#1 Contender’s Elimination Chamber Match: Kevin Owens vs. Jey Uso vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro vs. King Baron Corbin
We go to the Elimination Chamber as Greg Hamilton goes over the rules for this match. The winner will become the new #1 contender for a shot at WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns right after. The music hits and out comes Kevin Owens first to a big pop. Owens stops and then heads into the Chamber structure, taking it all in. Owens walks around the ring and then checks the walls. Owens enters a pod and the referee locks him in. Out next comes Sami Zayn to boos. His documentary film crew is with him. Owens talks trash to Sami and taunts him. Sami enters his pod and he’s locked in as the film crew keeps rolling from ringside. The referee orders the film crew to the backstage area and Sami isn’t happy. Out next comes King Baron Corbin. Corbin is also locked into a pod. Jey Uso is out next. Uso enters and taunts Owens at his pod. Owens headbutts the pod several times. Uso finally enters his pod and he’s locked in. Daniel Bryan and Cesaro will start the match. We go to a video package for the Chamber match.
Cesaro makes his way out next. He enters the Chamber and stares everyone down. The music hits and out comes Daniel Bryan last as fans do the “yes!” chant. The bell rings and they go at it. Cesaro with two early pin attempts. Cesaro catches Bryan in mid-air with a big backbreaker for another 2 count. Back and forth now. Bryan sends Cesaro out to the steel platform with a backdrop. Cesaro barely landed on his feet and hit the steel wall. Bryan follows up with a knee from the top to the steel. Bryan brings it back in and hits a missile dropkick from the top for a 2 count.
Bryan with kicks in the corner. Bryan takes Cesaro to the top but Cesaro counters. They tangle and Bryan hits the big Frankensteiner anyway. Cesaro turns Bryan inside out with a huge clothesline. Bryan kicks out at 2. Cesaro drops an elbow on the knee and stomps the knee now. Cesaro grounds Bryan by his knee now. Bryan grabs the arm for an armbar. Cesaro gets out and powers up but Bryan turns that into another armbar takedown. Cesaro turns that into a 2 count and they break now. Bryan with an uppercut and kick to the knee. Cesaro comes back and uppercuts Bryan to the mat.
Cesaro with another big uppercut. Cesaro with a long vertical suplex now. The timer counts down and the next man let into the match from his pod is Corbin. Cesaro meets him on the steel but Corbin rams him into a pod, then beats him down against the steel. Bryan joins them but Corbin launches him into the chain wall. Corbin smears Bryan’s face into the steel now.
Corbin launches Cesaro back into the ring. Corbin misses Bryan in the corner and Bryan decks Cesaro, then Corbin. Cesaro comes back and hits his Uppercut Train on both competitors. Corbin catches Cesaro with a Deep Six. Corbin with Deep Six to Bryan but he kicks out just in time. Corbin with a 2 count on Cesaro. Corbin decks Bryan with an elbow to the head, then sends him to the steel platform. Corbin lifts Bryan and runs his knee into the edge of Sami’s pod. Corbin taunts Sami and Bryan. Cesaro comes out but Corbin rams him back into Sami’s pod. Corbin lifts Bryan again and runs his knee into the edge of another pod. Corbin bends Bryan’s knee around the ring post now as fans boo. Bryan kicks back but Corbin stomps him and keeps working on the knee, right in front of Jey’s pod as they talk trash.
Corbin goes back over and sends Cesaro into the steel, then beats him down. Corbin grabs Bryan in the ring now, nailing a back suplex for a close 2 count. Corbin shows some frustration now. Cesaro tries to fight back but Corbin drops him on the steel again. Corbin comes back in and turns Bryan upside down in a Tree of Woe. The timer starts up and Sami is the next man let out of his pod. Corbin is waiting so Sami tries to shut his door to stay in the pod. Bryan runs over and nails a flying knee on Corbin from behind, against Sami’s pod. Sami yells at Corbin while he’s down. Cesaro opens the other side of Sami’s pod and unloads on him inside of the pod.
Cesaro beats Sami out of the pod and unloads with big uppercuts. Cesaro beats Sami around the steel now. Sami sends him into Jey’s pod. Bryan with Yes Kicks to Sami on the steel now. Bryan sends Sami face-first into the steel wall a few times. Corbin comes over and drops Bryan with a stiff shot to the jaw. Corbin knocks Bryan back into the ring. Sami sends Corbin into a pod. Sami rolls back into the ring and works Bryan over while he’s down. Sami follows Bryan to the steel and charges with a Helluva Kick but Bryan moves and Sami kicks Owens’ pod, hurting his leg.
Corbin with a superplex to Bryan off the top rope. Bryan rolls away and Corbin doesn’t make the tag. Sami with a big tornado DDT to Cesaro for a close 2 count. Sami stomps away on Corbin and Bryan while they’re down. Sami runs around but Cesaro picks him up, allowing Sami to climb on top of Jey’s pod. Cesaro climbs after him but Sami kicks his hand, forcing him back down to the steel. Cesaro is on top of Jey’s pod now, brawling with Sami. Sami tries to retreat but Cesaro uppercuts him a few times. Sami hangs on but gets uppercut again. Sami rocks Cesaro with a cheap shot. Sami climbs away using the steel wall. Cesaro follows him. Cesaro slams Sami’s face into the steel several times. Sami hangs with one arm now. Cesaro hangs from the top of the Chamber and drives Sami down to the steel with a kick. Cesaro does pull-ups now.
Cesaro drops but falls into Corbin’s arms. Corbin rams Cesaro into the steel wall and then slams him over the top turnbuckle. Corbin with a clothesline. Corbin comes in the ring and chokeslams Bryan. Corbin unloads with forearms to Cesaro now. Cesaro leaps for the corkscrew uppercut but Corbin catches him. They tangle and Corbin gets sent into the ring post in the corner. Cesaro with the big corkscrew uppercut from the middle turnbuckle. Cesaro with the Cesaro Swing to Corbin now.
