WWE Elimination Chamber PPV Review

Credit: WWE.com

Let’s start off with the good news. We now have 48 days remaining until the granddaddy of them all, the Mecca of sports entertainment, Wrestlemania. The bad news is, currently only two matches are booked….and one of them involves Jack Swagger.
I was trying to get a pulse of what fans thought of the Elimination Chamber last night and I came across a lot of negativity. I don’t happen to share that sentiment. Elimination Chamber wasn’t all that bad, but on the other hand, it wasn’t all that good either. My main problem with the show was the ample amount of opportunity for something memorable to happen and the WWE just didn’t capitalize.
Most significantly, the absence of “big names” from last nights event was noticeable. No Lesnar, no HHH, no Undertaker, and the biggest name, no Brad Maddox. It’s as if Vince only wanted to do the bare minimum to have a passable show. To quote a great man, “Now if you feel that the bare minimum is enough, then okay. But some people choose to wear more and we encourage that, okay?”
Highlights include Mark Henry’s chamber performance, The Shield’s victory and our main event. Low lights include….well too many to list. On to the review of last night’s Elimination Chamber.

Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes defeat Tensai and Brodus Clay 

I didn’t get home in time to watch the Youtube Preshow but I still want to offer my opinion on the result. Having the thrown together team of two fat guys go over an established team like Rhodes Scholars doesn’t make any sense. Like I said, I missed the match so I cannot comment on the technical quality, but the result in terms of advancing story lines is ridiculous. Sandow and Rhodes have been pushed as the strongest contenders for the WWE Tag Team titles. And to have them lose to a comic relief team on the pre-show of a PPV just doesn’t make sense.

We have to assume that Kane and Daniel Bryan are on the verge of breaking up as a tag team, which leaves a handful of jobber teams (Usos, Colons, Prime Time Players) as well as Rhodes Scholars and Mysterio/Sin Cara as contenders for the titles. The addition of more credible teams is a good thing for the division, but I don’t think a sloppily thrown together team like Tensai and Brodus Clay should be beating a team that have beaten the tag champs in a non-title match. It’s booking 101.

World Heavyweight Title Match: Alberto Del Rio defeats Big Show

Interesting choice of an opener in my opinion. These two have surprisingly good chemistry together in the ring. It can’t be easy moving around a behemoth like the Big Show in the ring, but Del Rio does a good job making his offense look credible.

Solid but unspectacular match. It’s unfortunate that Del Rio screwed up the first attempt at the “bucket enziguri” because it was a highly visible move. But he hit it on his second attempt and locked in the arm breaker for the victory via tap out. I wasn’t surprised at Del Rio retaining, but I was shocked at the way it happened. Clean, in the middle of the ring and by submission. I don’t have too many memories of Big Show tapping out, so doing so to Del Rio’s arm breaker puts over that finisher big time.

After the match, Del Rio keep walking around the ring, smiling and giving fans high-fives and I just kept waiting. “This is it” I kept telling myself. Big Show is going to get up, hit the Knock Out punch and Dolph Ziggler is finally going to cash in his Money in the Bank contract. Well, obviously, that never happened. I’m digging Del Rio as a face, so things could be worse. What’s that? He’s scheduled to defend the World Championship at Wrestlemania against Jack Swagger? Never mind.

WWE United States Title Match: Antonio Cesaro defeats Miz via DQ

This match ended when Cesaro intentionally tripped Miz, and Mr. Mizanin dropping his knee into Cesaro’s groin, causing a disqualification.

This seemed more like a match that would take place on an episode of RAW than on the last PPV before Wrestlemania. I suppose the DQ happened to keep the title on Cesaro and to keep Miz from looking weak, but instead what happened was neither guy looked good.

Cesaro looked weak because he had to resort to cheating against a guy like the Miz to hold onto his title, even though in the past weeks we’ve seen him easily dispatch of opponents in just a few minutes. Miz looked like a punk after he kicked Cesaro in the balls after the match was over. Miz is a good guy right? Is that how a good guy is supposed to act?

Elimination Chamber Match: Jack Swagger defeats Chris Jericho, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Mark Henry and Randy Orton 

The result of this match seems to be one area that all fans can agree upon: no one predicted a Jack Swagger victory. But in this case was being unpredictable the right way to go? As smart fans we bitch about having John Cena win the Royal Rumble because we’ve known for a year now that the main event at Wrestlemania was going to be Cena/Rock II. But with smart money was on Chris Jericho, Mark Henry or Randy Orton, instead we got Jack Swagger. In fact, he was probably the last guy anyone would have picked.

I don’t dislike Jack Swagger, but his first run with the World Heavyweight Title was embarrassing. He was pushed way before he was ready (actually, he’s still not ready) and it was a big mistake. Too much Swagger, too fast. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for creating new stars. After all, having more main event wrestlers is good for business. But the man returned a month ago and now he’s wrestling the World Champion at Wrestlemania. As much as I hate Randy Orton, I would rather of seen him turn heel and be in that spot.

