Batista, Jericho and Michaels capitalize on Elimination Chamber opportunities
By DALE PLUMMER and NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling
At a time when all but a handful of WWE pay-per-views seem to be based around a gimmick, it only made sense for the Elimination Chamber to get one of its very own. The larger, nastier cousin of the regular steel cage makes an appearance every year anyway, so why not base an event around it?
Fans in attendance in St. Louis for the inaugural event Sunday night experienced some growing pains, as the show was a strangely paced, uneven affair that dragged between its pair of namesake matches. But if the goal was to shuffle the deck for WrestleMania, then it was mission accomplished on that score.
The WWE Championship changed hands twice in rapid succession, first from Sheamus to John Cena after he outlasted the competition in the first Elimination Chamber Match, and minutes later to Batista after he was granted an impromptu title shot. World Heavyweight Champion Undertaker fared no better, dropping his title after some late interference from a man who’s been angling for a showdown with him for weeks.
At least Undertaker (who apparently was the victim of a pyro accident on his way out for the night’s main event) got to watch from one of the holding areas of the Elimination Chamber as two other Smackdown grapplers kicked off the match. CM Punk couldn’t resist the chance to talk about his Straight Edge Society on such a big stage, and R-Truth gave a lengthy version of his self-performed entrance theme, but they eventually got down to business.
It took less than four minutes for Punk to dispose of his first opponent with a high kick and the Go To Sleep, giving him about 90 seconds to spread his message before the next foe entered the fray. He invited viewers to put their hands on their televisions so they could all feel his message.
Rey Mysterio entered next and decided to put his hands directly on Punk instead. Rey’s aerial moves and kicks earned him two near falls in quick succession, but a power slam counter got Punk back in the match.
Easily hoisting Mysterio off the ground, Punk slammed him off the steel cage several times before dragging him back in the ring for a two count. A running knee in the corner softened Rey up enough to allow Punk to toss him into his own chamber door.
Rey considered a move off the top of the chamber, but after a struggle above the top turnbuckle, Mysterio hurled Punk to the canvas and delivered a splash that ended his night at the 9:58 mark.
Chris Jericho was next to be freed, and he clotheslined Mysterio down for two. Rey recovered to dodge a Lionsault and connect with a 619.
Jericho and Mysterio continued to battle outside and inside the ring until Chris could slow the pace with a submission hold. Rey escaped and took flight with a springboard moonsault, then slapped on a dragon sleeper.
Jericho’s answer was the Walls of Jericho, but John Morrison entered while the hold was applied. A series of kicks sent both of his opponents flying, but a standing shooting star press was only enough for a two count on Mysterio.
Rey rallied to maneuver Morrison in position for a 619 only to get caught by Jericho’s spinning backbreaker and planted for a near fall. Mysterio and Morrison both ended up on the top turnbuckle, but Morrison prevailed and used Starship Pain to send Rey to the back just after the 20-minute mark.
Soon after, Morrison found himself in the Walls of Jericho, but he was saved when Undertaker finally hit the ring. The champ held the upper hand until his two remaining challengers joined forces, taking the fight out of the ring to the metal floor.
After the Dead Man gathered himself, Jericho tried to hide in one of the chambers to escape his wrath. He popped out just in time to save Morrison from a Last Ride onto the steel, but a chokeslam in the same location a minute later was too much for John, who was dragged back into the ring and pinned at 28:34.
Jericho fought off several right hands and a running knee in the corner, starting off a series of counters that ended with Undertaker in the Walls. The champ pivoted around and clamped on Hell’s Gate, forcing Jericho to escape through the ropes.
Chris struck next with a Code Breaker that was good for only two. A brief struggle in the corner was capped by a Last Ride for Jericho, and Undertaker signaled for a Tombstone.
He never got the chance to deliver his signature move, as Shawn Michaels snuck in to deliver Sweet Chin Music. An opportunistic Jericho crawled over to make the pin, winning the belt and likely putting himself in Edge’s sights.
Michaels stood over the downed Undertaker, quite possibly succeeding in his obsessive quest to secure a rematch with the Dead Man for WrestleMania.
The next WWE pay-per-view is WrestleMania on March 27th.
If you've been with us for the past few years, you know the drill by now. Nick’s comments will be in plain type with Dale’s remarks in italics.