Cesaro goes right into the Sharpshooter and Corbin taps out. Corbin has been eliminated. The timer counts down and the next man let into the match is Owens.
Sami tries to talk Owens into teaming up with him for old times sake but Owens rams him into the pods a few times. Owens fights Bryan now and hits a big German suplex. Cesaro uppercuts Owens. Owens fights back as they brawl in the middle of the ring. Owens with an enziguri to drop Cesaro. Bryan gets on Owens’ back with a Sleeper now. Owens falls back and slams Bryan to the mat. Owens covers Cesaro for 2, then Bryan for a 2 count. Owens chops away while Sami is on the top now. Owens climbs up for a superplex but Sami fights back. Sami bites Owens and keeps unloading with strikes, sending Owens to the mat. Sami flies but misses. Owens superkicks him. Owens is the only one standing now as the others are down in corners. Owens with a Cannonball to Cesaro, then one to Bryan, then a Cannonball to Sami.
Sami comes and hits a big suplex on Owens. Cesaro with a huge uppercut to Sami. Bryan with a big running knee to Cesaro. Owens with a Pop-Up Powerbomb to Bryan. All four Superstars are down now. Owens gets up first. Sami is on his knees pleading with Owens. Owens with a nasty neckbreaker over his knee for a 2 count. Owens grabs Bryan for another big Fisherman’s buster neckbreaker over the knee. Bryan kicks out at 2. Owens grabs Cesaro on his shoulders but he fights free. The timer goes off and Jey is the last man let into the match.
Owens puts Cesaro down and meets Uso for a fight. Owens gets the upperhand and sends Uso back into the steel wall. Owens drags Uso’s face into the steel wall while taunting him. Owens runs Uso into a pod now. Owens launches Uso inside of a pod now, knocking the back wall of it out. Owens chokes Uso with his boot in the pod. Cesaro is fighting Bryan on the platform now. Sami attacks Owens and Uso. Cesaro slams Sami into the steel wall. Bryan and Uso trade strikes. Owens climbs to the top of a pod and hits a huge moonsault, taking the other 4 Superstars down on the platform.
Owens with a Stunner to Bryan, then a Stunner to Cesaro. Sami misses a Helluva Kick and Owens drops him with a Stunner for the pin. Sami has been eliminated.
Uso attacks Owens and slams the Chamber door shut on his arm after Sami leaves. Owens screams out in pain as his arm is trapped. Uso unloads with superkicks while he’s trapped. Officials finally free Owens but Uso superkicks him to the mat again. Uso goes to the top and hits a big Frogsplash, covering Owens for the pin. Owens has been eliminated.
Uso goes for Bryan’s knee now. Uso charges for Cesaro but Cesaro uppercuts him in mid-air. Cesaro goes to the top rope for a flying elbow but Uso kicks out just in time. Cesaro flies over the top with another big shot to keep Uso down. Cesaro swings Uso into the steel wall a few times. Bryan leaps from the top but Cesaro catches him in mid-air, then slams him back over the top rope into the ring. Cesaro goes to the top but Bryan kicks him in the gut on the way down. Bryan clutches his knee but tries to hulk up now. Bryan and Cesaro fight up from their knees with uppercuts. Cesaro goes for the big uppercut in mid-air but Bryan backslides him. He kicks out but Bryan kicks him in the head for a close 2 count.
Bryan stomps Cesaro while he’s down. Bryan holds Cesaro’s arms and stomps away now. Bryan waits in the corner and gets the “yes!” chant going. He charges but Cesaro counters. Bryan rolls through for a 2 count. Bryan with a kick to the side of the face to put Cesaro down. Bryan goes to the top Cesaro runs and uppercuts him. Cesaro with another big uppercut, and another as he unloads now. Cesaro climbs up and gets Bryan on his shoulders. Cesaro with the super Gutbuster from the top. Cesaro goes right into the Cesaro Swing on Bryan but Uso nails a huge superkick out of nowhere, knocking them both down. Uso with a top rope Frogsplash on Cesaro for the pin. Cesaro has been eliminated.
Uso goes up and hits the Frogsplash on Bryan but he kicks out. Uso can’t believe it. Uso climbs to the top of a pod now. Uso leaps for the Frogsplash but Bryan gets his knees up and Uso lands hard. Bryan with a running knee to Uso for the pin to win the match.
Winner and New #1 Contender to the WWE Universal Title: Daniel Bryan
– Kayla is backstage with Cesaro now. She brings up Seth Rollins’ comments from earlier. Cesaro wasn’t patronizing Rollins last week, he was respecting him and just like everyone else he was hoping the old Rollins came back. He’s known for years about Rollins’ skills and accomplishments, and everyone knew he had the chance to come back and make an impact but instead he came back as the same smug, condescending SOB that he was before. That’s why everyone walked away from him last week. Cesaro hasn’t forgotten about what Rollins did but now he needs to focus, first on tonight’s six-man match, then winning the Elimination Chamber, and then going on to win the Universal Title from Roman Reigns. Edge walks up. He doesn’t know what has gotten into Cesaro lately but he admires the grit and says not many people here still have it. Cesaro thanks him. Cesaro mentions after he wins at the pay-per-view, he will see Edge at WrestleMania. Cesaro walks off as Edge watches.
– Kevin Owens interrupts Cesaro and Daniel Bryan in the back, asking if they want to talk strategy. Bryan says they were discussing what to do if they get hit with Stunners. Cesaro says Owens would never turn on them but they sarcastically talk about how Owens has turned in the past. Owens gets it. He says last week he interrupted a big fight and decided to strike first when he saw both of them coming for him. Owens says they don’t have to worry about a Stunner tonight because they’re on the same team and he really wants to win tonight, but on Sunday… they do have to worry about several Stunners. Owens walks off and Cesaro says at least he’s honest.
