Monday, February 21, 2011

WWE Elimination Chamber 2011 Review

WWE has left me scratching my head the last year or so, they've been puttting on terrific PPVs, but for the most part, they've been slacking on the build to the PPV. Buyrates have been down, so you'd think they'd work harder to hype them up, but the product continues to deliver, so is it worth it if the end result is still excellent? Elimination Chamber wasn't hyped particularly well, but did the show deliver? Let's take a look.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston in a non-title match was our opening contest and admittedly, I wasn't all that excited for it. I was excited when the mini feud started after the Royal Rumble, but quickly lost interest when Del Rio made Kofi tap out so easily last week on Smackdown. Well, never underestimate the power of a hot crowd and two excellent performers, because these guys put on a hell of an opening bout. Kofi had some incredible offense like his diving Superman punch and his sky high missile dropkick, but it just wasn't enough to stop the #1 contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. Alberto Del Rio continued his roll, making Kofi tap out once again to the Aristocratic Cross Armbreaker. Hopefully if Del Rio walks out of WrestleMania with the World Championship, Kofi will be in line for a shot, I think these two could have a great feud through the summer.
Predictions: 1 for 1

Smackdown Elimination Chamber was up next, which I thought was surprising since it was for the World Heavyweight Championship, with Edge vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Kane vs. Wade Barrett vs. Big Show, who filled in for the fired Dolph Ziggler. I love Big Show, but was a little disappointed to see him filling in the mystery spot, especially since he didn't get to do much. When Big Show is used right, he's one of the most entertaining characters in the industry, but he was just there tonight.

And after that reveal, I got really concerned for this match, because at first, it d-r-a-g-g-e-d. I was extremely concerned since it looked like a one-on-one match between two guys who just wrestled 10 days ago was going to be more exciting than an Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship.

But then, Drew McIntyre entered the match.

I never thought I'd type this sentence but, the match really picked up once Drew McIntyre got involved. McIntyre came in a proverbial house of fire, showing a level of intensity I've never seen from him before, it was like they told him to go out there and wrestle like his job depended on it. It was also around this time that Rey Mysterio became everyone's personal pinball, bouncing around between every pod, getting thrown into the plexiglass... sorry, THE MOST POWERFUL GLASS ON PLANET EARTH, and he's lucky if he escaped from this match without a concussion. And how about Edge throwing a Flying Elbow Drop? He earned the rights to it after doing that Slim Jim commercial.

It came down to Edge, Mysterio and ugh, Kane, who went on a rampage after getting eliminated. Really? Do we need to see Kane snap and chokeslam everyone yet again? He got pinned, get him the hell out of the ring. Anyway, minor gripe, because once it came down to Edge and Mysterio, things got really special. These two had an awesome finale to the Raw Elimination Chamber in 2009 and at that point, I thought it was the best ending in the history of the match... until tonight. I've seen Rey and Edge have some good matches in the past, but something about putting these guys together in a giant birdcage just brings out the absolute best in them.

I do not get why people hate on Rey Mysterio, how anyone could watch the final moments of this match and not be on the edge of their seat, I do not know. Absolutely fantastic stuff and made this easily the Match of the Night. Incredible build throughout the match that culminated with a fantastic performance and Edge retaining the World Championship. Huge thumbs up.

Alberto Del Rio attacked Edge after the match, setting up WrestleMania nicely, but then CAPTAIN CHARISMA, CHRISTIAN made his return and saved his best friend from the man that put him on the shelf. WWE, I don't ask for much, I buy every PPV (no streaming here!), I go to your shows at least twice a year, but can I please get a Triple Threat match at WrestleMania? Christian vs. Edge vs. Del Rio would be a blast.
Predictions: 2 for 2

Jerry Lawler's promo backstage was so good. Genuine emotion, genuinely moving.

Little bit of a cool down period with Booker T announcing the newest trainer for the return of Tough Enough... Trish Stratus! Trish cut the dorkiest promo ever, but we love her anyway, even if she's not The Rock or Booker T. Excited to see Trish back for Tough Enough, she'll be a great mentor for the female competitors.

Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel defeated Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov for the Tag Team Titles. I figure I wrote enough for the Smackdown Chamber, I can get away with leaving it pretty much at that. WWE needs more tag teams, that's not news, maybe they'll get back to something as half as good as 2009 with this transition. And say what you will about Kozlov, but his offense looked particularly rough tonight. Still, I'd buy Big Zeke & Tamina as tag champs before these other two teams, just saying.
Predictions: n/a

Vickie Guerrero was out next, with the saddest "excuse me" ever. I felt bad for Vickie, just trying to get her boyfriend Dolph Ziggler rehired, but instead, Teddy Long rehired Kelly Kelly to come beat up a 42-year-old mother of two. What a hero. LayCool tried to make the save, but was stopped by Trish Stratus, who did her best to kick ass in six-inch heels. Trish & Natalya vs. LayCool at WrestleMania, perhaps?

