2021 WWE Elimination Chamber results, recap, grades: Two major title changes highlight shocking show

With WrestleMania 37 drawing near, WWE Elimination Chamber represented one of the final big speed bumps for the company's top champions on the road to the biggest show of the year. Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre both left the event on down notes, but McIntyre had the rougher night of the two despite both ultimately leaving their booked title matches looking good.

Reigns orchestrated a situation where six men would have to battle in the Chamber to earn a shot at his title on the same night. McIntyre, on the other hand, had to actually compete in the Chamber and survive against five other competitors.

By the time the night was over, two major decisions were made by WWE superstars who were not actually scheduled to compete at Elimination Chamber. What went down on Sunday night? Keep on reading for a complete set of results and grades from the show as CBS Sports was with you all night bringing you highlights of all the action from the ThunderDome inside Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida. 

2021 WWE Elimination Chamber results, grades

No. 1 Contendership -- Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. King Corbin vs. Jey Uso vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro (Elimination Chamber): Cesaro and Bryan were the first two in the match. After a fun opening 5 minutes, Corbin was next to enter. Bryan's knee was worked over early, compromising him. Corbin dominated until Zayn was the next released. Zayn was a punching bag but eventually found his way to the top of a pod, battling with Cesaro. Zayn tried to climb along the side of the Chamber, but Cesaro kicked him off for the first big bump of the night. Cesaro then scored the first elimination after a Cesaro Swing and Sharpshooter on Corbin. Cesaro eliminated Corbin via submission. Owens was next out, immediately battering Zayn despite the pleadings of his former friend. The chaos escalated with four men in the ring all hitting big moves and laying each other out as Uso looked on from his pod. When Uso's time finally hit, he and Owens immediately began to brawl. Owens hit a moonsault off the top of a pod onto the other four men, following up with Stunners on Cesaro, Bryan and Zayn, the last of which eliminated Zayn. Owens eliminated Zayn via pinfall.

As Zayn was removed from the Chamber, Uso slammed the door on Owens' arm, then delivered a series of superkicks to a trapped Owens before an Samoan splash. Uso eliminated Owens via pinfall. Another lengthy segment saw Bryan and Cesaro again going at it and exchanging big moves. Cesaro tried to take advantage of Bryan's bad knee by hitting a Cesaro Swing while holding just the one bad leg, but he was hit by an Uso superkick and an Samoan splash to score another elimination, leaving it to just himself and Bryan for the shot at Reigns.  Uso eliminated Cesaro via pinfall. Uso went to the top of a pod for a splash, but Bryan got his knees up and followed up with a running knee to score the win. Solid stuff that played to Bryan's underdog status, which is where he is best. And he'll be right back in the role against Reigns, as the champion immediately made his way to the ring. Bryan won Elimination Chamber, eliminating Uso via pinfall. -- Grade: B

Universal Championship -- Roman Reigns (c) vs. Daniel Bryan: Reigns tried to hit a spear at the bell, but Bryan rolled through into a Yes Lock. Reigns powered out and begin dropping big punches and elbows. After another series of shots, Reigns locked Bryan in a guillotine choke to end the match in short order. As Reigns celebrated, Edge ran to the ring and hit a spear before pointing at the WrestleMania sign, making his decision official that he would use his Royal Rumble victory to challenge Reigns. As a story, it makes sense to have things play out this way, but it's not satisfying to see Bryan -- who plays the underdog as well as anyone ever -- get a title shot that ends so quickly. There may be more to this in the long run, but Reigns vs. Bryan could be magic. The Edge run-in, predictable as it was, was as good a way to set things into motion for the WrestleMania main event as they had available. Reigns (c) def. Bryan via submission to retain the title. -- Grade: B

