February 20, 2011
Elimination Chamber mostly eliminates dramatic intrigue
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling
Bret Hart. Doink. Tazz. Jerry “The King” Lawler’s time in the WWE has been marked with a legendary knack for being a pain in the neck for wrestlers such as those above, but never for being a credible in-ring threat against them. Will tonight be any different? Will Lawler prove to be more than annoying for The Miz and actually wrest the WWE Championship from him? The futures of the two heavyweight championships also hang in the balance of two Elimination Chamber matches, tonight from Oakland, CA.
Booker T, Josh Matthews, and Michael Cole bring us the action as the Smackdown crew covers for Jerry Lawler while he prepares for his match later tonight.
John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. King Sheamus vs. John Morrison vs. R-Truth vs. CM Punk – Elimination Chamber Match for the #1 Contender’s Spot to the WWE Championship
Orton, Truth, Punk (who takes a moment to taunt Orton specifically), and Cena who are ushered into the pods. Therefore, King Sheamus starts off with John Morrison – did Michael Cole just ask Booker T about Morrison’s hardcore style? The two quickly renew their recent hostilities, as Morrison plays Spider-Man again and leaps off the steel mesh with a kick to Sheamus’ head. Orton joins the fray and makes a case for the WWE to ask for a refund on the plexiglass as he shatters another pod with Morrison’s unwilling help.
The next one in is CM Punk – sort of. His door opens just enough for him to poke his head through but he can’t get all the way out. Orton attacks him and drops him with an RKO to count him out. The Raw GM sends a quick email and re-inserts Punk into the match – technically back into his pod (which is a little sketchy). Instead, Cena is the next one in and takes a boot from Sheamus as soon as the door opens. Nothing much happens until R-Truth emerges for his short night, taking a Brogue Kick and being pinned before he even knows what’s up.
CM Punk finally emerges (again), taking out a major favourite by eliminating Orton with his GTS. Booker T just all but nominated King Sheamus for the Hall of Fame – tell me he did not just say that. Morrison climbs upside down along the top of the cage, dropping on top of Sheamus and knocking him out for the pinfall. Cena powers out of Punk’s Anaconda Vice and drops Morrison with an Attitude Adjustment. When Punk follows up with a GTS, that ends Morrison’s night, but Cena is right there to drop Punk with an AA onto the apron grate for the final pin.
Winner via pinfall and #1 Contender for the WWE Championship: John Cena
Rating: 7/10 for Punk’s gleeful wickedness and John Morrison's “always the bridesmaid” stand-out performance.
Kofi Kingston (champion) vs. Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio gets some mic time to start, knocking down Oakland and Kingston before the Intercontinental Champion has had enough and heads to the ring. Del Rio escapes into the ropes a couple of times as Kingston tries to build momentum, finally heading to the floor to consult with Ricardo Rodriguez. Kingston chases him back into the ring but Del Rio picks his spot wisely, running Kingston’s ribs into the ring-post while both are on the apron.
Del Rio clamps on a leg scissors to punish the ribs, but Kingston elbows his way out and the two start a slug-fest that Kingston wins. After a Boom Drop, Del Rio is primed for the Trouble in Paradise kick, but Del Rio sees it coming and ducks out of the way. Kingston tries for his cross-body off the top, but Del Rio leaps and meets Kingston in mid-air with his knees. Del Rio follows with a kind of Go-To-Sleep, delivering with his knees to Kingston’s gut. Kingston suffers valiantly in the Cross Arm-Breaker for a few moments before submitting.
Winner via submission: Alberto Del Rio
Randy Orton is backstage, thinking about something deep. Elsewhere, Todd Grisham has a few words with Edge, before Drew McIntyre of all people interrupts. He brings on the guilt trip over Kelly Kelly’s dismissal, which fails to get much sympathy from Edge.
Edge (champion) vs. Kane vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Wade Barrett vs. ? – Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
The question mark exists, of course, because Dolph Ziggler found himself suddenly unemployed at the end of the most recent Friday Night Smackdown. Entering the pods first are Kane, McIntyre, Barrett, and our mystery combatant as announced by Teddy Long: Big Show (an underwhelming choice); that leaves Rey Mysterio to start off with Edge. Both are trading shots evenly until Edge takes charge by back-dropping Mysterio over the top rope onto the steel, then running him meaningfully into Kane’s pod. Barrett is then the first to join the fight and finds himself the victim of a short cooperative effort by Edge and Mysterio. Edge then throws Mysterio painfully across the mat, over the steel and into the steel mesh, but Mysterio soon gets Barrett on the ropes and starts his 619 run, only to find Edge’s boot awaiting him.
