a women’s match.
WWE Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix (c) vs. Tamina SnukaElimination Chamber 2012
I have no idea why this match took place, I don’t recall there being any storyline between Beth and Tamina, but I may be wrong. Tamina is the face here, which is different I suppose, she’s also not a bodyguard, insert a shocked face here. Beth tells Tamina to get out of her ring once the bell sounds, but Tamina is having none of it. If you listen very carefully, you can hear Beth call her coconut head, and I honestly almost spat out my water from laughing. She starts to tap on Tamina’s head, and she’s quickly chopped, big mistake Beth. The pace quickens slightly which again managed to shock me. Usually, Tamina works very slow. Beth makes the silly mistake of attempting to headbutt Tamina; she probably lost brain cells from doing so. The action moves to the outside as Beth pushes Tamina off the second rope as she’s attempting the splash, she lands awkwardly on the side of her back, it doesn’t look pretty. Beth starts to hammer away on Tamina and then quickly runs back into the ring to pose like Tamina and her father. Trying for the count out win fails as Tamina makes it back into the ring by eight. This is such a scrappy match and feels more like a fight, a lot of strikes are used instead of their wrestling ability. After a few holds, Tamina finally manages to get in some offense with a Samoan drop, but Beth manages to stop the splash yet again, this time without the hard fall to the outside, but with a suplex from the middle rope. Tamina again starts to build some momentum, and after a superkick, she tries for the splash for the third time and lands it. However, Beth kicks out at two. Tamina tries for it again, hoping to put Beth away for good, but she smartly rolls out of the ring. Tamina drags her back into the ring, but it ends up being a mistake as all it takes is one Glam Slam, and the match is over. This was FAR better than I expected, I usually don’t enjoy Tamina matches as she tends to work way too slow for me to get into her matches. This one had pace, it had great back and forth, they got time to work and it really helped to build Phoenix as a truly dominant force. It just worked.
WWE Divas Championship: Kaitlyn (c) vs. Tamina SnukaElimination Chamber 2013
Tamina has a pretty good run so far at Elimination Chamber, but I don’t have faith in this match like I did the previous one. Kaitlyn was no Beth Phoenix, so I’m fairly sure she’s not able to pull out something decent here, but we’ll see. Apparently, this match is only happening because Tamina believes she worked hard to get where she is, whereas Kaitlyn did not, so she’s going to crush her. Wonderful. Kaitlyn pretty much dominates the early going of the match with Tamina using zero offense whatsoever. The match moves to outside the ring, and for some reason, we’re shown a backstage shot of the other Divas watching the match. Tamina finally does something as she bounces Kaitlyn’s head off the ring post. There’s a weird count from the referee as he very clearly slows down after getting to a count of two to give Kaitlyn enough time to kick out, it looked awful. After a Samoan drop, Tamina goes for the Splash, but Kaitlyn rolls out of the way and spears her for the win. I can’t say I enjoyed this, unfortunately, from the referee messing up, to Kaitlyn’s spear looking like it couldn’t hurt a fly and the lack of time they had, this was pretty bad. I probably won’t be watching this again anytime soon.
WWE Divas Championship: AJ Lee (c) vs. CameronElimination Chamber 2014
You can probably expect to see this match pop up on a Making our Eyes Peel in the future because by god is it terrible. I’m not nor have I ever been a fan of AJ Lee, but even I felt sorry for her having to be a part of this. Cameron is brutal to watch; I don’t understand how she managed to last as long as she did with the company. I completely skipped the AJ promo from before the match, but I’m gonna attempt to guess what she said, “I’ve been Divas Champion for *insert amount of days*, this division isn’t worthy of me, I’m the best, and everyone else sucks.” I will give AJ this; she had the perfect reaction to Cameron coming out for this match, she laughed at her. Watching AJ having to put herself into position so Cameron could pin her because she forgot to hit her is a highlight, she honestly did try to carry Cameron to a good match, and it still turned out bad. AJ’s overselling does work well to counterbalance the lack of selling from Cameron, but that isn’t a compliment. The crowd do not care about this match whatsoever. The only good part about this match doesn’t even involve the two competitors in it, Tamina hits a superkick on AJ that looks as if it knocked her head off her shoulders. Cameron goes for the pin, but Tamina moves AJ’s leg to underneath the bottom rope, Cameron tries to go after Tamina, bad move, but she’s quickly flattened. The referee really should have already handed the DQ win to AJ after Tamina hit her with that superkick, but instead, it’s awarded to Cameron. So no Divas Championship for her, but she did get a win. I hated this when I first watched it, I still hate it now, and that’s not going to change. Watching paint dry would have been more entertaining.
