michael dworkis reviews the last wwe ppv before ‘Mania …
Tonight was the WWE Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event, the last PPV until WrestleMania 28. Going into this event, Chris Jericho declared he would win the RAW Chamber match to reclaim his rightful championship and put an end to all the “Jericho wannabees” in WWE. On the SmackDown side Randy Orton suffered a concussion and was pulled from their Chamber match. To determine who would take his spot, a battle royal was held just this past Friday night on SmackDown. The winner was one Santino Marella, who eliminated the last three participants. Kane and John Cena fight in an Ambulance Match, and the Divas title on line as Beth Phoenix defends the title against Tamina Snuka. Did our champions retain or were new champions crowned? Read on.
CM Punk retains the WWE Title in the RAW Elimination Chamber Match (defeating Chris Jericho, Kofi Kingston, The Miz, R-Truth and Dolph Ziggler)
In a match lasting about 30 minutes, CM Punk managed to hold onto his title. Also including R-Truth, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, and Chris Jericho, this match proved that a guy like Kofi Kingston can hang in the main event spot. Truth was first to be eliminated from the match. Surprisingly, Ziggler was second to leave the match after Jericho, earning the final entry into the match, eliminated him with his signature Codebreaker. Jericho hid inside his pod to escape Punk, and then used the pod door as a weapon to gain the advantage. Kofi hit a splash off the top of a pod, but could not eliminate any superstars. Kofi attempted a flying kick to Jericho, but got caught and trapped in The Walls. Nowhere to go, Kofi kicked out. Jericho, enraged continued to beat down on Kofi, even throwing him out the door to the chamber. That proved to be a blunder as Punk superkicked Jericho in the back of the head, causing him to fall unconscious to the floor as well. With Jericho down, Punk and Miz fought tooth-and-nail, but no matter how hard Miz tried to set Punk up for the Skull Crushing Finale, an overzealous Miz tried smashing Punk in the corner, only to crash into the pod door. Punk scooped up the dazed Miz, hit the Go To Sleep, and Punk successfully retained the title.
Beth Phoenix retains the Divas Title (defeating Tamina Snuka)
I lifted my boycott of the Diva Division as we finally get a match with women who know how to perform. I do not mean flip around and show off their asses like The Bellas or Kelly Kelly. Snuka and Phoenix had a match which could be better than some of the ones on SmackDown. Getting right to the good stuff, I have never seen it before and may never see it again, but The Glamazon took down Tamina off the corner with a top rope Superplex! Tamina Snuka fired up shortly after and blasted Beth with a series of chops and a corner splash which would make “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka proud! Tamina hit the Superfly Splash, but the Glamazon did not give up. Beth powered out and spiked Tamina with the Glam Slam, scoring the pinfall victory. I cannot remember the last time I heard the crowd fired up for a Divas match.
Before the next match, John Lauranitis came out and announced his play to become General Manager of both Raw and SmackDown. He has asked for the WWE Board of Directors to evaluate the performance of Teddy Long, since they evaluated his performance last week. Mark Henry, Alberto del Rio, and Christian all came out to support the move.
Up next was the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match, which meant the John Cena vs. Kane fight would be the main event.
