Much like last month, Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show for the World Championship kicked off the show, but this time the story going in was Del Rio hadn't pinned Show yet, he'd only won in Last Man Standing matches. Well, isn't that more impressive, keeping someone down for 10 instead of just 3? It turned out to be moot since Del Rio made Show tap to the Cross Armbreaker, which should be the most impressive victory yet. It's one thing to drop a table on a guy or keep him down for a pin, but Del Rio took the World's Largest Athlete to the point where he had to quit.
I really liked the match, these two have great chemistry and have managed to keep it enjoyable three times now. If that doesn't tell you how improved these guys are, do you really think they could've got three awesome matches out of heel Del Rio and face Big Show in 2010 or 2011? I'm kinda sad to see them go their separate ways into WrestleMania.
Antonio Cesaro vs. The Miz for the US Title was the most engaging this feud has been so far, but damn, that ending was horrible. I get keeping Miz strong since working hurt is really getting the crowd behind him and Cesaro doing the
The Elimination Chamber started off slow, but once Mark Henry was unleashed and wigs got split, it was awesome. Honestly, I could watch Henry just beat the shit out of people for two hours straight, they should make it an entire episode of Smackdown sometime. I was shocked and appalled when he was eliminated, but at least he got to come back in and split the wigs of the remaining wigged participants.
There was no over the top insanity in this Chamber match, but I thought it worked for what it was. Although Jack Swagger stealing the win with a schoolboy on Orton was pretty weak, especially with it being a fairly hard hitting match. What, the dude can't hit a Gutwrench Powerbomb for the win? Obviously the point here is to get Swagger vs. Del Rio with 48 days of anti-Mexican racism from Zeb Colter, but I'm not sure I'm buying it. Don't get me wrong, Teabagger Swagger has potential, but this is a guy that hasn't really done anything for two years. Anyone can be reinvented, but it's WrestleMania time, I feel like he's just a means to an end: Del Rio finishes the job for Obama and defeats racism forever, but Ziggler becomes the first guy to cash-in at Mania and rob him of his moment. Mark it down, I called it tonight.
The Shield vs. The Super Friends was my pick for Match of the Night. It was shorter than I expected it to be, but The Shield was legitimized tonight. No half-assing it like The Nexus, no winning after ten tons of bullshit like the nWo, these guys just came in, went toe-to-toe with John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus, and left them beaten. Clean. 1-2-3. The best part of the match was they looked like a team, a crew with a purpose, even if their motivations have been a bit flimsy over the last few weeks, they made up for it tonight. I'm not sure what the endgame is for The Shield or where they go from here, but these guys have arrived.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston is something I would like to never have to write again. Match was pure filler, but at least Ice Train mugging Kofi after the match was amusing.
Divas Title Match - lol.
CM Punk vs. The Rock for the WWE Title was, unfortunately, not up there with their match last month. I know where they were going with it - Punk was doing his anti-everything shtick and trying to deprive The Rock of the power of the crowd by keeping the pace slow, but it really took awhile for the match to get going. It wasn't without highlight though, Punk hitting the Rock Bottom on the reinforced Spanish Announce Table was pretty gross and Heyman was spectacular as always, but I was taken back out once the shenanigans started. Punk still has a legitimate claim at the title - he pinned The Rock in the center of the ring, but there was no ref, then The Rock eventually managed to eek out a win... that's not what good guys do! That's how good guys lose the belt - have it in the bag, but someone else's screw up allows the baddie to take advantage. Again, this isn't the guy I want to cheer for!
It's gotta be a Triple Threat at Mania, right? Besides the fact I have no idea what else Punk would do, he has been screwed out of the WWE Championship two matches in a row now. Sure, he cheated at the Rumble and tried to cheat tonight, but The Rock just can't seem to put him away without controversy, can he? It only makes sense to settle it in a match with no rules and the only outcome is a pinfall or submission.
But at the same time, the table has been set for Rock/Cena II for a year now. I know people love to poke fun at the "Twice in a Lifetime" thing, but if you didn't think a rematch was happening immediately after Rock won last year, you must be new at this.
And perhaps that's my issue with tonight, I don't really know what's happening at Mania. Usually at this time, a picture has come together, but as of now, the only match that is set in stone in Del Rio vs. Swagger. The WWE Title situation is still a little murky, Lesnar's opponent is probably Triple H, but we haven't got any significant hint there and who knows what, if anything, The Undertaker will do. And those are just the marquee matches, what about Ziggler, Ryback, The Shield, Sheamus, Orton, Bryan, Big Show, Mark Henry, Jericho, Barrett, Miz, Mysterio? Tonight was a rock solid PPV, but there's still a lot of work to do in the next 48 days.