WWE Divas Championship: Nikki Bella (c) vs. Paige vs. NaomiElimination Chamber 2015
So, the story here is Naomi turned heel after attacking Paige who won a battle royal for a shot at the title. Nikki was on her longest-reigning Divas Championship tour, and thus this match was made. The three women gather around each other and Naomi is forced out of the ring, Nikki is whipped into the ropes, and I’m fairly certain Naomi was supposed to grab her legs, but she completely misses and has to try again, she then throws Nikki into the announce table. Ouch. She then goes for a crossbody onto Paige but misses. Either Paige moved too quickly or Naomi didn’t dive quick enough because she was nowhere near her when she jumped. So, we’re at a count of two for things that have gone wrong. I did realize during this that I miss watching Paige wrestle, she may have been extremely bland at the time but she does bring something different to the division. A fall-away slam on Naomi only gets Paige a two count as Nikki is kept on the outside of the ring. Smart strategy. It doesn’t last long as she bounces Paige’s head off her knee, she throws Paige into the corner where Naomi is already stood and hits a clothesline on both of them, the crowd cheered for it then went back to silence. Naomi tries to roll Nikki up but only gets a two, she then pins Paige but again, can’t get the win. This match includes possibly one of the most hilarious botches ever. Nikki dives off the second rope for a kick, Naomi ducks it and I guess it was supposed to hit Paige, but she was out of position, so instead, she dives towards the kick to be hit and still manages to miss. You can very clearly hear one of the women say “f**k” right after, Naomi picks Nikki up and throws her into the ring post and to the outside, which looked like a really bad landing, especially when you realize she was probably already hurt at this point with her neck. Naomi places Paige on the top rope, but Nikki makes a comeback just in time to drag them both off the top, she covers both women separately but only gets a two. As Nikki goes for the Rack Attack on Paige, Naomi hits the Rear View but Paige breaks up the pin and throws her out of the ring. Paige locks Nikki in the scorpion crosslock, but Naomi kicks her in the side of the head to stop her from getting the submission win. If you thought the botches were over, you’re wrong. I don’t know what exactly Naomi was attempting, but Paige lands right on her neck, it’s messy and looks extremely painful, I don’t even understand how she managed to kick out. The Rack Attack on Naomi puts an end to this brutal match finally. These three really did not have any chemistry whatsoever in this match, everything was done either late or not done correctly. This is probably my least favorite match from this PPV solely because of how easy it could have been for one of them to be seriously hurt. It’s not good.
Mickie James vs. Becky LynchElimination Chamber 2017
The feud between Becky Lynch and Mickie James is something that has kept me very interested in the SmackDown women’s division. Mickie is one of the best WWE have ever hired, while Becky is the best of the current crop of women from both brands in my opinion. It’s somewhat surreal to see them facing off, as I never expected Mickie to return at all. I think the thing I most enjoyed from this match was watching the “crazy” characteristics of Mickie slowly start to creep into the match. We also get to see Becky look rather out of her element whilst her arm is targeted, as usually she’s the one doing limb damage. There’s a great moment towards the middle of the match where both become incredibly frustrated that they haven’t been able to gain the upper hand after some two counts. There was a lack of pace at one point, something I’m used to seeing in Becky matches which made me feel like this was something very different to what you’d usually expect. After an attempt at the dis-arm-her, Mickie rolled Becky up only for Becky to reverse it into a pin of her own for the win. I think these two could have done with some extra time to allow the idea that Mickie did damage to Becky’s arm fully sink in. It’s almost like I can see the kind of match they were trying to go for, it just didn’t quite reach where it needed to go to be great. Hopefully, these two get the chance to face off again in the future so they can improve on this encounter.
Nikki Bella vs. NatalyaElimination Chamber 2017
We go from one women’s feud that has had a bunch of interesting elements to it, to one that is a snooze fest. The attacker storyline started out great, the back and forth of Nikki and Carmella helped the latter improve, the initial heel turn of Natalya even looked like it was going to be good. That is until she started blaming her shortcomings on Nikki. SmackDown’s writing team get a lot of praise nowadays, but this should have been done a lot better. There’s a lot of shouting from Natalya throughout, which got more effort than the wrestling on display. There was a real lack of any form of pace whatsoever, which wasn’t helped by the fact that these two got a decent amount of time to work a match. Everything about this felt lifeless and dull to me. It really is negative when the post-match attack on Natalya was done better than their entire match. Somehow a head scissors managed to get messed up in the early going, along with a couple of other maneuvers. On top of that, you can clearly hear the two talking to each other, including Natalya telling Nikki to sell and Nikki telling Natalya to “kick her ass”, no seriously, you can hear that at one point while they’re outside the ring. The match ended in a double count-out as neither made it back into the ring after a count of ten. I may be alone in thinking this, but I can’t wait for this feud to officially end, even if it does lead to a feud starting between Nikki and Maryse solely starting because she bumped into her backstage.
SmackDown Women's Championship: Alexa Bliss(c) vs. NaomiElimination Chamber 2017
Alexa and Naomi previously had to face off at No Mercy due to Becky’s injury, and that match was far from good. Here, however, Naomi is the number one contender, and the pair had time to prepare for this. It’s amazing that Alexa doesn’t necessarily have any form of character, yet her unusual reactions during matches or interviews are enough to put her over as a heel. A lot of the wrestling here is pretty smoothly done during the early going with both women pulling out maneuvers that either we don’t see them use often or have never seen. I have seen the discussion about the rear view being a “dumb” move ever since Naomi first started using it, but what I will say is that I think it needs to be more opponent appropriate. If she is facing someone smaller like Alexa, it doesn’t quite land correctly and maybe therefore should only be used on opponents who can make it at least look slightly effective. The tease of Twisted Bliss the first time was great, Naomi kicked her in the head and avoided it. To make this even better, Naomi managed to dodge the second one by putting her knees up. It’s something not used very often in WWE but unpredictability is amazing, and that little sequence only added to the eventual finish. Naomi hit a split-legged moonsault, which Bliss was unfortunately out of position for, but she picked up the win. Naomi is the new SmackDown women’s champion. That last sentence is something I never thought I’d be writing, but it feels good. Naomi has had one of the weirdest career trajectories of the women in the last few years. Every time she gets an opportunity to prosper or whenever she got close to winning the title, something would come along to scupper that chance away. It was a great moment not just for her, but the crowd in attendance who gave her the “you deserve it” chants.
Elimination Chamber is a weird and wonderful PPV that seems to have been placed under a curse, with some of the women’s matches not living up to the hype. But, it did give us one of the most unpredictable finishes to a match in recent memory for the women. Who knows what’s in store next year, let’s just hope that curse is lifted by then.