Sami Zayn, King Baron Corbin and Jey Uso vs. Cesaro, Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens
We go back to the ring for tonight’s main event as Sami Zayn and his film crew are out first. King Baron Corbin is out next. Jey Uso is out last for their team. WWE Hall of Famer Edge comes out next to join the announcers for commentary. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and announced for Talking Smack tomorrow is Reginald, Jey Uso and Apollo Crews. Kayla Braxton and Paul Heyman will host. We go back to the ring and out first comes Daniel Bryan for his team. Cesaro is out next, followed by Kevin Owens. Bryan starts off with Uso and they go to the corner. Uso unloads but backs off. Bryan brings him back to the corner for kicks. Bryan tags in Cesaro and they hit a big double team slam.
Uso scrambles to his corner and tags in Corbin as Cesaro waits to fight. Corbin wants none of Cesaro and in comes Sami off the tag. Cesaro grabs Sami and holds him so Bryan can come in with a kick or two. Bryan works Sami around the ring now. Sami counters and levels Bryan in the middle of the ring. Sami beats Bryan around with stiff knees to the gut. Corbin tags in and drops Bryan with a right hand. Corbin uses the middle rope on Bryan as the referee counts and fans boo. Corbin beats Bryan down in the heels’ corner now.
Sami comes back in and has words with Corbin. Bryan takes advantage and tags in Cesaro. Cesaro runs wild on his opponents, sending the other two to the floor and unloading on Sami. Cesaro goes from corner to corner with big running uppercuts on Sami. Sami rolls to the floor for a breather as fans pop for Cesaro. Sami, Corbin and Uso argue at ringside now. Corbin rolls Sami into the ring, where Cesaro is waiting to deliver a Cesaro Swing. Cesaro then catapults Sami into the corner, where Corbin is tagged in. Cesaro immediately grabs Corbin for the Swing. Corbin stops it but Cesaro stomps and starts with the Swing again as we go to commercial break.
Back from the break and Cesaro is swinging Corbin. Uso ends up coming in and attacking Cesaro. Uso pulls Cesaro to the floor and launches him over the announce table as fans boo and the referee counts. Edge watches as Uso brings Cesaro back in and dropkicks him in the corner.
Paul Heyman is also on commentary now. Sami, Corbin and Uso triple team Cesaro in the corner. Corbin with a back suplex to Cesaro. Corbin unloads on Cesaro in the corner and has words with the referee, allowing for a quick cheap shot by Sami. Uso tags back in and goes to work on Cesaro. Cesaro blocks a shot and delivers a big uppercut. Uso comes right back and whips Cesaro across the ring into the turnbuckles. Uso keeps control and covers Cesaro for a 2 count. Uso grounds Cesaro with a headlock now.
Uso takes Cesaro back to their corner and in comes Corbin to take over. Corbin misses a big running corner splash. Cesaro with a springboard corkscrew uppercut from the middle rope. Fans pop for Cesaro. Bryan and Sami tag in. Bryan ducks and dropkicks Uso off the apron. Bryan unloads on Sami into the corner now. Bryan keeps control and clotheslines Sami. Bryan with a big corner dropkick to Sami, then Yes Kicks as fans cheer him on. Bryan takes Sami to the top and hits a big hurricanrana for a close 2 count as Uso breaks it up. Owens runs in and superkicks Uso, sending him to the floor.
Owens runs off the apron with a big Cannonball to Uso on the floor. Bryan kicks away at Sami with Yes Kicks but Sami ducks a roundhouse kick. Bryan kicks out at 2. Sami comes right back with the Blue Thunderbomb but Cesaro breaks the pin up. Corbin tosses Cesaro to the floor. Owens drops Corbin, who drops Cesaro at ringside. Sami goes to the top but Bryan cuts him off and climbs up for a super double underhook suplex from the top. Bryan then rolls into the Yes Lock in the middle of the ring. Sami taps out.
Winners: Daniel Bryan, Cesaro and Kevin Owens
– After the match, the music hits as Bryan stands tall and gets the “yes!” chant going again. We see Corbin enter the ring and stand behind Bryan now, stalking him. We go to replays. Bryan continues his celebration until Corbin comes from behind and drops him with End of Days. Owens then runs up and nails a Stunner to Corbin. Sami runs up and hits a big Exploder to Owens. Cesaro runs over and nails the big uppercut to Sami. Cesaro turns around to a superkick from Uso. Edge then hits the ring and delivers a big Spear to Uso for a pop. WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns then appears out of nowhere and takes Edge out with a Spear of his own. Fans boo now as Reigns stands tall over Edge, looking down at him and yelling. Heyman enters the ring and hands the Universal Title to Reigns. Reigns puts the title in Edge’s face to taunt him, and then raises it in the air. Fans chant “you suck!” as Reigns stands tall over Edge. The final SmackDown before WWE Elimination Chamber goes off the air.
Cesaro, who has long been a fan favorite to finally get a world championship match, will get his chance at one inside the Elimination Chamber where he takes on Jey Uso, Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, King Corbin and Sami Zayn on Sunday (7 p.m., WWE Network). The winner gets to face Universal champion Roman Reigns later in the night. Before stepping into the chamber, Cesaro took time for some Q&A with The Post’s wrestling writer Joseph Staszewski.
(Edited for clarity and length)
Q: How are you approaching this opportunity at Elimination Chamber knowing how long fans have and probably you have wanted that world title opportunity?
A: Just two years ago we had “KofiMania”, right. That was kicked off by [the] Chamber as well. As much as I feel every moment of the year is important, this part of the year where it goes into WrestleMania season is overdrive. It’s important to pick up some momentum and it’s also really hard to pick up some momentum. I feel like I’ve managed to do that. I’m extremely excited. I’m also excited for all the people who have been supporting me over the past years. Hopefully, I make them proud.
Q: You mentioned Kofimania. Is that harder to have happen now because there are no fans in the arena?
A: I want to say next to impossible because … it is not impossible but it is very, very hard because I feel the fans are such a big part in what we do and they are such a big part in all the moments we create. Look at Kofimania, look at Becky Lynch, look at Daniel Bryan, Edge coming back at the Rumble. Those are all moments that were made extra special by the fans. Now our challenge is to make moments with the virtual audience and trying to resonate with the fans in different ways.