John Cena vs. Ted DiBiase vs. Randy Orton vs. Triple H vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus (Champion) – Elimination Chamber Match for WWE Title
Kofi and Sheamus are the first competitors to start in the chamber. Kofi takes down the champ and gets an early near fall. Sheamus responds with a back elbow and follows with a shoulder tackle. Sheamus blocks a hip toss and counters with one of his own. Kofi connects on an enzuigiri and gets another near fall with a lateral press. Sheamus connects with a back breaker, but Kofi kicks out.
Triple H is the first superstar to be let out of his cage. Hunter and the champ face off. Hunter strikes first, whipping Sheamus off the ropes. HHH hits a high knee, and then a clothesline in the corner. The champ stops Triple H from smashing him into the chain link fence and turns the tables on him. Kofi finally gets back into the fray, splashing Triple H on the steel. The clocks ticks down to zero, and Randy Orton is released.
Orton blasts Kofi and Triple H, then turns his attention to the champ. Orton smashes Sheamus and Triple H into the cage. Kofi leaps from the turnbuckle, taking out all three other competitors. Orton recovers and catches Kofi coming off the top with a drop kick. Orton back drops Hunter onto the steel, countering a Pedigree.
Ted DiBiase is next out, and he starts out hammering away at Triple H. DiBiase helps Orton out of the corner, and they both go after Triple H. They quickly turn their attention to the champ, driving him into the ring post. Kofi then has his head shoved through the cage. Hunter tries to fight back, but the numbers of Legacy overtake him. Orton picks Hunter up through the ropes and drops him onto the steel with a DDT.
WHAT YOU THINK
What did you think of WWE's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view?
It was great. - 12%
It was okay. - 23%
It sucked. - 17%
Didn't see it. - 48%
As the clock ticks down to the release of Cena, Orton and DiBiase taunt him. Cena breaks takes down Orton and DiBiase, hitting the Five Knuckle Shuffle on Orton, and then a Throwback on DiBiase. Cena picks up Ted for an Attitude Adjustment, but first uses him to kick Orton. Dibiase grabs the ropes, but Cena slams him onto the steel on the outside. Cody Rhodes runs down to the ring and tosses in a lead pipe. Cena sets up Orton for an Attitude Adjustment. DiBiase runs over, smacking Orton with the pipe. Cena hits the AA, but is then also struck with the pipe. DiBiase stands over Cena and Orton, and he pins Orton. DiBiase gets the pin and Orton is done at 23:56.
Kofi kicks DiBiase and pins him for the elimination at the 25:24 mark. Sheamus hits Kofi with the bicycle kick, and then picks him for the Celtic Cross. Sheamus slams him to the mat, covering for the elimination at 26:02. Cena picks up Sheamus, who counters the Attitude Adjustment with a backbreaker. Sheamus hangs Cena is a tree of woe and pounds away at him. Sheamus picks Cena up, looking for the Celtic Cross, but Triple H cuts him down to size with a low blow. Cena falls harmlessly to the mat while Hunter connects on a Pedigree to Sheamus. Hunter covers and eliminates Sheamus. So there will be a new WWE champion.
Cena quickly locks in the STF, and Hunter tries to crawl to the ropes. Hunter tries with all his strength but can’t break the hold. Hunter taps, and Cena wins the WWE Title.
Winner via submission ... and new WWE Champion ... John Cena at 30 minutes and 10 seconds.
Match Rating: 6/10
Immediately after the win, Vince McMahon walks out on stage to congratulate Cena on winning the title. Oh yeah, and he also tells Cena he will be going to WrestleMania, provided he can beat ... Batista. As in right now.
I like this. We’ve never seen Vince hose a champ by handing his hand-picked tough guy a title shot at an unexpected moment. Oh, wait ...
John Cena (champion) vs. Batista (challenger) – WWE Title Match
Cena can barely stand, but he stuns Batista with a right hand. Dave quickly responds with a spear. He then picks up the new champ, hitting a Batista Bomb. He covers Cena and gets the pin.
Winner via pinfall ... and new WWE Champion ... Batista at 32 seconds
Match Rating: 1/10
After Batista commits the robbery, Cena walks to the back under his own power.
At least they sold the fact that Cena was just in a supposedly career-altering match by having him basically unable to put up a fight. So there’s that.
Next up is a recap of recent developments with Bret Hart, specifically concerning his health after getting hit by a car during his last appearance on Raw. Normally I’d bash such a lame excuse for not having Hart on TV too often, but I think the post-Attitude Era WWE has had a telling lack of vehicular violence. Since that’s the case, bravo.
