Whichever set of circumstances, it made Vince McMahon uneasy enough to play his 'gimmick' card and call on the Elimination Chamber to save the day.

By adding four other competitors and a big black cage to the mix, it's felt they can tell a strong physical story in the ring, cover up Goldberg's weaknesses and Triple H's injury and hopefully create enough hype and curiosity to pop a big buyrate.

This obviously means the Jericho vs. Nash and Michaels vs. Orton singles matches have been wiped from the Summerslam card and are being rescheduled.

Jericho and Nash will now duke it out a few weeks early in a hair vs. hair match on Monday's Raw (Nash is due to lose the match -- and his locks -- because he needs short hair for an upcoming movie role).

Michaels and Orton were also set for a Summerslam clash but they'll probably hold off until the next pay-per-view to blow off their feud.
" />


 

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   Sat, August 9, 2003



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Celling point


When in doubt, make it 'Hell In A Cell.' It's a slogan that's probably engraved on a plaque above Vince McMahon's desk because it seems every time a pay-per-view main event looks set to stink up the building, WWE bosses dust off the cell structure and hope the ominous cage and the spirit of Mick Foley will carry the match to a passable level.

Unfortunately, the Hell In A Cell has already been dragged out of storage this year to save the Triple H-Kevin Nash travesty, so when the buzzards started circling above Hunter's match with Goldberg at Summerslam, wrestling execs knew they needed something bigger to make this one worth watching.

Cue the Elimination Chamber -- a jacked-up version of the tried-and-tested cell gimmick, with more than a few elements of WCW's War Games thrown in for good measure. The Chamber debuted at Survivor Series last November as a way to add a little extra something to Shawn Michaels' world title war with Triple H -- it's funny how Triple H is invariably involved in matches that need a gimmick to save them.

Two wrestlers start the bout by entering the cage-like structure, while another four competitors are suspended in plexiglass chambers around the ring.

Every five minutes, one of the chambers 'randomly' opens and the next grappler can jump into the fray. Competitors are eliminated by pinfall or submission, with the last man standing being declared the new (or retaining) world champion.

Obviously, The Game and Bill Goldberg can't fill the six-man gimmick cage alone, so the match has now been expanded to absorb the two semi-main events, with Michaels, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho and Kevin Nash all joining in the battle for the world championship.

The multi-angle collision will be the Raw half of the Summerslam event in Phoenix, Aug. 24.

The big question is why WWE would drop the one-on-one bout between Triple H and Goldberg in the first place, especially since first-run singles clashes always draw bigger buy-rates than a cluster of storylines tangled up in one big mismatch.

McMahon's team obviously felt they were justified in pulling the plug on the money match but the exact reason depends on who you're inclined to believe.

The most likely explanation for the lineup switch is Triple H's latest ailment, a groin injury he sustained during a bonus match with Goldberg after Raw went off the air last week.

At full health and with no cameras rolling, Triple H had a tough time carrying the relatively-green Goldberg to a decent match, so I imagine he was less than thrilled with the idea of trying to pull off a pay-per-view quality main event on live TV with a painful injury to boot.

Of course, there are other possible factors that could have affected the change, including a wariness of Goldberg's inability to protect his opponents (just ask Bret Hart), WWE's lack of faith in his money-drawing potential (Linda McMahon described him as "a disappointment") and the rumoured bad blood over his unavailability for the Australian tour.

Whichever set of circumstances, it made Vince McMahon uneasy enough to play his 'gimmick' card and call on the Elimination Chamber to save the day.

By adding four other competitors and a big black cage to the mix, it's felt they can tell a strong physical story in the ring, cover up Goldberg's weaknesses and Triple H's injury and hopefully create enough hype and curiosity to pop a big buyrate.

This obviously means the Jericho vs. Nash and Michaels vs. Orton singles matches have been wiped from the Summerslam card and are being rescheduled.

Jericho and Nash will now duke it out a few weeks early in a hair vs. hair match on Monday's Raw (Nash is due to lose the match -- and his locks -- because he needs short hair for an upcoming movie role).

Michaels and Orton were also set for a Summerslam clash but they'll probably hold off until the next pay-per-view to blow off their feud.