Q: It felt like you tried to resonate with your ‘Talking Smack’ promo. What was the motivation behind it and what did you want fans to come away with?
A: We need to find different ways to interact with our audience and try to gain some momentum. ‘Talking Smack’ is always a chance to just speak, to just say what you feel. I didn’t go into that ‘Talking Smack’ with a game plan. I didn’t have what I wanted to say written down. I actually didn’t really know what I wanted to say. I just wanted to speak from the heart and that’s what I did. And afterward I was like, “Is that good? Was that alright?” (Laughs) It was kind of one of those and I kind of feel like, no you said this, this. And I’m like, yeah I did and I meant it. It’s like everything I said I meant it. It was kind of like I was in a zone, you know what I mean.
I just wanted the fans to know that I appreciate them. I appreciate all the people out there that work really hard and may not see the appreciation or the results right away. There are a lot of people who do the right thing because you did the right thing, not necessarily because it is rewarded. I wanted all them to know that I appreciate them, especially in the hard year that was last year and continues to be this year, with all the first responders and health workers that just put in countless hours all the people who go through hardships and just try to make ends meet and do that right thing. I just wanted to let them know I appreciate them.
Q: What do you think has kept you from getting that push into a main event title picture all these years?
A: I think there have been a lot of different variables that go into it. Sometimes I feel like the squeaky wheel gets the grease kind of thing. Sometimes something that’s always there and reliable you kind of start to overlook it because you take it for granted. I always try to create as much momentum as I could and do the best with what I was given and am given and I think that’s the important part. Just keep working hard and make the best every single time with the opportunities that you’re given.
If you look at some of the past greats, it all took them a while to come into their own and get to the world champion level. Yes, there are a few people that did it fast. But look at Edge, look at Bret Hart, look at all those guys. They are all with WWE for almost 10 years before they hit their big break.
Q: Was there ever a point where you thought about leaving WWE and trying to go at it a different way?
A: Yeah. So, I’m extremely stubborn. (Laughs). It’s a good and a bad thing obviously, but I really enjoy entertaining people and I really enjoy traveling all over the world and that’s what kept me going. I still believe in hard work paying off and that’s what I wanted to do. Of course, you start to think, OK what are other options or other possibilities. How can improve my standing maybe through some outside ventures or whatever? But in the end, I just figured OK when the right moment comes I’ll be ready and I’ll knock it out of the park.
Q: Corey Graves said of your ‘Talking Smack’ promo on his podcast ‘After the Bell’: “For some reason, Cesaro is the guy that’s not translated to mega-stardom in WWE because that’s not his strong suit. He’s not an entertaining, captivating orator. He’s the world’s best wrestler. Period, point blank. It’s finally gotten to the point where he’s realized that’s all he’s ever going to be: the world’s best wrestler. I don’t say that to diminish it or make it less important. That is who Cesaro is. That is what he brings to the table.” How accurate do you think that is?
A: I looked it more as Corey saying I’m finally playing to my strengths. A lot of people are trying to put on a character when they’re not [that]. To me, right now, I’m just like you know what, screw it. I am who I am and I’m frickin’ proud of it.
I kind of came to the realization that I have my values and I have my beliefs that is right and I just need to be proud of them and present them. Other people who have those same beliefs. They believe in hard work, they believe in integrity and what you say is important. To me, actions carry more weight than words. So you have seen me for the past nine years kill it every single time I get in the ring and then, I’m not going to go and talk about it because you just saw it. There are plenty of people who tell you how awesome you are then you see them and you’re like ehh, actually not that much. Now that’s who I am and I’m proud of it and let’s go. So, yes, Corey.
One of the things I realized over the years is a strength is knowing and acknowledging your weaknesses. I don’t think 10-minute monologues are necessary (for me). Nor do I want to do a 10-minute monologue. If somebody says that’s my biggest fault, fine so be it. I’m still super entertaining. And in a lot of other countries, they have to cut that or translate that because people don’t speak English. I speak the language and I’m really good at that’s universal and that’s what we do in the ring and if he says I’m the best at it that’s a huge compliment from Corey because he watches a lot of wrestling,
Q: You’ve had very few singles opportunities with Roman Reigns. With the level that he’s working on now, is that something as a performer that’s a really enticing opportunity?
A: Yeah. I’ve been working on that level for a long time I feel like. Every time me and Roman step in the ring, there is some great chemistry. To feed off his performance and where I’m at I think that would be great. You just saw what he did with Jey Uso, which is awesome. I think that would be a lot of fun and a lot of good storytelling.
Q: You had an interaction with Seth Rollins last week on SmackDown. Is his character something that fits maybe trying to lure Cesaro into taking a shortcut with someone like him instead of sticking to that hard work?
A: I don’t think I ever picked the easy way, even when it was available because I was too stubborn. I’d rather do it the hard way. I think that’s an interesting possibility. Seth Rollins was someone I wrestled a lot in tag matches with him and Dean Ambrose against me and Sheamus, but I don’t think we’ve had the big singles match. I’ve wrestled him on SmackDown and stuff, but that was five, six years ago. I think that’s an interesting possibility right there.
Q: Is there one of your tag teams you wish had more time together?
A: All of them. But you have to say me and Tyson Kidd because we were only a team for six months to the dot and I think that team had so much potential. We had so much fun, especially with Natalya involved as well. That was a special time in my career.
Q: Do you have a favorite Swing or Swing moment?
A: There are so many (laughs). The first time I did it was with Santino in Toronto. That was special because it was just the first time. I swung the Great Khali, which was insane and special. The Swing I did while Sheamus did the Ten Beats of Bodhran at WrestleMania (35) when we just went on forever and ever. There’s a bunch of Swings, but to me what makes it special is live events or when we tour internationally when people get to see it live and the live reaction. You kind of see it on TV and you’re like, oh they’re just cutting camera angles. But to see it live, it’s just one of those moves that make it fun to perform in front of the crowd.