Drew McIntyre (champion) vs. Kane (challenger) – Intercontinental Title Match
I have to admit I spent more time watching the USA-Canada Olympic hockey game than I did watching this match. I find McIntyre’s push to be even more inexplicable than Sheamus’ in some ways, because he looks like he’s 12 (a large, muscular 12, but still), and even the announcers make fun of the fact that you can’t understand much of what he says because of his thick accent. In any case, McIntyre takes advantage of a momentary distraction of the referee to give Kane the old reliable thumb to the eye, which he follows with his Future Shock DDT to continue his winning ways. Move on, please, nothing else to see here.
Winner via pinfall ... and still Intercontinental Champion ... Drew McIntyre at 10 minutes and six seconds
Match Rating: 5/10
Maryse talks to Gail Kim backstage about the upcoming match. Gail drops a bombshell: she understands French, and she knows that Maryse has been trash talking all this time. Gail vows to beat her tonight.
Maryse vs. Gail Kim – Divas Championship Finals
Vickie Guerrero interrupts the start of the match. She is upset that the RAW Divas have been talking trash about the Smackdown Divas. Guerrero postpones the championship match and decides to make this a tag team affair. Michelle McCool and Layla will represent Smackdown.
Michelle McCool and Layla vs. Maryse and Gail Kim
Maryse and Gail Kim cannot work together, as Maryse sells out her partner. She pushes Kim by the face into the middle of the ring, allowing McCool to hit her finisher and cover Kim for the win.
Winner via pinfall … Michelle McCool and Layla at three minutes and 35 seconds
Match Rating: 0.5/10
After the match, Maryse hits the French Kiss DDT on Gail Kim.
That segment was pretty much a complete waste of time, which strangely wasn’t as annoying as it would usually be because it’s obvious that this pay-per-view needs some filler now to make it to the end. Also Gail Kim was in it, and she’s welcome on my TV at all times.
Josh Matthews tows the company line by interviewing The Miz about WWE NXT. MVP drops by to inform Miz he will be defending the US Title, tonight.
Giving credit where it’s due, that was actually a very nice promo by MVP. And giving no credit where none is due, NXT is supposed to be a fake wrestling reality show? And by that I mean even faker than “normal” reality shows? That makes my head hurt just thinking about it, though I am looking forward to seeing some of the young guys in the ring. Also Dale thinks it can’t be worse than ECW. We’ll see.
William Regal speaks about NXT in the ring. He speaks of his tenure and experience and demands to be treated with respect. Edge interrupts Regal, telling us he will announce who he will face at Wrestlemania tomorrow on RAW. He then spears Regal.
The Miz (champion) w/ The Big Show vs. MVP (challenger) w/ Mark Henry – United States Title Match
MVP stomps Miz into the corner and drops a knee in the middle of the ring. MVP keeps the pressure on with a Thesz press and some mounted punches. The Miz catches MVP in the corner and drops him. MVP wraps the Miz in a small package after shooting him off the ropes, but Miz kicks out. After a taunting kick to the face, MVP explodes with a right hand, stunning Miz. MVP hits an electric chair and combos into a bridge, but The Miz kicks out. Miz responds with a DDT and stops MVP in the corner with a boot to the face. MVP is down in the corner, and the ref tells Big Show to back off. Miz climbs to the top, but MVP crotches him on the ropes. MVP hits a belly-to-belly suplex off the top rope, but MVP can’t make the pin. He follows with the Ballin’ Elbow, but Miz gets a foot on the rope to break the pin. Show pulls his partner out of the ring. Mark Henry brains Show on the ring post, but Show whips Henry into the security barrier, demolishing it. With the ref distracted, Show connects with a right hand to MVP, knocking him out. Miz covers for the win.
Winner ... and still United States Champion ... The Miz at 13 minutes and two seconds
Match Rating: 6/10
Rey Mysterio vs. John Morrison vs. Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk vs. R-Truth vs. The Undertaker (champion) – Elimination Chamber Match for World Heavyweight Title
Winner via pinfall ... and new World Heavyweight Champion ... Chris Jericho at 35 minutes and 37 seconds
Match Rating: 7/10
Total Event Time: 2 hours and 42 minutes
Event Rating: 5/10
Dale Plummer and Nick Tylwalk will soon be writing competing Monday night recaps, but they came together to do the Elimination Chamber report and to declare Martin Brodeur the new favorite player of American hockey fans everywhere. Respond to this affront at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.