It’s always tricky trying to anticipate what might happen at Elimination Chamber since it sits between two of the WWE’s biggest events in any given year. Suffice it to say that the WWE must find it difficult to put together as well, because Sunday’s show in Milwaukee had a serious case of multiple personality disorder.
Amazingly, the night’s presumed marquee attraction, the Elimination Chamber Match for CM Punk’s WWE Championship, led off the show. That in itself wasn’t bad, as the crowd at the Bradley Center were treated to solid action, some creative spots by Kofi Kingston and some added intrigue in the form of a storyline injury that knocked Punk’s chief rival Chris Jericho out of the match.
What followed next was nearly 45 minutes of monotony with Beth Phoenix’s defense of her Divas Championship as the only in-ring action. Several backstage segments showed Santino Marella emulating Rocky in training for the other Chamber Match. A lengthy video showed John Cena training for WrestleMania. Valuable time was wasted having heel wrestlers campaign for John Laurinaitis to take over both WWE programs.
All of the above was the type of content people expect to see on free TV, not after paying their hard earned money. Add in a U.S. Title defense by Jack Swagger that seemed to be shoehorned into the card and it’s not hard to imagine some restless fans in the live audience.
Fortunately, the other two big matches saved the event from descending into train wreck territory. The SmackDown Elimination Chamber Match started out slowly but featured a very cool sequence that saw Big Show literally tearing apart one of the pods to go after Daniel Bryan. The addition of Marella for an injured Randy Orton turned out to be a stroke of genius, as he temporarily transcended his comedy gimmick to provide some real drama before coming up just short against Bryan.
The main event provided what appeared to be closure to the Cena-Kane feud. The Big Red Machine had been tormenting Cena for weeks, attempting to get him to “embrace his hate” prior to his showdown with The Rock at WrestleMania XXVIII. Since the only way to win on Sunday was to shove the other wrestler into the back of an ambulance, the match figured to be a possible feud-ender.
The two enemies wasted no time battling back toward the ambulance, where a back board and other foreign objects came into play. Cena bounced Kane off the steel steps, but the Big Red Machine took control as they re-entered the ring. He stopped Cena’s momentum with a side slam and flew off the top rope, but Cena nailed him on the knee with a low dropkick.
A Five Knuckle Shuffle loomed, though Kane snuffed it out by smothering Cena with his glove. Kane pulled Cena out to the floor, where a wheelchair was conveniently waiting underneath the ring. Both men used the chair as a weapon and a means to take the fight back away from the ring.
A DVD player, a laptop, a steel chair and a TV monitor all got drafted into the action. After blasting Kane with the steel steps multiple times, Cena carried him up the steps. But he saw his move reversed, taking a choke slam through the Spanish announce table.
Cena kept taking a beating, eventually winding up on a gurney. Kane stuffed him in the back of the ambulance, but Cena used his feet to keep the door from being closed.
The bitter enemies battled their way up to the top of the ambulance, where Cena delivered an Attitude Adjustment that sent Kane all the way to the ground (though out of sight, so viewers couldn’t see his landing). Cena managed to drag Kane into the ambulance, which drove away, sirens blaring, to give the much maligned superstar the last laugh for now.
The next WWE pay-per-view is WrestleMania XXVIII on April 1.
To keep thing straight, Nick’s comments appear in plain type while Dale’s observations are in italics. Count up all the words and see if the division of labor is equitable!