Q: Do you have a dream match or something you haven’t done yet that’s appealing right now?
A: There are still guys I haven’t wrestled. Think me and A.J. (Styles) never really had a long singles match. Keith Lee, Matt Riddle just came up on Raw. There are so many guys even in NXT I haven’t had long singles matches or a singles program with. Even on SmackDown with the dynamics changing you know like Jey Uso, Roman Reigns or someone like Sami Zayn even Shinsuke I haven’t had a singles match with.
Q: You were someone who was very close to Brodie Lee. How would you describe what it meant to be friends with him to someone who didn’t know him?
A: I once read this quote. Friends are like stars. You may not always see them but they’re always there for you. That’s how it was with him because I’ve probably known him since 2005, which is like a year after I moved to the United State we first met. We were always in contact, we always did indy shows together, we did CHIKARA, we did Ring of Honor together and he came to WWE about a year after me. We started being on the road together and we just had that bond from back in the day and coming from the same upbringing.
When he came down to the Philadelphia area, he would always stay at my place. I kept an extra mattress in my bedroom just to pull out to the living room for him to stay so he had a place to sleep on that wasn’t the couch of the floor back in the day. So I’ve known him forever and it’s still hard to grasp that I’m not going to see him because it’s always like, “I’ll see you again when I see you around” because it’s the wrestling business we see each other again. It’s just hard. We had a similar sense of humor, so my bad jokes made him groan, and he would try to get me with bad jokes. We’d just stir the pot. He was a very good complement (to me) and was a lot of fun to be around.
We get a promo for Seth Rollins’ return to SmackDown tonight. We go back to the ring and the entire locker room starts walking down the ramp to the ring, apparently to show The Architect some respect. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and the entire SmackDown locker room is surrounding the ring like Lumberjacks. The music hits and out comes Seth Rollins making his return to SmackDown. Fans cheer in the ThunderDome crowd as Rollins heads to the ring. This is Rollins’ first appearance on SmackDown since November, and his first appearance since returning in the Royal Rumble Match two weeks ago.
Rollins takes the mic and says it feels good to be back. It just feels right, this is where Rollins belongs. Rollins says a lot has changed since he sacrificed himself at Survivor Series, and he knew it would, but what has changed the most has been a surprise. What has changed the most is him.
Rollins says as most of us know,he recently became a parent for the first time. He says he’s the proud father of a beautiful, perfect baby girl, who has changed his life in ways he never dreamed of. He did not name Becky Lynch. That change has given him a new perception, and that new perception has given him a new vision. Rollins says he looks around the ring and sees some of the most talented individuals in history. He looks at SmackDown and wonders where he fits in, but after a lot of self-reflection the answer became very clear to him… he is the great leader that SmackDown needs to push it into the future and make it greater than it already is, because success and leadership is not about what you can do for me, it’s about what I can do for you.
The SmackDown Superstars have heard enough. They start walking away, some throwing their hands up in the air out of frustration. Rollins continues ranting about how he can lead. He says for a better tomorrow and a better SmackDown, all you have to do is embrace the vision. The boos are getting louder from the crowd now, no more cheers. Rollins looks around at how everyone has left him. Except Cesaro, who is looking skeptical at ringside. Rollins says he knew Cesaro would get it, he knew Cesaro would understand, out of all the people. Cesaro shakes his head and then walks away like the others.
Rollins rushes out of the ring and drops Cesaro on the ramp by taking the knee out from behind. Rollins tackles Cesaro again and unloads on him, keeping him down and talking trash. Referees rush down and try to get Rollins off Cesaro as he punches away. Daniel Bryan runs down and decks Rollins, forcing him to retreat to the ringside area. Bryan checks on Cesaro as Rollins looks on, smirking. Rollins’ music hits as he continues staring over at Cesaro and Bryan.
– Kayla Braxton is backstage with Cesaro and Daniel Bryan. He says Seth Rollins wasted everyone’s time earlier tonight but he will not waste his own time. Despite what happened out there with Rollins, Cesaro is able to compete and will qualify for the Elimination Chamber with Bryan. Cesaro walks off. Bryan points out to Kayla how tough Cesaro is.
Elimination Chamber Qualifier: Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan and Cesaro
We go back to the ring for tonight’s non-title main event as SmackDown Tag Team Champions Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler are out. The winners of this match will earn the final Elimination Chamber spots. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and the champs are wrapping up their entrance. Out next comes Cesaro, then Daniel Bryan. They head to the ring together as a “yes!” chant starts up. The bell rings as Bryan and Ziggler go at it. They run the ropes and Ziggler hits a big shoulder for a 2 count. Bryan ends up dropping Ziggler with a kick. Cesaro tags in for a big double team slam. Cesaro covers for a 2 count. Ziggler turns it around on Cesaro for a close 2 count. Roode tags in and they quickly double team Cesaro. He drops Roode with a shot to the face and in comes Bryan.
Bryan with kicks around the ring. Roode ducks a kick and rolls Bryan for a 2 count. Bryan goes for the Yes Lock but Roode easily gets the bottom rope to break it up. Roode works Bryan over and knocks Cesaro off the apron with a cheap shot. Bryan ends up sending to the floor next to Cesaro. Bryan runs for a big dive but Roode moves and Bryan hits the barrier next to Cesaro.
Roode and Ziggler keep control, sending their opponents into the steel steps, and then return to the ring together, standing tall. Sami Zayn and King Baron Corbin come walking down the ramp as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Ziggler has Bryan grounded as Cesaro reaches for a tag. Sami and Corbin watch the action from ringside. Ziggler takes Bryan back to the corner and in comes Roode. They unload on Bryan in the corner. Ziggler with a cheap shot as Roode distracts the referee. Roode with a suplex to Bryan for a 2 count.
