The Elimination Chamber event is one that I always look forward to. The Rumble is the big pre-Mania event, but I like that there’s another stop along the way that can change the landscape a bit leading to their biggest event of the year.
This show, however, didn’t really change anything. At the end of the night everything was kinda status quo. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a good show. There was a lot of great matches and it was enjoyable to watch, but it felt from a creative perspective that they were just trying to get through the show so they could start the build towards Wrestlemania.
Let’s look at the matches.
Elimination Chamber for the WWE Championship
Kofi Kingston vs R-Truth vs The Miz vs Dolph Ziggler vs Chris Jericho vs CM Punk (c)
Firstly, it was a shocker that the WWE title was up first. Like I said in my Royal Rumble review, usually the World Title is up first as it’s been made clear that in WWE the World title is not as important as the WWE title.
I don’t think there was anyone that didn’t look like a million bucks in this match. All six guys did some amazing stuff that I don’t think I can do justice with words. It was really a match that’s worth watching and it was a great way to open the show.
There were a couple scary moments, like Kofi doing a tornado DDT to Dolph on the steel grating that looked like Dolph might have been legit KOed. Speaking of which, I don’t think anyone in the match took as many bumps on the steel as Ziggler. And every time anyone did, it made me cringe. I don’t care how much training you get to take bumps, that metal grated floor has got to hurt every time.
That angle with Jericho getting kicked out of the cage by Punk and landing on the floor was weird. As I was watching twitter, everyone seemed to assume he would be getting back in the match at the last second, or maybe an impromptu main event at the end where he said he didn’t get his fair shake in the match. But none of that happened. He just laid on the floor with medics all around him for the rest of the match.
There’s also been a lot of reports that have said Miz is in hot water with WWE officials. That he, somehow, is responsible for the low Survivor Series buyrate, and then when he failed to catch R-Truth in the six pack challenge match that led to Truth being carted out of the arena. If there is any heat on him, though, you wouldn’t have known it by watching this match. He and Punk as the bottom two made for a really great ending to the match but, of course, Punk retains.
Tamina Snuka vs Beth Phoenix (c)
This match had it’s high points and it’s low points. A high point for me was that they actually gave two girls who can wrestle some time to actually wrestle. The bad side is that I think the girls in WWE have gotten a little used to the 3 minute segments that they didn’t quite know what to do with so much time.
And this isn’t a knock on Beth or Tamina. Both are good workers and did good in the match. It just seemed like they were a little lost. It could have been that towards the start Tamina took a nasty spill off the apron, she might have been knocked a bit loopy.
When I watch TNA, the Knockout matches are actually some of the matches I look forward to the most. They give their girls a lot of time to work and they usually produce some of the best matches on the show. But with the way WWE has booked their girls, I just don’t think they know what to do when they get time to actually work a match.
With Beth winning, I can only hope that they’re going to build towards her vs Kharma at Wrestlemania. If that’s not the plan then I don’t really know what else they can do because Beth has beaten all the girls on the roster. I’m really hoping they don’t have some kind of meaningless 12 diva tag match.
John Laurinatis Segment
What a waste of time this whole thing was. Johnny comes out and says he’s been unfairly treated and thinks Teddy Long should be subjected to the same things he has been and that he’s looking to become permanent GM of both Raw and Smackdown. Mark Henry, the returning Alberto Del Rio and Christian all come out and say they’re backing him in his endeavor and then they take pictures in the ring.
Things like this should be saved for Raw or Smackdown. People don’t pay money to watch Laurinitis stumble over his words.
Speaking of GMs. The Laptop. We ever gonna get an answer to that one?
Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship
The Great Khali vs Cody Rhodes vs Santino Marella vs Wade Barrett vs Big Show vs Daniel Bryan (c)
For most of the match the crowd was just dead. It really solidified that Smackdown is the B show and their top stars aren’t really stars. When Big Show, Wade Barrett and even Cody Rhodes were in the mix, there were very audible “Boring” chants from the crowd, and they were right, the match was a bit of a stinker from the beginning.
There was a cool spot, after everyone had come out but Bryan, where Big Show tore the pieces of chain off the top of Bryan’s pod, climbed in and started beating up the world champion.
What really surprised me, is that as dead as the crowd was during most of the match, when Santino did anything, the place erupted. The crowd was so behind him that I went from thinking that it was incredibly silly to even have him in the match to almost wanting him to win it. And I thought maybe it would happen when it came down to him and Bryan as the final two.
I don’t know what it was, but in those last few moments, Santino want from being a comedy act jobber to being a legitimate contender for the World title. He was a star. A main eventer. And he seemed perfectly at home in that role.
Bryan won the match in the end, but I wonder if WWE isn’t going to be giving Santino a little but more of a shove after hearing the reactions he was getting.
After the match, during Bryan’s celebration, the Royal Rumble winner Sheamus came to the ring and made it clear which championship he would be going for at Wrestlemania. A lot of people though it was cool that Bryan vs Sheamus was supposed to be on last year’s Wrestlemania card and got bumped at the last minute, and this year they’ll be facing each other for the World Title.
Stupid Backstage Segment
That’s the only way I can describe it. It continues the terrible Natalya farting angle, that I have no idea where it’s going. Hornswoggle being Hornswoggle. Then because Justin Gabriel says he likes jack cheese, Jack Swagger gets upset. Then Teddy Long makes a match between them and says that he should be the one to run both shows.
The whole segment was disjointed, and lead to a match that no one cared about.
United States Championship
Justin Gabriel (w/ Hornswoggle) vs Jack Swagger (c) (w/ Vickie Guerrero)
Complete filler match. The crowd was dead.
Swagger wins with his ankle lock.
So.., that’s something.
John Cena vs Kane
I’m really hoping this is the final match between these two.
The whole angle leading up to their epic confrontation has been so weak. So weak, in fact, that the whole ambulance match gimmick was just set up in a forgettable backstage segment with John Lauranitis and Triple H.
The match was was supposed to be about Cena being on the bubble of being a heel or face was just your average Cena slugfest. Kane got the upper hand. Cena looked like he was down for. Then he starts hulking up. Makes his tremendous comeback and wins.
There was a cool spot when they did the Attitude Adjustment off the top of the ambulance. But getting to that spot was a little strange. Cena climbing on top and basically taunting Kane who followed him up there.
But leading up to that spot it was just the same old crap we’ve gotten from Cena time and time again. And in a match with the implications that this one did, to have him doing his goofy taunting, and the five knuckle shuffle it just seemed to take the weight of the situation, if there was any, completely away. Kane has tried to murder Cena, Cena’s friend Zack Ryder and has been terrorizing Eve in the process. And Cena gets his vengeance by dancing and calling Kane names.
The match was weak, the buildup was weak and there was really no pay off at the end. People were wanting The Rock to be in the ambulance and attack Cena. I was kind of hoping that Eve would have come out, Cena would have tried to protect her and then make a reveal that she’s been with Kane the whole time and they’ve been working together to take out Ryder and Cena.
Instead of that we get a pretty weak ambulance match to end the show with little to no send off to make us want to watch Raw the next night or even order Wrestlemania.
I know in WWE’s mind Cena vs Kane was much bigger than the two title matches. So they wanted it to go on last. And that would have been fine if there was some surprise in it to make it worth seeing. Instead there was nothing. If there was going to be nothing then it should have gone on before the World title Chamber match, and let the image of Sheamus challenging Bryan be the final shot we have going into Mania. At least that would have some build towards a match that’s going to be at the big show.
Instead, we end what was a pretty good show with a lackluster match and Cena smiling like an idiot.