CM Punk (Champion) vs. Chris Jericho (challenger) vs. The Miz (challenger) vs. R Truth (challenger) vs. Dolph Ziggler (challenger) vs. Kofi Kingston (challenger) – Elimination Chamber WWE Championship Match
Punk starts things off with Kingston. Kofi makes a nice save the first time he’s hurled to the outside. He earns several near falls while showing off his athletic ability. Punk is the first to hit the metal, but Kingston gets the first face full of Lexan. Ziggler is the third man in, showing off by doing pull-ups on the cage. He manages to get out of the way with Punk and Kingston jumping from opposite corners, causing those two wrestlers to collide in mid-air. Truth is the fourth entrant and almost the first person out following a superplex from Punk. The champ dodges Trouble in Paradise and hurls Kington to the outside. Taunting Jericho (still in his chamber), Punk drops the big elbow to pin Truth just before the 12-minute mark. Kingston hits Trouble In Paradise, but Ziggler delays him just long enough to allow Punk to kick out of the cover. Kofi plays Spider-Man by grabbing the cage, then dropping off of it to DDT Ziggler on the metal. Miz enters fifth to find all of his foes already shaken up, and he unsuccessfully tries to pin Ziggler. Punk and Miz trade near falls until the champ gets the Anaconda Vice locked in. The arrival of Jericho saves Miz from tapping, and Punk and Jericho go toe-to-toe. A Lionsault forces Punk to kick out at two, but it’s Ziggler who is eliminated just after the 19-minute mark courtesy of a Codebreaker. Punk and Jericho battle into one of the chambers with the champ taking the worst of it. Jericho eventually falls victim to the numbers game, allowing Kingston to fly from the top of a pod to take out Punk and Ziggler. Jericho sneaks in to place Kingston in the Walls of Jericho, making him tap out around the 25-minute mark. The refs open up the chamber door to allow Kingston to leave, aided by a shove from Jericho. But Punk takes advantage by nailing Jericho from behind with a kick that knocks him into some camera equipment, and officials decide that he’s too injured to continue. The match is still on, though, and Punk gets a two count on Miz with a kick to the head. A high knee and running bulldog combo earn Punk another near fall, but he’s caught coming off the top rope with a Skull Crushing Finale. To Miz’s dismay, Punk kicks out at two. After bouncing Miz off one of the pods, Punk connects with the GTS to pin Miz and retain his title.
Winner… and still WWE Champion… CM Punk at 32 minutes and 35 seconds
Match Rating: 8/10
Santino is channeling his inner Rocky to get ready for the Chamber. The raw eggs don’t go down too smooth.
Hilarity ensues. Or something.
Beth Phoenix (Champion) vs. Tamina Snuka (challenger) – Divas Championship Match
Phoenix sends Snuka out to floor hard early on, then punishes her on the mat. Tamina rallies and tries to go up top, but Beth meets here there and drops her back down with a superplex. Snuka fires back with a superkick and hits her version of the Superfly Splash, only to have Phoenix kick out at two. Phoenix rolls out of the ring to prevent Snuka from trying it again, then returns to pin Snuka with a Glam Slam. That was actually… not that bad for a WWE women’s match. That’s sort of sexist to say. Deal with it.
Winner… and still Divas Champion… Beth Phoenix at 7 minutes and 17 seconds
Match Rating: 4/10
Santino must have rented Rocky this weekend, because now he is beating up a ham to get ready for the Elimination Chamber.
Josh Mathews says he hopes to get a word with Jericho later. Meanwhile, John Laurinaitis and David Otunga enter the ring to a chorus of boos. The interim GM boasts about the fact that he’s getting to keep his job, and states that he believes SmackDown head honcho Teddy Long should be subject to the same scrutiny. Any further explanations are interrupted by the arrival of Alberto Del Rio in a convertible Excalibur, and he suggests that Johnny Ace be made the permanent GM of both shows. The World’s Strongest Man, Mark Henry, comes to the ring to call Long a bully, and he plays advocate for Laurinaitis as well. Christian also joins the party, ridiculing Orton for faking an injury and making a direct plea to the Board to have Laurinaitis take over SmackDown. Otunga takes a picture of the heels posing together. Outside, Santino runs by the stairs and plays the air trombone. Yeah, it’s like Rocky. We get it. #thisbelongsonrawnotppv
Santino, you’re supposed to run up the steps, not in front of them! Josh Mathews speaks with Big Show about having to win tonight to enter WrestleMania as champion, since his WrestleMania record is less than stellar. Show says he is walking out World Heavyweight Champion.