United States Championship -- Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Riddle vs. John Morrison: Morrison made the early mistake of trying to join in Lashley's beating of Riddle, earning the champion's ire. Lashley continued to dominate, even as Riddle and Morrison tried to join forces and overwhelm him. Morrison and Riddle did briefly take Lashley out, battling between themselves briefly before Lashley raged his way back into the match, only to be hit by both a Floating Bro and Starship Pain, but still managing to kick out. Lashley locked Morrison in the Hurt Lock, but Riddle grabbed MVP's crutch (stolen by Morrison) and used it to attack Lashley before hitting Morrison with Bro Derek to score the win and take the title. Good, protective booking to keep Lashley strong and have Morrison eat the pin. An unspectacular match, but a good way to get to the result they wanted. Riddle def. Morrison (via pinfall) and Lashley (c) to win the title. -- Grade: B-

Women's Tag Team Championship -- Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks: Belair and Banks worked well as a team early, including Belair taunting Jax for her weeks of butt-related injuries. Once Baszler got in, she was able to start grinding away on the challengers. Baszler locked in the Kirifuda Clutch on Belair, but Banks tagged herself in and hit a frog splash for a near fall. Belair hit the Kiss of Death on Baszler, but Jax was able to break the pin. Reginald made his way to the ring and tried to give Banks a champagne bottle, but the referee intercepted the bottle and in the confusion, Jax hit a Samoan drop for the win. If anything the involvement of Reginald felt unnecessary and the ending didn't do enough to set up a match between Belair and Banks at WrestleMania. Jax & Baszler (c) def. Belair & Banks via pinfall to retain the titles. -- Grade: C+

WWE Championship -- Drew McIntyre (c) vs. AJ Styles vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton (Elimination Chamber): Hardy and Orton were the first two, again calling back to their past rivalry. McIntyre was the first man out of his pod, immediately bringing the fight to Orton. Kingston made his entrance into the match and quickly scored a pin on Orton. Kingston eliminated Orton via pinfall. Styles demanded Omos rip the plexiglass off his pod, allowing him to run around the outside of the Chamber and in through the door as Orton was leaving -- but not before hitting Hardy and Kingston with RKOs. Styles tried to score a cheap pin, but it failed and Omos was ejected. McIntyre again took over until Sheamus' number was called as the final entrant. McIntyre and Sheamus began exchanging blows. Kingston and Hardy tried to go on the attack but were taken out by Sheamus and McIntyre, who again began going at it. An extended period of five men in the Chamber followed before Sheamus hit Kingston with a Brogue Kick. Sheamus eliminated Kingston via pinfall. After a Twist of Fate on Styles, Hardy thought about hitting a Swanton Bomb from the top of a pod but instead hit Sheamus and McIntyre with a Whisper in the Wind before running back into the ring and hitting Styles with the Swanton. Before he could capitalize, McIntyre ran in with a Claymore. McIntyre eliminated Hardy via pinfall.

McIntyre had to survive a dangerous stretch after White Noise from Sheamus and a springboard senton and springboard 450 from Styles. Sheamus took the fight to Styles, frustrated that Styles hadn't taken out McIntyre. Sheamus hit McIntyre with a Brogue Kick, but Styles came off the top rope with a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles eliminated Sheamus via pinfall. Styles again tried to come off the top rope for a Phenomenal Forearm on McIntyre, but McIntyre countered with a Claymore to knock Styles out of midair and retain the title. After the match, Bobby Lashley attacked as McIntyre was celebrating. Lashley dominated McIntyre, throwing him around ringside before locking in the Hurt Lock and then a full nelson slam. The middle section dragged a bit, but once the action picked back up, the match got considerably better. McIntyre (c) won the Elimination Chamber to retain the title. -- Grade: B

WWE Championship -- Drew McIntyre (c) vs. The Miz: The Miz ran to the ring after Lashley's attack on McIntyre, cashing in his Money in the Bank contract. Miz immediately hit a kick to the leg and a basement DDT for a two count. He then drove McIntyre into the canvas with a Skull-Crushing Finale, scoring the pinfall and winning the championship. There was no better set-up for Miz's cash-in than this, especially after his reign as Money in the Bank contract holder has largely been a dud. This was a bump on the road to a program between McIntyre and Lashley but a good old-fashioned surprise end to the show. The Miz def. Drew McIntyre (c) via pinfall to win the title. -- Grade: B+


