It was the final pay-per-view stop on the road to Wrestlemania as 12 of the top stars competed in one of the most dangerous matches in wrestling history as WWE presented their latest offering, Elimination Chamber, shown live in the early hours of this past Monday morning on Sky Sports here in Britain.
The show began with the first chamber match as Chris Jericho, the Miz, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth and Kofi Kingston challenged C.M. Punk for the WWE title.
Beginning with Punk and Kingston this match certainly contained a ton of great action. The early sequences between numbers one and two were great, and as the various combatants entered the fray we saw the obligatory big bumps on the steel grate, with Kingston and Ziggler taking more than their fair share.
Truth was the first man eliminated, Punk getting the pin after a top rope elbow.
Ziggler was next, pinned by Jericho after being taken out with the code breaker. Jericho would go on to eliminate Kingston a few moments later as the high-flying one tapped out to the Walls of Jericho.
Jericho himself would be eliminated seconds later, but not by pinfall. Having continued his attack on Kingston and thrown him out of the cage door Punk came up on him from behind and connected with a kick to the head. Jericho virtually flew out of the cage, colliding with a cameraman and hitting his head on one of the entranceway lights, completely knocked out as the referees immediately indicated that he couldn’t continue.
This left Punk and Miz as the last two, and after kicking out after Miz took him down with the Skull Crushing Finale Punk finally took the winning pin after connecting with the GTS, booking his place at Wrestlemania.
The second title match of the evening saw Beth Phoenix defending the Divas title against Tamina Snuka.
I really liked this one. It began with Phoenix offering Snuka a way out of the match, even holding the ropes open for her. Needless to say that young Miss Snuka was having none of it.
Snuka really took it to the champion, using many of the signature moves that made her father famous, and bringing back fond memories from years gone by for this particular writer.
But despite everything she did, including the Superfly Splash, Phoenix didn’t go down, eventually taking the win after taking Snuka down with the Glam Slam. Nice stuff.
After a lengthy in-ring segment in which Mark Henry, Alberto Del Rio and Christian gave their support to Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager of Monday Night Raw John Laurinaitis in his attempts to become GM of everything it was on to the next chamber match as the Great Khali, Cody Rhodes, Santino Marella, Wade Barrett and the Big Show challenged Daniel Bryan for the World title.
Khali was the first man eliminated just a few seconds after he’d entered the match. Having taken everyone else out Show took him down with a spear for the pin.
Show was the next to go. After Rhodes connected with two Disaster Kicks and Barrett connected with a top rope elbow Rhodes took the pin, celebrating like he’d won the whole match. But he failed to see Marella behind him, with the dark horse rolling him up for the pin. Rhodes had the last laugh though, taking Marella down with the Cross-Rhodes.
Marella would take the next pin as well. After Barrett dominated the match Marella moved out of the way when Barrett came down with a top rope elbow. Bryan then connected with a diving head butt from the top before Marella pinned the Brit.
This left Marella and Bryan as the final two, with the champion thinking that the Italian would be easy pickings. He had some success at first, but as fans began to remember the Milan miracle Marella came back strongly, taking Bryan down with the vaunted Cobra. The champion barely kicked out of the ensuing pin.
But as Marella cursed his luck Bryan synched in the LaBell lock. Marella tried to fight it until the inevitable happened as he tapped out to give Bryan the title retaining win.
His celebrations were cut short though as Royal Rumble winner Sheamus appeared on the scene. Bryan tried to attack but was soon taken out by the Irishman, making it pretty obvious that he’d chosen Bryan as his Wrestlemania opponent.
The filler material saw Justin Gabriel, accompanied by Hornswoggle, challenging Jack Swagger, accompanied by Vickie Guerrero, for the United States title.
This short and sweet encounter saw Swagger dominating early on before Gabriel came back with a few great looking high flying moves. It didn’t last long though as Swagger took the submission win when Gabriel tapped out to the ankle lock.
The main event saw Kane taking on John Cena in an ambulance match.
If you were expecting a technical classic here then you were probably disappointed. This was a fight, plain and simple.
It was also quite entertaining. These two beat the proverbial you know what out of each other, fighting all around the ringside area, up the aisle and through the crowd at one point, hitting each other with whatever they could get their hands on as they went along.
The working area of the poor old Spanish guys also took a hit. With Cena preparing to put his man through their announcer’s table with the Attitude Adjuster Kane countered, planting Cena through the wood with a powerful choke slam.
But after Kane put Cena into the ambulance and was about to close the door Cena fought back, climbing to the roof of the vehicle and taking Kane down with an Attitude Adjuster to the floor below, although I am surprised that we didn’t get the usual hyperbole with the announcers shouting that Kane had fallen 50 feet.
This proved to be the beginning of the end for the Big Red Machine as Cena draped his lifeless form over his shoulders, stuffed him in the ambulance and closed the doors to take the win.
In conclusion - the 2012 version of the Elimination Chamber show proved to be a very enjoyable affair.
Both of the chamber matches delivered easily, especially when you consider that the Great Khali was hardly given any time at all. Both champions left the chamber in strong positions for their upcoming challenges at Wrestlemania.
As for the undercard, Gabriel/Swagger didn’t really achieve anything, feeling more like a Raw or Smackdown kind of match, while the Divas encounter was pretty good. Cena and Kane also delivered, although I’m not to happy with the actual placement of their match on the card.
You see, the show was called Elimination Chamber, right? So surely it would have been better to have had one of the chamber matches as the main event. The two biggest titles in the company were defended in the first and third matches on the card, once again showing that Punk and Bryan, as good as they are, are being overshadowed by Cena and the Rock.
But apart from that little grip I must say that this show gets the thumbs up from this particular writer as an entertaining stop on the journey to Miami.