It’s official. “The Queen of Spades” is taking on “The Man” on “The Grandest Stage of Them All.”
That’s right, it’s just like she told you all: Shayna Baszler will be challenging Becky Lynch for the RAW Women’s Championship at this year’s WrestleMania. This fate was officially decided in the main event of tonight’s annual Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, which saw Shayna face off against Natalya, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan, and Asuka in the Elimination Chamber structure.
Well, “face off against” is actually a bit of an understatement. It was really more like “decimate.” You know how it goes.
Ruby Riott (whose mind seemed focused on her former Riott Squad teammate, Liv Morgan) and Natalya (whose mind was definitely focused on Randy Orton’s recent attacks on her friends, Edge and Beth Phoenix) started the match. Sarah Logan entered next, and again, there was more of a preoccupation—in this case, with both of her former Riott Squad teammates—than there was match focus.
Honestly, as dominating as Shayna was in this match, you can’t ignore that everyone but Asuka was thinking about so much more than just the match and the potential for a WrestleMania title match. Unfortunately for all of them, this wasn’t an episode of Total Divas.
Also unfortunately for all of them, it was finally Shayna’s time to enter the match.
Shayna made quick work of Sarah with a Kirifuda Clutch, then just as quick work of Ruby with another Kirifuda Clutch. And then she turned her attention to Natalya. Oh, poor, poor Nattie. While team “Rowdy Hart” is still real and strong, that really has nothing to do with Ronda’s fellow Four Horsewoman. So Natalya ended up not just getting choked out by Shayna—she got brutalized by her. Shayna decided to destroy Natalya and her arm with an Elimination Chamber pod door before finally putting her away.
And then she just waited. Because there was literally no one else in the ring. That’s how quick all of this was: It took less than five minutes, so no one else was even able to come in to try to stop Shayna.
But then out came a resilient Liv Morgan, and you know what? She tried her best. No, I’m not being facetious: Liv Morgan truly gave her all and put up the best fight of any of the competitors up to this point. But it still wasn’t enough to stop Shayna’s unprecedented reign of terror in the Elimination Chamber match, and she too was soon eliminated.
So Shayna waited again, this time for just one more competitor: Asuka. During the Liv destruction, Shayna kept getting up in Asuka’s face, goading her, all while Asuka just screamed in Japanse. Now, I have no idea what Asuka was saying—and she continued to do so as it was just Shayna waiting for her to come out—but I do know that it was awesome. Asuka screaming in Japanese is always awesome. And this match-up was, of course, going to be awesome, because it was one we’d all been waiting for: the two most dominant NXT Women’s Champions in history, finally throwing hands. And feet. And chokes.
Yes, throwing chokes. Look, I’m not the judo master here…
So, finally, Asuka was released from her pod. And with a more even match-up than pretty much every other one in this match, we got a bit of a chess match going. Asuka got Shayna into an Asuka Lock, only for it to be reversed into a Kirifuda Clutch… which Asuka then reversed back into the Asuka Lock. There, Shayna had to completely roll out of the ring to break the submission slightly, but Asuka kept holding on… so Shayna kept banging her across the chamber wall to create separation.
Then Shayna simply used her brains and went after Asuka’s injured left wrist (something that commentary had been talking about since Asuka arrived at the arena), before finally hooking in the Kirifuda Clutch for real. With that, Asuka passed out and Shayna Baszler punched her ticket to WrestleMania.
To quote Tom Phillips on commentary:
“‘Shayna Baszler gnaws her way toward ‘The Man’ at WrestleMania.”
Ronda had something to say about this win too:
Still not aboard the Shayna Baszler train? Take a trip back to when Shayna was the NXT Women’s Champion and spoke with RondaRousey.com about her journey to the top.