We see WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman watching backstage. Ziggler drops a big elbow on Bryan for a 2 count. Ziggler brings it back to the corner and takes Bryan up. Ziggler climbs up for a superplex but Bryan fights him, headbutting him to the mat. Bryan nails a missile dropkick. Fans rally with a “yes!” chant. Roode gets the hot tag and runs in to knock Cesaro off the apron. Bryan rolls Roode for a 2 count from behind. Bryan fights back with uppercuts now. Roode comes right back with a big Spinebuster for a close 2 count.
Ziggler comes back in and they hit a big double team and Ziggler covers for 2. Cesaro finally gets the tag. He levels Ziggler and knocks Roode off the apron. Cesaro runs wild on Ziggler now as fans cheer him on. Cesaro with running uppercuts from corner to corner to corner, stopping to knock Roode back to the floor. Cesaro with the big uppercut to Ziggler for another close 2 count while Sami and Corbin watch closely.
Roode stops the Cesaro Swing on Ziggler. Bryan with a running knee to Roode. Ziggler with the Fame-asser to Cesaro for another close 2 count. Cesaro catches a superkick and does the torture Rack into a knee to the back on Ziggler. Cesaro with the Swing on Ziggler now, then goes right into the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Ziggler taps out for the finish.
Winners: Cesaro and Daniel Bryan
– After the match, Cesaro and Daniel Bryan stand tall as the music hits. They have earned the final two Elimination Chamber spots, joining Zayn, Corbin, Jey Uso and Kevin Owens. They immediately turn their attention to Sami and Corbin at ringside, waiting for a fight. However, Uso comes in and cracks Cesaro in the back with a steel chair, shocking him. Bryan gets sent out to the floor, where Sami and Corbin are waiting to double team him. A big brawl breaks out in the ring now. Corbin and Sami come in to keep it up. Sami ends up turning on Corbin. Bryan sees this and levels Sami with a running knee. The chaos continues until the music hits and out comes Owens while Cesaro has Uso down in the corner. Owens runs wild to a pop and delivers Stunners to everyone. We see Reigns and Heyman watching backstage again, and they aren’t happy. Owens stands tall and looks into the camera, taunting Reigns. Owens grabs a chair and sits it up, taking a seat. Owens speaks into the camera and tells Reigns he’s coming for him, they are not done, and he’s not going anywhere. Owens says he will see Reigns soon. He continues staring into the camera as SmackDown goes off the air.
Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro
We go back to the ring and out comes Daniel Bryan as the “yes!” chant starts up. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and out next comes Cesaro. The bell rings and they go at it, unloading on each other. Bryan takes Cesaro down and kicks the rm. Bryan goes to work on the arm now. Cesaro charges but Bryan dumps him over the top rope to the floor. Bryan goes to the top and leaps out, taking Cesaro down on the floor.
The referee counts as Bryan brings it back in the ring. Bryan goes to the top and hits a missile dropkick for a pop. Bryan with a kick while Cesaro is on his knees now. Bryan goes for the arm again as Cesaro goes for a rake to the eye. They trade counters now until Bryan blocks the big uppercut in mid-air. We see Shinsuke Nakamura watching backstage as Cesaro uppercuts Bryan to drop him. Cesaro with more big uppercuts now. Bryan takes him down and goes for an arm bar.
We see Cesaro’s head bleeding now as Bryan tries to turn the arm bar into the Yes Lock. Cesaro overpowers and turns it around, driving knees into Bryan on the mat. Bryan blocks a big corkscrew uppercut, then drops Cesaro with a kick to the back of the neck. Cesaro kicks out at 2 and Bryan shows a little bit of frustration. Bryan stomps away now. Cesaro comes back with a big backbreaker and then the Cesaro Swing.
Cesaro keeps swinging Bryan and then drops him into the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Cesaro has trouble with his arm but he manages to tighten the hold. Bryan taps out for the finish.
– After the match, Cesaro stands tall while selling the arm injury, with blood running from the back of his head. He stands tall and celebrates as the music hits. Cesaro turns around and looks at Bryan, who is down in the corner. Cesaro walks over and offers his fist to Bryan for a bump. They bump fists in a show of respect and Cesaro makes his exit as his music starts back up.
Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles
We go back to the ring and out first comes Daniel Bryan to a “yes!” chant. Out next comes AJ Styles with Omos. They stop on the stage and have a few words as AJ actually sends Omos to the back. Bryan applauds AJ for coming to the ring by himself. AJ marches down the ramp as we go to commercial.
Back from the break and we get a video preview for WWE Hall of Famer Bill Goldberg vs. WWE Champion Drew McIntyre at the Royal Rumble. We go back to the ring and they lock up trading holds. Cesaro is on commentary now. AJ takes Bryan to the mat and they trade counters and holds.
Bryan applies an arm bar but AJ breaks and gets free. Bryan goes right back to work on AJ’s arm. Bryan drops AJ and nails a running kick to his hand. Bryan grounds AJ and focuses on the arm again. Cesaro says there is no division between he and Shinsuke Nakamura, just a lot of respect and a healthy sense of competition. Bryan ends up leveling AJ with a big kick for a 2 count.
AJ misses in the corner and Bryan chops him down. AJ comes back and drives a knee to the gut to drop Bryan. Bryan blocks a suplex attempt with knees. Bryan with a snap suplex. Fans cheer Bryan on as he goes to the top but the music interrupts and out comes Sami Zayn with his signs and documentary crew. AJ takes advantage of the distraction and knocks Bryan from the top to the floor.
AJ follows and launches Bryan into the steel ring steps. Sami rants about being silenced as he walks down the ramp. We go to commercial.
More back and forth after the break as Sami films with his crew at ringside. Bryan takes control and counters in the corner, then delivers the running kick. Bryan goes to the top and launches AJ across the ring for a 2 count. Sami runs his mouth to the announcers now, saying he will not be kicked off the show and silenced. AJ catches a kick and nails a Dragon leg sweep to Bryan. AJ works Bryan over in the corner, nailing an enziguri kick to the head. AJ drops Bryan and wastes some time but then applies the Calf Crusher submission.
