After a lengthy video package recapping all the nasty personal attacks Natalya has sent her way, Nikki Bella made her way out at Talking Stick Resort Arena in hometown colors of Phoenix’s NBA team.
Perhaps the best news about the match was that the Fearless One wrestled at all, considering the reports about issues with her surgically repaired neck.
And maybe because of that (or maybe it was just another of the odd booking choices Team SmackDown seemed to make on Feb. 12), the match started with technical mat work. The announcers logically explained this as Nik wanting to beat Natty at her own game, but it marked a sharp departure from the violent brawls which have made this feud so hot coming into Sunday night.
That changed with a big diving clothesline from Bella...
... but the return to physicality on the floor was short-lived. After heelishly asking for a “timeout” Nat whipped Nikki into the post, and when we returned to the ring, it was more holds - and dominance from the Queen of Harts.
Too much trash talk (and not just to her opponent, but also to Mama Bella and the family in attendance) gave Nik an opening for a YES Lock and eventually a big forearm shot, but neither finished off Natty. A series of nearfalls followed, but the Queen of Harts would not stay down. It did, however, make it clear Bella wasn’t working a style designed to protect herself.
Caution was thrown to the wind with a big Superplex from Natalya that left both women wiped out while the referee counted ten. A Sharpshooter attempt followed, but Bella countered to a Fearless Lock. Nat was able to reach the bottom rope, but the pair brawled to the floor - and neither could get back in the ring before the ten count.
The fight continued after the bell, including a vicious spear of Natty on the ramp by Bella, but this story will continue as this double countout settles nothing.
For complete Elimination Chamber results and coverage of every match on the card click here.