The Miz vs. Jerry "The King" Lawler was the match I was most excited for this evening, the most exciting story WWE's told in years, the kind of match that makes you raise an eyebrow when you see it on paper, but its execution is perfect. You can't manufacture the kind of emotion going into this match and Lawler showed why he's still one of the greatest storytellers in WWE today. I know a lot of people moaned about Miz being "saddled" with Lawler instead of working with active performers, but Lawler did more for Miz in this feud than any top star in WWE could have. WWE lucked into it, but they told a hell of a story here, and The Miz shattering Lawler's dreams of being WWE Champion and going to WrestleMania was an absolutely heatbreaking ending. Would've loved to see Lawler get a brief 24-hour reign, but that's emotion like only pro wrestling can provide.
Predictions: 3 for 3

Main Event time! Raw Elimination Chamber - John Cena vs. R-Truth vs. CM Punk vs. Randy Orton vs. Sheamus vs. John Morrison wasn't as good as the Smackdown Elimination Chamber, but it also didn't drag in the beginning. Stayed fun the entire way through thanks to the red hot Oakland crowd.

I LOVED the bit with CM Punk's pod malfunctioning, getting RKO'd, eliminated, only to be saved by The G?M because Randy Orton is cowardly cheater who attacks men when they're not ready. Wouldn't be surprised if CM Punk came up with that bit himself just to troll the smarks who were screaming "zOMG PUNK IS BURIED! WWE SUX!" for twenty seconds.

R-Truth wasn't in the match long, but I liked what I saw from him. He showed some aggression I've never seen from him and if he stuck with this style and did less of the goofy, fun-loving, Mr. Smiles stuff, there might be something there.

Randy Orton getting eliminated early was marvelous. Helped the entire pace of the match from being dragged down by Orton's super stompy offense.

John Morrison. Need I say more? Dude was Spider-Man in there, climbing and bouncing off the walls of the Chamber, and then climbing the roof of it, all the way to the middle and falling right on top of Sheamus from way up high. INSANE! Don't want to limit Morrison to just that one big moment though, he was truly the MVP of this match, once again defied logic and showed why he deserves a spot at the top.

CM Punk was pretty close to the MVP of the match though, between his fake elimination, to eliminating Orton with a GTS, and sacrificing his body for our entertainment... did you see his leg at the end of the match? Looked like he was resting it on a grill, my best buddy even referred to it as "Burger King Leg."

Of course, John Cena won the Chamber after hitting Punk with an Attitude Adjustment on the steel, which isn't surprising, but it's the most logical step. It's going to be Cena vs. Miz with involvement from The Rock, Rock pretty much told us that on Monday. I'm all for it, and I think they're going to surprise us with a true big match vibe.
Predictions: 4 for 4 (WOO!)

I loved this PPV. Slowed down a bit after the Smackdown Chamber, but picked right back up with Lawler vs. The Miz and the four advertised matches delivered big time. In fact, all four exceeded expectations and really, my only real gripe on the show is ending with a Cena win was unsurprising and a tad anticlimactic, but that's really a minor complaint. Honestly, there was no other way to end the show, Edge retaining the World Title isn't exactly a shocker, so unless Lawler walked out WWE Champ, ending with Cena was their best option. The landscape of WWE hasn't changed dramatically or anything, but there was great wrestling on this show and the stage is set for WrestleMania 27. Thumbs up!

It's Good to Be the King...SometimesWWE: Satan's Prison - The Anthology of the Elimination ChamberWWE: Top 50 Superstars of All Time

4 comments:

  1. yessss.....Captain Charisma is back.....i really hope d WWE will give him a shot at the World or WWE championship soon.....hes one of d underrated superstars and one of deir best performers...

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  2. Aside from Christian's return and JoMo's Shining Wizard Drop (it looked like he landed on Sheamus's head knee first), the highlight of the night was King throwing The Miz into Michael Cole. When Cole is off commentary, even for a few minutes, the overall quality of commentary goes up exponentially.

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  3. While I liked the show overall, I'm really worried about what they are going to do with the King's storyline going forward. I know he can still get his Wrestlemania moment by punching out Cole, but a lot of this feud was based on the fact that Lawler had never won a World title either. I'm pretty sure you talked about how at Wrestlemania they always wanted to send the fans home happy whether it was the good guy keeping his title or finally completing the chase for gold. I just hope they let Lawler get to the finish line at least once instead of leaving it to the fact that he just couldn't finish the job.

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  4. I don't think Lawler will get the WWE Title, it'll be like Flair's run with his last run, but I do think he'll finally get a match at WrestleMania, which I'm pretty sure is all Lawler has wanted for the last 18 years.

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