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WWE Championship -- Drew McIntyre (c) vs. The Miz: The Miz ran to the ring after Lashley's attack on McIntyre, cashing in his Money in the Bank contract. Miz immediately hit a kick to the leg and a basement DDT for a two count. He then drove McIntyre into the canvas with a Skull-Crushing Finale, scoring the pinfall and winning the championship. There was no better set-up for Miz's cash-in than this, especially after his reign as Money in the Bank contract holder has largely been a dud. This was a bump on the road to a program between McIntyre and Lashley but a good old-fashioned surprise end to the show. The Miz def. Drew McIntyre (c) via pinfall to win the title. -- Grade: B+

McIntyre had to survive a dangerous stretch after White Noise from Sheamus amd a springboard senton and springboard 450 from Styles. Sheamus took the fight to Styles, frustrated that Styles hadn't taken out McIntyre. Sheamus hit McIntyre with a Brogue Kick but Styles came off the top rope with a Phenomenal Forearm to score the elimination. AJ Styles eliminated Sheamus via pinfall. Styles again tried to come off the top rope for a Phenomenal Forearm on McIntyre, but McIntyre countered with a Claymore to knock Styles out of midair and retain the title. After the match, Bobby Lashley attacked as McIntyre was celebrating. Lashley dominated McIntyre, throwing him around ringside before locking in the Hurt Lock and then a full nelson slam. The middle section dragged a bit, but once the action picked back up, the match got considerably better. Drew McIntyre won the Elimination Chamber, last eliminating AJ Styles via pinfall to retain the title. Grade: B

After a Twist of Fate on Styles, Hardy thought about hitting a swanton from the top of a pod, but instead hit Sheamus and McIntyre with a Whisper in the Wind before running back into the ring and hitting Styles with the Swanton. Before he could capitalize, McIntyre ran in with a Claymore to eliminate Hardy. Drew McIntyre eliminated Jeff Hardy via pinfall.

Styles demanded Omos rip the plexiglass off his pod, allowing him to run around the outside of the Chamber and in through the door as Orton was leaving -- but not before hitting Hardy and Kingston with RKOs. Styles tried to score a cheap pin on Kingston, but Kingston was able to kick out and Omos was then kicked out of the ringside area. McIntyre again took over the match, methodically moving from Hardy to Kingston to Styles, tossing them around the Chamber and driving them into the side of the cage until Sheamus' number was called and the final entrant made his way into the match. McIntyre and Sheamus began exchanging blows in the ring. Kingston and Hardy tried to go on the attack, but were taken out by Sheamus and McIntyre who again began going at it. An extended period of five men in the Chamber followed before Sheamus hit Kingston with a Brogue Kick for the elimination. Sheamus eliminated Kofi Kingston via pinfall.

WWE Championship -- Drew McIntyre (c) vs. AJ Styles vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton (Elimination Chamber): Hardy and Orton were the first two men in the match, once again calling back to their past rivalry that culminated in a Hell in a Cell match in 2018. McIntyre was the first man out of his pod, immediately bringing the fight to old rival Orton. McIntyre quickly turned his attention to Hardy, brutalizing the challenger and launching him face-first into a pod. With no eliminations, Kingston made his entrance into the match and quickly scored a pin on Orton. Kofi Kingston eliminated Randy Orton via pinfall.

Women's Tag Team Championship -- Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks: Belair and Banks worked well as a team early, including Belair taunting Jax for her weeks of butt-related injuries. Once Baszler got in, she was able to start grinding away on the challengers. Baszler locked in the Kirifuda Clutch on Belair, but Banks tagged herself in and hit a frog splash for a near fall. Belair hit the Kiss of Death on Baszler, but Jax was able to break the pin. Reginald made his way to the ring and tried to give Banks a champagne bottle, but the referee intercepted the bottle and in the confusion, Jax hit a Samoan drop for the win. If anything the involvement of Reginald felt unnecessary and the ending didn't do enough to set up a match between Belair and Banks at WrestleMania. Jax & Baszler (c) def. Belair & Banks via pinfall to retain the titles. -- Grade: C+