Bryan drags himself to the bottom rope and breaks the hold as AJ tries to tighten it. Sami talks trash to the referee. AJ grabs Bryan’s leg in the corner but Bryan drops him with another enziguri. AJ charges but gets sent to the apron. AJ with a big right hand from the apron. AJ flies in with the Phenomenal Forearm but Bryan dodges it. Bryan with a Butterfly suplex into the arm bar. AJ rolls through and Bryan goes for the LeBell Lock now as fans cheer. AJ finally makes it to the bottom rope to break the hold.
The music interrupts and out comes WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E. Sami is not thrilled. Big E takes his jacket off, then his title as Sami runs his mouth. Big E levels Sami in front of the announcers with a big clothesline. Big E then tosses Sami over the announce table. Cesaro gets up and shoves Big E. Big E shoves him back. Cesaro drops Big E and tosses him over the announce table. Sami gets up and barks orders at Cesaro now.
Bryan runs the ropes and hits Sami and Cesaro with a suicide dive. AJ brings Bryan back into the ring but they end up in the corner with Bryan in control. Sami runs in and attacks Bryan from behind for the disqualification.
Winner by DQ: Daniel Bryan
– After the bell, the chaos continues as Cesaro brings Big E in the ring and works him over in the corner. The music interrupts and out comes Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura hits the ring and takes out Sami, then AJ. Cesaro approaches but Nakamura puts the brakes on as they are still on the same page apparently, for now. The big brawl keeps going as Big E, Bryan and Nakamura clear the ring and are standing tall. We see Cesaro, AJ and Zayn at ringside. Back to commercial.
Cesaro, Big E and Daniel Bryan vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn and AJ Styles
Back from the break and Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura are going at it as the six-man kicks off. Nakamura misses a shot and Cesaro rocks him. Back and forth now. Nakamura takes Cesaro to the corner and works him over. Nakamura with the snap German suplex under the bottom rope for a 2 count. WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E tags in and takes over on Cesaro.
Cesaro turns it around with a big uppercut. Cesaro beats Big E down and tags in Sami Zayn to takeover. Sami works Big E over while he’s down and talks some trash. They run the ropes and Big E levels Sami with a big back elbow for a 2 count. Daniel Bryan tags in and drops Sami. Big E tags back in and double teams Sami with Bryan. Big E covers Sami for a 2 count. Big E keeps control and in comes Bryan again. Bryan comes off the top with a double ax handle as Big E holds Sami.
Sami ends up turning it around on Bryan, then taking out his knee with a chop block. AJ Styles tags in and pulls Bryan over, slamming his leg into the ring post a few times. Bryan clutches his knee as AJ stands tall and fans boo. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and Cesaro hits the Cesaro Swing on Bryan, into the half Crab submission. Cesaro drags Bryan over and tags in AJ, who stomps Bryan in the hold. AJ drops an elbow, focusing on Bryan’s hurt left leg. AJ keeps working on the leg while Bryan is down. Sami tags back in and mounts Bryan with punches to the face. Sami mocks Big E and Nakamura now as fans boo. Sami sends Bryan face-first into the top turnbuckle.
Sami takes Bryan to the top but stops to argue with the referee. Sami climbs up for a superplex but Bryan resists. Bryan fights back and headbutts Sami to the mat. Bryan stands up and nails the missile dropkick from the top. Bryan goes to the mat selling his hurt leg as the referee counts. Cesaro tags in as does Big E. Big E with a big throw. AJ flies in but Big E catches him with another big throw. Big E nails the belly-to-belly suplex on Cesaro. Big E goes for the splash but Cesaro gets up and hits the corkscrew uppercut from the middle rope. Big E kicks out at 2.
Big E blocks the Neutralizer but Cesaro lands on his feet. He charges and Big E hits the Uranage for a close 2 count. Big E tries to rally the crowd now. The music interrupts and out comes The Miz and John Morrison. Big E stares them down and invites them into the ring for a fight. Nakamura meets them at ringside and they attack him, taking him out. Miz and Morrison enter the ring and attack Big E for the disqualification as Sami helps them.
Winners by DQ: Big E, Daniel Bryan and Cesaro
– After the bell, Big E briefly fights but Miz and Morrison take him out with a double team. The music hits and out comes Otis. He hits the ring and levels both Miz and Morrison with clotheslines. Otis tosses Miz over his head, then does the same to Morrison. Otis with another big clothesline to Morrison. Otis hits a double splash in the corner now. Otis with the Caterpillar to Miz and Morrison at the same time as we go back to commercial.
Bryan takes the mic and comments on the Royal Rumble Match taking place later this month. He goes on and is interrupted by Cesaro. They end up having words and Bryan suggests they have a match now. Cesaro says no because he’s sick and tired of proving himself week after week. Cesaro ends up issuing an open challenge since Bryan is not dressed to wrestle. SmackDown Tag Team Champion Dolph Ziggler interrupts and cuts a promo on the Rumble. Ziggler tells Cesaro to consider the challenge accepted. Ziggler vs. Cesaro is next. We go to commercial.
Cesaro vs. Dolph Ziggler
Back from the break and the match is underway as Dolph Ziggler and Cesaro go at it. Cesaro hits a big uppercut early on and then the Cesaro Swing. Daniel Bryan is on commentary. Cesaro keeps swinging and swinging, then drops Ziggler for a 2 count.
They trade roll-ups and more counters now. Ziggler nails a Zig Zag in the middle of the ring for a close 2 count. Ziggler blocks a suplex but Cesaro comes back with a big Neutralizer in the middle of the ring for the pin to win.
– After the match, Cesaro stands tall as his music hits. He taunts Bryan
– The announcers show us how SmackDown Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura confronted RAW Tag Team Champions The Street Profits on this week’s RAW under the quarterly Brand To Brand Invitational rule, to set up the non-title match for next week’s RAW. We go backstage to Cesaro and Nakamura’s Champion’s Lounge. Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins are there. Cesaro and Nakamura are off to their match while The Profits are going to enjoy the lounge and get a scouting report for Monday’s match. Cesaro and Nakamura keep warning Ford and Dawkins to not touch anything, but they do anyway.
Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Lucha House Party
We go back to the ring for a non-title match and out comes Lucha House Party – Kalisto and Gran Metalik with Lince Dorado. We get a picture-in-picture backstage video from earlier today with Kalisto talking about being the leader of the group and bringing the titles home. There seems to still be tension in the group as he gets a “lucha!” chant going. We go back to the trainer’s room and see Jeff Hardy getting looked at. Sami Zayn comes in and they start brawling as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and out come SmackDown Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura for this non-title match. Metalik and Cesaro start off, going back and forth. Metalik mounts offense and tags in Kalisto for a big double team. Cesaro kicks out. Nakamura ends up providing a distraction from the apron, allowing Cesaro to land a big clothesline to Kalisto. Nakamura works over Kalisto and drops a big knee for a 2 count. Nakamura works over Kalisto in the corner and in comes Cesaro off the tag. Cesaro with a running uppercut in the corner for a 2 count.
Cesaro grounds Kalisto now. Kalisto looks to turn it around but Cesaro slams him and leg drops him for another 2 count. Nakamura comes back in and positions Kalisto over the top rope in the corner. Nakamura with a running high knee. Cesaro comes back in for a big double team move. Nakamura follows up with a cheap shot for a 2 count. We see RAW Tag Team Champions The Street Profits on the big screen now. They’re throwing a party in the Champion’s Lounge and it’s full of people. Cesaro and Nakamura aren’t happy.
Kalisto comes from behind and takes advantage of a distracted Cesaro, rolling him up for the pin to get the non-title win.
Winners: Lucha House Party
– After the match, Cesaro and Nakamura are upset as Lucha House Party celebrates. Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins taunt them from the big screen.
– We see Lucha House Party walking backstage to their match. SmackDown Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura drop Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik from behind. Kalisto checks on his partners as the champs walk off. Back to commercial.
SmackDown Tag Team Titles Match: Lucha House Party vs. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura
Back from the break and Greg Hamilton does the introductions as SmackDown Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura are out first. The Lucha House Party is out next – Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik with Kalisto.
Nakamura starts off with Metalik and dominates him. Cesaro tags in with a running low elbow drop for a 2 count in the middle of the ring. Cesaro grounds Metalik but gets tossed with a hurricanrana. Metalik leaps off the ropes again but Cesaro catches him in mid-air and nails a sitdown powerbomb for a close 2 count. We get a promo from John Morrison and The Miz in a sidebar video as they are watching backstage. Nakamura comes back in and covers Metalik for a 2 count after more offense.
Cesaro comes back in and works over Metalik while he’s down for another 2 count. More frequent tags between the champs. Cesaro slams Metalik over the top rope. Metalik fights back from the apron and climbs to the middle rope with Cesaro. Metalik ends up sending Cesaro flying with a hurricanrana. Kalisto tries to rally for his partners now.
Nakamura and Dorado tag in. Nakamura runs into a big boot. Dorado flies from the top and keeps on top of Nakamura. Dorado dodges an attack in the corner and unloads with strikes. Dorado ducks a kick and drops Nakamura with one of his own. Dorado with a moonsault. Dorado with another moonsault from the second rope now. He goes for a third moonsault from the top now and hits it. Cesaro breaks the pin up at 2.
Dorado counters Cesaro and sends him flying to the floor. Metalik comes in and runs, leaping off the ropes to drop Cesaro on the floor again. Nakamura takes advantage and hits the reverse Exploder on Dorado. Nakamura goes to the floor to kick Metalik, keeping him down. Nakamura returns tot he ring and goes for the Kinshasa but Dorado rolls him for a 2 count. Dorado catches Nakamura with a springboard Stunner. Cesaro tags in and Dorado doesn’t see it at first. They tangle and trade roll-ups. They go on and tangle some more but the sequence ends with Cesaro rolling through and rolling Dorado up for the pin to retain.
Winners: Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura
– After the match, Cesaro and Nakamura exit the ring with the titles as the music hits. Dorado looks on and Kalisto checks on him. Dorado almost pushes Kalisto away and they have words. Metalik gets in the middle of them and Kalisto gets knocked down. Kalisto and Dorado continue arguing as Metalik holds them back from each other.
Cesaro vs. Lince Dorado
Back from the break and out come the SmackDown Tag Team Champions – Cesaro with Shinsuke Nakamura. The Lucha House Party is out next – Lince Dorado with Gran Metalik. Greg Hamilton does the introductions. We get a sidebar video from earlier today with Dorado and Metalik talking about showing Cesaro how to party tonight.
Back and forth to start the match. Cesaro easily takes control and drops Dorado. Dorado tries to power up but Cesaro clotheslines him. Dorado ends up sending Cesaro out. The lights flicker again and Graves jokes about RETRIBUTION. Dorado runs the ropes and leaps out but Cesaro catches him. Dorado counters and stands on the barrier. He leaps off with a hurricanrana, sending Cesaro into the apron. Dorado brings it back in and they tangle. Dorado rocks Cesaro with a kick but Dorado flies and Cesaro catches him in mid-move. Cesaro with a backbreaker for a 2 count.
Cesaro keeps Dorado grounded in the middle of the ring now, working him over. Cesaro with a 2 count as he shows some frustration now. The crowd rallies as Cesaro grounds Dorado again. Dorado fights up and out. More back and forth again. Dorado catches Cesaro with a big springboard Stunner for a pop. Dorado with a moonsault from the bottom rope, then the middle rope. Dorado goes up for a third moonsault but Nakamura runs interference from the apron.
Dorado swings and Nakamura goes back to the floor but Cesaro takes advantage and turns it around. Cesaro goes for a big Razor’s Edge Bomb but Dorado counters and takes him down for a 2 count. Cesaro quickly takes back control with an uppercut, then nails the Gotch Neutralizer in the middle of the ring for the pin to win.
– After the match, Nakamura joins Cesaro in the ring and they stand tall with the titles as the music hits. We go to replays.