Daniel Bryan retains the World Heavyweight Championship in the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match (defeating The Big Show, Santino Marella, The Great Khali and Wade Barrett)
Big Show and Wade Barrett started off the match. I love Wade Barrett. Yes, I am a fan of Big Show but you have to hand it to Barrett for being consistently one of the best heels WWE has today. Third man in was Cody Rhodes. Show has a lot of anger towards Bryan, since he took the title from him when cashing in his Money in the Bank case, and then found ways to weasel out of matches with the title in the weeks afterwards. Santino drew the fourth entry, and his hot streak ended after running into the brick wall that is the Big Show. The four men brawled until The Great Khali entered and floored Rhodes, Barrett, and Santino, but gets caught by a Big Show Spear. Three count, and Khali goes home! The Great Khali lasted ONE MINUTE. That has to be a Elimination Chamber record. Big Show has had enough. He does not wait for Daniel Bryan to enter, instead, he RIPS OFF THE TOP of the pod and CLIMBS IN. Yes! The Big Show is in the pod with Bryan! The clock ticks down and it is time for Bryan to officially enter the match, but instead of the door opening, Big Show THROWS BRYAN THROUGH IT! Good grief! Show is about to finish off the World Champion but a combined attack from Rhodes and Barrett overpower the giant and Show is eliminated! Rhodes celebrates his pinfall victory too soon as Santino sneaks up from behind and eliminates the Intercontinental Champion. I cannot believe Santino Marella is among the last three in the match. Barrett sends Santino to the mat, and then takes the fight to Bryan. Barrett hits the champ with a huge powerbomb onto the metal grating, and then smashed his head with a pod door. I have said it before, and I will say it again. Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett are two of the BEST in-ring workers WWE has right now. Back and forth action between the three until Barrett misses a corner clothesline and taken down! Bryan hits a diving headbutt and Barrett is gone! Are you kidding me?! It came down to Santino and the world champion! Santino had a quick volley of offensive moves, but soon fell prey to the LaBell Lock by Daniel Bryan. After a few minutes of struggling, the loud crowd in Milwaukee died down into saddened silence as Santino Marella tapped out.
Santino was a joke. He might still be. Last year, he was the final elimination from the first-ever 40-Man Royal Rumble. This year, he was last in the Chamber. You know what folks? This joke might be the next big thing. He is loved by the fans, and he really is a damn good wrestler. He might have lost this one, but I predict 2012 to be a good year for The Milan Miracle.
Before Daniel Bryan can celebrate, Sheamus makes his way to the ring, and clobbers the World Champion. Guess he made his choice. Now I predict CM Punk defending the WWE Title against Chris Jericho. I see two great title matches at ‘Mania!
I usually do not report on backstage segments, but this needs some attention. Hornswoggle is in catering with Natalya, and she winds up “cutting the cheese.” Alright. Enough already. This has gone on long enough. No, not Hornswoggle’s presence, this gimmick that has Natalya farting uncontrollably. THIS is a gimmick for a woman who can outwrestle Randy Orton or John Cena? This gimmick should have gone to Kelly Kelly, or one of the useless Divas. Not to Natalya. Bad call WWE, bad call.
Jack Swagger retains the United States Championship against Justin Gabriel
We got an impromptu match between United States Champion Jack Swagger and Justin Gabriel. This match has a history of three minutes when these two were found backstage arguing incoherently. A fast paced match with a fast conclusion, Swagger forces Gabriel to tap out to the Ankle Lock.
John Cena defeats Kane in an Ambulance Match
In case you were wondering about the rules … there are none. This is a standard No Disqualification match, but instead of pinfall or submission, you toss your opponent in the ambulance and shut the doors to win. This was a 20-minute brawl all over the arena. They beat each other up with wheelchairs, sound equipment, chairs, all but the kitchen sink. While the brawl was pretty intense, it really was not anything special. Maybe I am wrong, but it felt like watching two drunks stumbling around and throwing things at each other. I will admit that some parts appeared entertaining but overall not exciting. The end of the match saw Cena throw Kane off the top of the ambulance with the Attitude Adjustment, and then plop his lifeless carcass in the vehicle and shut the doors. If that was supposed to be the resolution between Cena and Kane, it did not feel like it. This was another “oh look, Cena overcame the odds … again” match.
Overall, not the best pay-per-view leading to WrestleMania, but not the worst. Up next is WrestleMania 28. The next six weeks will feature nothing but promos for The Rock versus John Cena. Daniel Bryan defends the World Title against Sheamus. CM Punk, will probably defend against Jericho. Jack Swagger will do his best Gary Busey impersonation. Santino Marella will get a Rocky montage. Kharma (Awesome Kong) will start eating Divas for breakfast. Orton will concuss himself again, and the horribleness that is The Great Khali is recognized with his one minute in the chamber.
The Undertaker is back and I am looking forward to what will probably be his final match in WWE. Whether he goes 20-0 or 19-1 this year, the appearance of The Deadman increases the excitement for WrestleMania. I could think of no one better than Triple H for his possible final match. Look for Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, Zack Ryder, Santino Marella and Brodus Clay to be the big players in 2012.