As I continue my recovery from masculine influenza (it’s a real disease people!) I’m going to continue catching up with recent events as we take a look at the final pay per view stop on the road to Wrestlemania, Elimination Chamber, shown live in the early hours of this past Monday morning on Sky Sports here in Britain.
The broadcast began with the Smackdown main event as the Big Show challenged Alberto Del Rio, accompanied by Ricardo Rodriguez, for the World title.
These two had a pretty entertaining encounter last month, and although a feud-ending match should have a gimmick of some kind after a previous gimmick match this one just about served it’s purpose.
It was the usual type of match from these two, with Show playing the monster heel to perfection once again as he sought to dethrone the new man of the people as Del Rio put in his usual solid performance.
There was one slightly dodgy moment with the spit bucket spot, but apart from that it was very entertaining, with Del Rio finally getting the big man to submit to his cross arm breaker at the third time of asking.
Now if we can only get them to stop putting the Smackdown main event at the beginning of the show!
The championship action continued with the Miz challenging Antonio Cesaro for the United States title.
The story for this one was simple. Cesaro had injured Miz’s shoulder a few days before, and he looked to inflict further damage as he tried to retain his title.
It’s a simple formula that’s been done countless times over the years, and these two did it pretty well in this short and sweet encounter.
Everything was executed extremely well, from Cesaro’s offence to Miz’s selling and comeback. As an old friend of mine used to say it was all good.
The end came when Miz was preparing for a figure four. Cesaro kicked Miz’s leg, and as the challenger fell he inadvertently connected with a knee south of the border, and although this was all accidental Cesaro’s complaints saw the referee calling for the Miz’s immediate disqualification.
Needless to say that the challenger wasn’t too happy with the situation as he gave Cesaro a proper kick to the gonads for good measure.
Then it was on to the Elimination Chamber match, with the winner getting a shot at the World title at Wrestlemania. This time around it was the turn of Jack Swagger, Kane, Mark Henry, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho to enter the pods, and to me that sounds like an Invasion of the Body Snatchers reference.
I enjoyed this one. All six men put in good performances in what was a nice appetiser for what’s to come at Wrestlemania.
It began with Bryan and Jericho putting on their usual solid exchanges, and it progressed nicely as all six men made it into the match at the same time.
There were some nice touches along the way. Henry did a great demolition job as he entered the match, and Swagger looked invigorated thanks to his new attitude. Either that or he’s been smoking something. We also got to see the continued and somewhat friendly rivalry between Kane and Bryan.
After over half an hour of action only Jericho, Swagger and Orton remained, and after all of the big bumps it seemed kind of fitting that the finish was quite simple, with Orton pinning Jericho after an RKO and Swagger taking Orton out with a roll-up, a perfect way to weed out the weak from the strong.
Normal service resumed with John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback taking on Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns of the Shield.
I didn’t realise when this one began that this was only the second time the Shield boys had competed in a proper match. If this is the kind of performance they’re going to put in each time than I say feed me more.
It began with the obligatory six man brawl before it settled down into a regular affair, with Sheamus and Cena taking it in turns for the punching bag treatment.
It was during this phase of the match that the Shield really impressed me as a unit, and while I won’t go as far as some by saying that they’re better than the Freebirds they certainly have potential.
Anyway, back to the match. Cena eventually tagged in Ryback to set off the second mass brawl, but just as he was about to put Rollins away Reigns, having already speared Sheamus through a ringside barrier, came into the ring and took the big man out with the same move. As Rollins fell into the cover the referee made the three count to give the Shield the win.
The filler material began with an impromptu match between Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston.
This match came about when Ziggler went down to the ring with his cronies for the usual hype job. Smackdown boss Booker T then appeared to give us this bonus attraction.
Not much to see here I’m afraid. Both guys pulled off some good moves, Big E. Langston and A.J. Lee tried to interfere, and Ziggler got the pin after his Zig Zag finisher, with the big guy attacking Kingston after the bell.
More filler material followed as Tamina Snuka challenged Kaitlyn for the Divas title.
Once again there wasn’t much to see. Both girls did their thing, Tamina missed the Superfly Splash and Kaitlyn took the pin after a spear.
The main event saw C.M. Punk challenging the Rock for the WWE title, with the stipulation that if the Rock was disqualified or counted out he’d lose the title.
Is it me or did this match have an old school kind of vibe about it? From it’s early execution to it’s use of certain hold and moves it really felt like it wouldn’t have been out of place in 1989 let alone 2013.
It was a great way to continue this particular rivalry, with Punk dominating the early going with a good old fashioned chin lock.
It moved along quite nicely, with our esteemed announcers wondering if the champion had been thrown off a little by the stipulations. It proved not to be the case as the action ticked along nicely towards the table spot and the referee bumps.
Eventually Punk and his crony Paul Heyman tried to clobber Rock with the title belt, but the old school feeling continued when Heyman took the shot and crashed down from the ring apron.
Moments later it was all over, with the Rock Bottom securing the title retaining win for our champion and setting up a second date with John Cena.
In conclusion - this was another show that was well worth the wait.
Elimination Chamber proved to be another entertaining stop on the road to Wrestlemania. Granted, there were a couple of blips on the card, but overall I finished my viewing happy with what I had seen.
As for my match of the night the no-prize is going to C.M. Punk and the Rock. I guess I’m still getting that old school kind of vibe.
So with my man flu finally subsiding (apart from the annoying cough) let’s wrap this thing up by giving Elimination Chamber the thumbs up.