WWE Elimination Chamber kicked off with controversy. According to a report by Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful, WWE was indecisive about the main event. Before the show began wrestlers were told backstage that the women would have their well-deserved spotlight and close the show; however, as so often happens in the WWE, plans changed. Word came directly from the top. According to Sean Ross Sapp, WWE CEO Vince McMahon relegated the Women's Tag Team Elimination Chamber Match to show opener and the show closer would now be the Men's WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match. McMahon was apparently concerned with a lack of crowd reaction for the Women's Match.
Neither match disappointed. The Women's Elimination Chamber Match featured the crowning of the inaugural WWE Women's Tag Team Champions, as Bayley & Sasha Banks' redemption story has come to its culmination. The Men's Elimination Chamber Match was equally as impressive and this time it was Kofi Banks, who received his redemption. Kingston, always known as a tag team wrestler and for his unique Royal Rumble spots stood toe to toe with WWE's very best in Daniel Bryan and despite coming up just short, received a standing ovation from the Houston, Texas crowd.
It wasn't all good, however. The evening featured lacklustre matches between Braun Strowman and Baron Corbin, as well as the forgettable RAW Women's Championship match between Ronda Rousey and Ruby Riott. Plus, there was the whole Usos debacle.
We examine all that and more in this special Elimination Chamber edition of The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly.
The Good - Redemption For Bayley & Sasha Banks
It isn't enough to simply say Bayley and Sasha Banks made history last evening at Elimination Chamber. They certainly did; however, the statement falls short of telling their entire story and the adversity the duo overcame on the way to becoming the inaugural Women's Tag Team Champions.
Bayley and Banks were tied to the hip at NXT. Akin to WWE Developmental's version of Batman and Joker, the two woman performed in a pair of matches that have become known as two of the greatest bouts in women's wrestling history. When they each received the call up to the main roster, expectations were high. Banks was expected to be the best female wrestler of her generation and Bayley received lofty comparisons to John Cena. Both climbed the ranks and had world championship runs, but those runs were less than memorable. Most wrestling fans may not even remember that Banks is a 4 time RAW Women's Champion and that is likely due to her longest run being a mere 27 days.
It didn't take long for the two women, once thought of as WWE's brightest future stars, to fall to the mid-card and become an afterthought on the main roster. No one was talking about a future in women's wrestling with Bayley & Banks as the company's main stars. The two had given way to Charlotte Flair, Ronda Rousey, Alexa Bliss, and Becky Lynch.
Despite lacklustre creative, they tried and they tried and they tried. The two women were friends. Then they weren't. Then they were friends. Then they weren't. WWE teased a WrestleMania match that never came to fruition and suddenly Bayley & Banks were friends again. The two began to talk openly about the possibility of WWE introducing women's tag team titles, seemingly pushing the company to find a place for them.
Then it happened. Last night at Elimination Chamber, Bayley and Banks were the first women to enter the Chamber and the last to leave, making history and becoming the inaugural WWE Women's Tag Team Champions.
An emotional Sasha Banks summed it up best with her post-match victory speech,
"I’m at a loss for words. Nobody knows how hard we fought to get these. If you guys legit only knew. We don’t just do this for us, we don’t just do this for you, we do this for everybody in the back: this Women’s Division."