United States Championship -- Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Riddle vs. John Morrison: Morrison made the early mistake of trying to join in Lashley's beating of Riddle, earning the champion's ire. Lashley continued to dominate, even as Riddle and Morrison tried to join forces and overwhelm him. Morrison and Riddle did briefly take Lashley out, battling between themselves briefly before Lashley raged his way back into the match, only to be hit by both a Floating Bro and Starship Pain, but still managing to kick out. Lashley locked Morrison in the Hurt Lock, but Riddle grabbed MVP's crutch (stolen by Morrison) and used it to attack Lashley before hitting Morrison with Bro Derek to score the win and take the title. Good, protective booking to keep Lashley strong and have Morrison eat the pin. An unspectacular match, but a good way to get to the result they wanted. Riddle def. Morrison (via pinfall) and Lashley (c) to win the title. -- Grade: B-

Universal Championship -- Roman Reigns (c) vs. Daniel Bryan: Reigns tried to hit a spear at the bell, but Bryan rolled through into a Yes Lock. Reigns powered out and begin dropping big punches and elbows. After another series of shots, Reigns locked Bryan in a guillotine choke to end the match in short order. As Reigns celebrated, Edge ran to the ring and hit a spear before pointing at the WrestleMania sign, making his decision official that he would use his Royal Rumble victory to challenge Reigns. As a story, it makes sense to have things play out this way, but it's not satisfying to see Bryan -- who plays the underdog as well as anyone ever -- get a title shot that ends so quickly. There may be more to this in the long run, but Reigns vs. Bryan could be magic. The Edge run-in, predictable as it was, was as good a way to set things into motion for the WrestleMania main event as they had available. Reigns def. Bryan via submission to retain the title. -- Grade: B

Uso went to the top of a pod for a splash, but Bryan got his knees up and followed up with a running knee to score the final elimination and win the match. Solid stuff that played to Bryan's underdog status, which is where he is best. And he'll be right back in the role against Reigns, as the champion immediately made his way to the ring. Daniel Bryan won the Elimination Chamber match, last eliminating Jey Uso with a running knee. Grade: B

Another lengthy segment of the match saw Bryan and Cesaro again going at it and exchanging big moves. Cesaro tried to take advantage of Bryan's bad knee by hitting a Cesaro Swing while holding just the one bad leg, but was hit by an Uso superkick and an Uso Splash to score another elimination, leaving it to just himself and Bryan for the shot at Reigns later in the night. Jey Uso eliminated Cesaro with an Uso Splash.

As Zayn was removed from the Chamber, Uso slammed the door on Owens' arm and then delivered a series of superkicks to a trapped Owens before an Uso Splash for the elimination. Jey Uso eliminated Kevin Owens via pinfall with an Uso Splash.

Owens was the next man out of his pod, immediately battering Zayn despite the pleadings of his former friend. The chaos escalated with four men in the ring, all hitting big moves and laying each other out as Uso looked on from his pod. When Uso's time finally hit, he and Owens immediately began to brawl. Owens would hit a moonsault off the top of a pod onto the other four men, following up with stunners on Cesaro, Bryan and Zayn, the last of which eliminated Zayn. Kevin Owens eliminated Sami Zayn via pinfall with a stunner.

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. King Corbin vs. Jey Uso vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro (Elimination Chamber): Cesaro and Bryan got things going as the first two men in the match. After a fun opening five minutes between the two, Corbin was the next man to enter the match. Bryan's knee was worked over early in the match, compromising him moving forward. Corbin dominated the stretch until Zayn was the next man released from his pod. Zayn was a punching bag upon his release, but eventually found his way to the top of a pod, battling with Cesaro. Zayn tried to climb away along the side of the Chamber, but Cesaro kicked him off and onto the metal grating surrounding the ring for the first big bump of the night. Cesaro then scored the first elimination of the night after a Cesaro Swing and sharpshooter on Corbin. Cesaro eliminated King Corbin via submission with the sharpshooter.

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