The main event of this year’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view saw six men battle for the WWE Championship. The New Daniel Bryan was reluctantly defending against Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton, and last-minute addition Kofi Kingston. Orton had earned the right to enter the match last by winning a gauntlet match on the most recent episode of Smackdown, but Kingston had won over the crowd with an incredible, over hour-long performance in the same bout. Kingston was also put over as a contender by the pre-show panel and in an interview with his New Day teammates, but still seemed like an unlikely winner.
Bryan, his new associate Rowan ejected from the arena before the match, started the bout in the Chamber against Joe. Neither man was able to score an elimination in the first five minutes, after which Kingston was buzzed into the match. After some exciting sequences on top of a pod and the cage walls, but still no eliminations, AJ Styles entered the match fourth.
Styles was able to score the match’s first elimination by pinning Joe after a Phenomenal Forearm right before the countdown started for Hardy to exit his pod. Hardy hit a dramatic Swanton Bomb from the top of a pod to Styles on the ropes but was soon after eliminated by Bryan after a running knee. Styles ended up being pinned by the match’s last entrant, Orton, after the Viper caught a jump from the apron to the top rope into an RKO. But Orton’s momentum didn’t last too long, with Kingston countering an RKO and hitting Trouble in Paradise to narrow the match down to just him and the champ.
At this point, the crowd went wild, firing up along with Kingston. His dramatic underdog story became more exciting as he scored nearfalls and managed to kick out of Bryan’s pins. It looked like a LeBell Lock might end the match, but Kingston made it to the ropes. When the fight moved to the top of a pod, it looked like each of the men might be able to superplex the other, but the sequence ended with Kingston knocking Bryan to the ground and missing a splash. Bryan was then able to pin Kingston after a running knee to retain the WWE Championship.
As Cory Graves put it, “the air [had] been completely sucked out of the Toyota Center.” A sincere “Thank you, Kofi!” chant went up from the audience as Xavier Woods and Big E helped their partner out of the Chamber and to the back. The underdog story ended unhappily, but Kofi Kingston’s performance made this an Elimination Chamber match to remember.