WWE Chooses Not to Go All-In on Sami Zayn at Elimination Chamber

Sami Zayn made people believe. Right up until Roman Reigns pinned him at Elimination Chamber.

Sami Zayn made people believe. Right up until Roman Reigns pinned him Elimination Chamber.

Held at the Bell Center in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Zayn took his hometown of Montreal on one incredible tour. He came extremely close on two occasions – once after a Helluva Kick, another after a Blue Thunder Bomb – but Reigns kicked out on the two count. Although it feels like a huge missed opportunity, it was as close as Zayn came to becoming a hero.

Ultimately, Reigns pinned Zayn in an emotional, tense main event. Before the crowd could go from calm to furious, Kevin Owens came out again for the first time since taking a beating from The Bloodline at the Royal Rumble. Owens’ return allowed Zayn to land the last Helluva Kick on Reigns after the match, ending the night on a happier note. But it was one that still ended in victory for Zayn.


Roman Reigns lost to Sami Zayn in his hometown, Toronto, on Saturday night despite having to take home the championship.

Courtesy of WWE

If Zayn and Owens are wrestling The Usos at Wrestlemania, then this was an important step in that story. Jimmy Uso stood firmly behind Reigns, but Jey Uso’s loyalties remained divided. It’s all part of a great story—albeit one that hasn’t reached the highlights of Daniel Bryan’s journey to the main event. Wrestlemania 30 gamehe performed extremely well.

But there was an opportunity to create a great moment for Zayn in front of his home crowd, and the company that prides itself on making lasting memories chose to do so.

Here are the results from Elimination Chamber:

  • Asuka won the women’s Elimination Chamber match
  • Bobby Lashley defeated Brock Lesnar by disqualification
  • Edge and Beth Phoenix defeated Finn Balor and Rhea Ripley
  • Austin Theory won the men’s Elimination Chamber match
  • Sami Zayn, the undisputed WWE Universal Champion, defeated Roman Reigns

The men’s Elimination Chamber match was great, even if the ending fell flat with Austin Theory winning. Seth Rollins, Montez Ford, Johnny Gargano, and Bronson Reed fought to win Theory’s United States title. Gargano showed his worth in the match, which hasn’t always been the case since his main roster debut, and Reed looked like an unstoppable monster.

There was a climax when Ford climbed to the top of the cage, turned himself around, then crashed into his rivals. This was the beginning of a significant solo push for Ford. After he was eliminated, he had to be helped – to applause from the crowd – but he also opened the doors to the room, allowing Logan Paul to enter and attack Rollins. This adds to their program for Wrestlemaniaand it adds a new wrinkle if Paul is playing the heel.

Asuka won the women’s Elimination Chamber match, defeating Carmella via submission to end an entertaining bout. The majority of the field – including Carmella, Nikki Cross, Natalya Neidhart, or Raquel Rodriguez – was unlikely to win this match, narrowing the field down to Asuka or Liv Morgan. Asuka has been presented as a dominant force for the past few weeks, so it makes sense for her to be the winner, and this sets up Asuka’s challenge to Bianca Belair at Wrestlemania.

Although it seemed to make more sense to Asuka who Wrestlemania a rematch against Charlotte Flair, and a Rhea Ripley vs. Belair match, this pairing makes WWE go away Wrestlemania with Belair and Ripley as the women’s champions.

The encounter between Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley was short but entertaining. The DQ finish – where Lesnar couldn’t break Lashley’s Hurt Lock, so he kicked out with a low blow – was a letdown, but it benefited greatly from the crowd’s electric reaction to Lesnar erupting after the match, hitting F5s on Lashley inside and outside the ring, as well as referee Chad Patton. The finish allows the Lesnar-Lashley program to be extended to Wrestlemania.

A rare mistake occurred in the Edge/Beth Phoenix-Finn Balor/Rhea Ripley match. Dom Mysterio hit Edge with a pair of brass knuckles, and Phoenix failed to break the pinfall, not doing it until well after the ref was three. To the credit of all involved, they all moved on without issue. Edge ended up getting the pinfall on Balor, and that was the only way it could end—Ripley needs to be protected. But the program helped Balor and all of Judgment Day find their footing as legitimate heels.

Elimination Chamber it served its purpose, which is to lay the foundation stone Wrestlemania. It also effectively removed Zayn from the main event picture, which is an unusual risk given his massive popularity. The focus now shifts to Reigns and Cody Rhodes. But it feels like it’s missing a vital component without Zayn.

Justin Barrasso can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Justin Barrasso.

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