There were some bright spots in the match. Most noticeably, Mark Henry. The World’s Strongest Man eliminated both members of Team Hell No and then proceeded to introduce the remaining contestants into the “Hall of Pain” after he was eliminated. Even as a heel, Henry seemed to have massive crowd support behind him. It was good to see him continue to be booked like a monster. Hopefully he can get back on the role he was on before he was injured last year.Also,  Jericho also looked strong in this match. I’m not sure what’s next for him but hopefully he starts a solid Mania feud tonight on RAW.

The Shield defeats John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus

There were high expectations going into this match after The Shield’s extremely strong debut at the Tables, Ladders and Chairs PPV, and they delivered again. Big time. It doesn’t get any bigger than defeating the three biggest faces in the middle of the ring, seeing as Sheamus and Cena especially rarely lose. Having Reigns, Ambrose and Rollins go over clean is significant. It’s clear that the WWE creative team is solidly behind the young trio and we should expect big things from them in the future.

The match itself was great. I was worried about how The Shield would do in a structured 3 on 3 tag match, as opposed to the tornado tag style at TLC PPV where all three members could be in the ring at the same time.

Highlight include a Roman Reigns spear through the barricade on Sheamus. Even though we’ve seen it before, it was still impressive as hell. It’s a good thing Lillian Garcia moved out of the way when she did or else that spot could have ended badly. In an interesting note, on commentary, JBL called The Shield the greatest three man group of all time. I feel like this was a deliberate slap in the face to the NWO. The comparisons between the two groups are easy to come by, but let’s take a step back before we start putting The Shield into the conversation with the greatest wrestling stable of all time.

The interesting question is; where do these wrestlers go from here? Obviously John Cena will be main eventing Wrestlemania with the Rock. But what about Sheamus and Ryback? Some recent rumors have Ryback taking on Mark Henry. I would look forward to this match very much. For the moment, Sheamus doesn’t have an obvious opponent at Wrestlemania. Another question is where does The Shield go from here? They are 2-0 in sanctioned competition. They have destroyed everyone they have come in contact with and they have defeated the top three current superstars in the business. What is left for them to do?

Dolph Ziggler defeats Kofi Kingston

What was the point of this match? I’m all for Dolph Ziggler getting a PPV paycheck, and I’ll never complain about getting to see AJ in HD, but seriously, this “match” accomplished nothing. Dolph nailed the Zig Zag after about 2 minutes and Big E Langston hit his finisher after the match but this was a waste of 10 minutes of pay per view time. It seemed like this entire segment’s only purpose was to give Ziggler something to do and make sure the fans didn’t forget about him. The only thing it did for me was remind me that he still has the Money in the Bank contract and at this point doesn’t appear close to cashing it in anytime soon.

WWE Divas Title Match: Kaitlyn defeats Tamina Snuka

Alright, truth time. I didn’t watch this match. During this match I spent my time trying to find a good copy of last night’s episode of “The Walking Dead.” In case anyone cares, I was successful. And what a final 10 minutes! After finding my download, I switched back in time to watch Kaitlyn spear Tamina and retain her title. I honestly could care less about the women’s division right now, but I am digging Kaitlyn using the spear as her finisher. Now that she defended her title against Tamina she can rest up before wrestling arbitrarily against Funkadactyl number 2 or whoever in a month. Did I mention the women’s division sucks?

(Editor’s Note: I did watch this match. It was awful. The End.)

WWE Title Match: The Rock defeats CM Punk

We knew who the winner of this match would be, but we didn’t know how we would get there. That all being said, I enjoyed the ride.

This was a great match between the two, far superior to their match at Royal Rumble. As much as I hate the Rock for only coming back to win the title, promote movies and trend on Twitter, I respect him still being able to perform at a high level in the ring. The Rock has never been a “ring technician” but he has always been able to tell a story in the ring. CM Punk carried him in this match, but the result was a very entertaining match up.

In another note, the Spanish announce table sells less than John Cena. Something has to be done about these announcer table spots. Either the table breaks too easily before the move is properly executed, or the table doesn’t break. Here’s an example of a proper announcer table spot.


PPV Grade: C +

Final Thoughts: In my opinion, the two most important matches on the card delivered. Rock/Punk was very good and The Shield vs the Super Friends was great. After these two matches there was a steep drop off. My biggest complaint is that the PPV did a poor job putting us on track for Wrestlemania. The biggest event of the year is weeks away and we have the Rock vs John Cena and Alberto Del Rio vs Jack Swagger scheduled. Hopefully RAW tonight offers us some insight on the rest of the Wrestlemania card.

Stay tuned for future columns. Feedback always welcomed.

Twitter: @TheRAWLibrarian

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