Daniel Bryan (Champion) vs. The Great Khali(challenger) vs. Cody Rhodes (challenger) vs. Santino Marella (challenger) vs. Wade Barrett (challenger) vs. The Big Show (challenger) – Elimination Chamber World Heavyweight Championship Match
Barrett and Big Show start things off, with Barrett smashing Show into the steel cage. Show tosses Barrett over the top rope, crashing onto the metal grate. Cody Rhodes is the next man in and is immediately sent crashing to the metal floor. Show then throws Rhodes into cage. Barrett shoots off the ropes, hitting Show high and Rhodes targets the big man low to send him to the mat. Santino enters the chamber, and after taking down Barrett, he walks right into Show. Rhodes and Barrett team up for a suplex on the metal floor. Rhodes gets a near fall on Barrett after a moonsault from on top of a pod. The Great Khali makes his entrance, hitting the Punjabi Plunge on Rhodes and Barrett. Show spears Khali, pinning him for the match’s first elimination. With everyone down, Show stares down Bryan in his pod. Show starts to break the chains on top of the pod to get at the champ. Big Show breaks into the pod and beats down Bryan. The champ’s pod finally opens, and Bryan is able to escape for a moment. Show whips through the side of a pod, smashing through the plexiglass. Show choke slams Bryan, but only gets a boot upside the head from Barrett. Rhodes springboards off the ropes to kick Show in the head, then follows up with one off the cage. Barrett hits Show with an elbow, allowing Cody to get the pin. Rhodes celebrates too much, allowing Santino to roll him up and get the pin. Rhodes is a sore loser, nailing Santino with the Cross Rhodes. Barrett can’t get the easy pin, as Santino kicks out. Barrett locks Santino’s arms into the chain link cage and kicks him in the head. After a blown spot, Bryan can’t get the cross arm breaker on Barrett, who then power bombs the champ into the cage. Barrett gets preoccupied with Santino, allowing Bryan to hit a flying knee. Santino rolls away from a flying Barrett, allowing Bryan to head butt the Englishman, and Santino covers to get the pin. Bryan toys with the overmatched Santino, but crashes and burns in the corner as Santino ducks a flying kick. Santino rolls away from a diving head butt and pulls out the Cobra. Santino strikes with the Cobra, but Bryan kicks out at two. Bryan applies the LeBell Lock. Santino tries to power out, but eventually succumbs and taps.
Winner… and still WWE Champion… Daniel Bryan at 34 minutes and 4 seconds
Match Rating: 9/10
After the bell, Royal Rumble winner Sheamus hits the ring and slams the champ to the mat.
Hornswoggle loves cheese, and he asks Natalya to cut it. And that’s how WWE follows up the great ending of the Elimination Chamber Match. Justin Gabriel stops Jack Swagger from picking on the little guy, so Teddy Long books them in a match, tonight. Long says he should be running both shows, and now Swagger must also defend his U.S. title.
Natalya. Hornswoggle. Fart jokes. Also a cottage cheese joke at Vickie Gurrero’s expense. #thisshouldbeonrawnotppv
Jack Swagger (champion) with Vickie Guerrero vs. Justin Gabriel (challenger) with Hornswoggle – United States Match
Gabriel connects with a cross body springboarding off the ropes and then corkscrews over the top rope to hit Swagger on the floor. Gabriel rolls Swagger into the ring, but Swagger is able to apply the ankle lock. Gabriel taps.
Winner … and still U.S. Champion … Jack Swagger at 3 minutes and 6 seconds
Match Rating: 2/10
John Cena vs. Kane – Ambulance Match
Winner … John Cena at 21 minute and 30 seconds.
Match Rating: 4/10
Total Event Time: 2 hours and 47 minutes
Event Rating: 5/10
Dale and Nick understand the WWE wanted people to tweet with the hashtag #chamber during this show, but they also felt the hashtag #chamberpot would have been more appropriate for some of the worst parts. Discuss this with Dale at [email protected] or Nick at [email protected].