Into this ring of roughed-up wrestlers, Kane enters and handily keeps all of his competitors down. McIntyre is finally released and he immediately hoists Mysterio and throws him hard into the plexiglass. Not satisfied with that, McIntyre throws Barrett through the barrier of another pod. Mysterio recovers to attempt a 619 on Kane, but instead he gets thrown head-first into another pod. With no eliminations yet, Big Show gets in, cleans house, and stalks down Barrett. Barrett suffers déjà vu as he gets thrown through more glass. A knock-out punch later and Barrett is gone. Big Show then suffers a Future Shock DDT, 619, a Spear and a chokeslam – and a pinfall. Kane then drops McIntyre with the choke-slam and eliminates him next. Mysterio wriggles out of another choke-slam, hits a 619, and then Kane takes a Spear and a loss.
Kane choke-slams both Edge and Mysterio before heading off into the sunset. Edge grabs Mysterio’s feet in mid-619 and turns it into a modified Sharpshooter. Mysterio escapes, dodges a Spear, gets hit by a Spear – but kicks out at two. Since turnabout is fair play, Edge suffers Mysterio’s finishing combination and also kicks out – and even after a second 619, he counters with a Spear in mid-air with Mysterio coming off the top rope for the win.
Winner via pinfall and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Edge
Rating: 6/10 for forcing an Elimination Chamber format onto an otherwise good match between Edge and Mysterio.
Edge has only a moment to celebrate as Del Rio runs in and locks in his Cross Arm-Breaker – but Christian returns to make the save. He leaves Del Rio dazed and open to a Spear, but doesn’t stick around to receive thanks from Edge.
Backstage, Matt Striker gets a word from Lawler, who admits that his mom’s passing has been dominating his thoughts, but he’s ready to accomplish his dreams tonight. Inside the ring, Booker T is ready to announce a third trainer for Tough Enough: and it’s Trish Stratus. Yes, she’s back with a rather terrible combination of The Rock and Booker T’s catchphrases.
Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel w/ Ezekial Jackson vs. Vladimir Kozlov & Santino Marella (champions) w/ Tamina – for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Kozlov starts off by customarily providing the muscle for the champions, knocking Gabriel outside with a battering ram, but Gabriel stuns him with a kick to the head as he gets back on the apron. Slater holds Kozlov down for a while, but Santino gets in and hip-tosses both challengers to the mat. Gabriel interferes but receives a Cobra for his efforts. Kozlov gets back in but only to have Slater kick his legs out from underneath him. Gabriel tags in for the 450 Splash and the win.
Winners via pinfall and NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel
Rating: 3/10 for general laziness in a title match.
The Miz (champion) w/ Alex Riley vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler (challenger)
Lawler opens early with a run of pinning attempts, then a couple of clotheslines – including one that sends The Miz over the top rope. Lawler follows him to the floor, where Riley provides enough distraction to let the champ run Lawler into the ring-post. The Miz follows with his corner clothesline, but Lawler recovers to bring Miz off the top rope with a, well, standing superplex. After Riley grabs Lawler’s ankle from the floor, the ref sends him packing. Lawler proceeds to throw The Miz into his other buddy, Michael Cole, knocking him out. Lawler drops the champ, climbs the ropes, drops the shoulder-strap and then the fist on The Miz for a two count. Lawler fails to connect with the piledriver, though, with The Miz soon retaliating with the Skull-Crushing Finale for the win.
Winner via pinfall and STILL WWE Champion: The Miz
Rating: 6/10 for a solid showing by The King.
John Cena is in the locker room, indirectly responding to The Rock’s criticism of his choice of shirt colours by giving some love to Fruity Pebbles. Meanwhile, Matt Striker is with CM Punk, who “can’t see” anyone beating him tonight, least of all Cena.
Event Rating: 5/10.
The next WWE pay-per-view is a quaint little show called Wrestlemania XXVII, on April 3rd.
Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and realized tonight that the picture of Edge biting the chain of the Elimination Chamber makes him look like Animal from The Muppets.