Friday, 28 February 2014

WWE Elimination Chamber on Sky Sports - TV Review

It was the final pay per view stop on the road to Wrestlemania, but was it any good? That's what I'm hoping to find out by taking a look back at WWE's 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 title match of the evening as Zeb Colter guy Jack Swagger challenged Big E for the Intercontinental title.

As far as show openers go this was pretty decent. Both combatants had a great outing, and I must say that this is the best performance I've seen from Swagger in ages. The guy looked on top form throughout.

The action began with the former Mr. Langston using his power to good effect until Swagger took control. It was during this segment that he really impressed me, and this could be his best performance since he challenged for the World title last year.

Both men turned it up a notch as they brought out the big guns, with Swagger coming close to getting the submission win after he slapped on the ankle lock. However, the second time definitely wasn't a charm when Biggie escaped from the hold when he took Swagger down with an enziguri.

Seconds later it was all over. Biggie pulled down the straps and took Swagger out with the big ending for the pin.

The title action continued with the Jimmy and Jey Uso challenging the New Age Outlaws, Billy Gunn and the Road Dogg, for the Tag Team titles.

You know, I've heard quite a lot about how the Outlaws shouldn't be the champions because they've got a combined age of over 90, but after seeing this performance I have to say, so what?

I really enjoyed this one. It featured a lot of great action, and all four men put in very good performances. Gunn and the Dogg looked pretty decent when they used Jey (or was that Jimmy?) as their personal punching bug, and that move when Dogg hip tossed his man into the turnbuckles was great.

Eventually Jey got the hot tag to his brother as Jimmy (or was that Jey?) began to clean house, sending both of the Outlaws flying before taking to the air himself with a suicide dive, clashing heads with the Dogg on the outside.

Back in the ring Jimmy came close to taking Gunn out a couple of times, but a momentary distraction from the Dogg on the apron lead to his downfall. After he took the Dogg down with a superkick Gunn came up from behind and rolled him up for the title retaining pin.

The battle of the former tag team partners followed as Darren Young took on Titus O'Neil.

I think the best way to describe this one would be short and sweet. While it may not have been the kind of heated encounter you'd expect from a broken up tag team it did feature some nice exchanges.

Young put in a decent performance, but for me big O'Neil was the best thing about this match. Like Biggie before him his power game looked spot on, and he may well be better off in the singles ranks.

It was the big man who came out on top in this one when O'Neil took Young down with his clash of the Titus finisher, which I suppose you could describe as a one handed spinebuster.

Then it was on to the battle of the factions as the Shield's Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and United States Champion Dean Ambrose went up against Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan of the Wyatt Family.

As the two teams stared each other down before the match began the crowd started a "this is awesome" chant. It was as if they'd been looking into a crystal ball because that's just what this was, two of the hottest commodities in WWE at the moment going at it tooth and nail.

The storytelling throughout was spot on as all six men put in tremendous performances. It didn't matter that both of these teams were meant to be heels. All that mattered was that we got one hell of a fight.

The Wyatts looked great as they took their opponents apart, doubling up on them to good effect with Wyatt calling the shots from the apron and often joining in. As for the Shield, they're performance was just as good. Their guys played the punching bag roles to perfection, and Rollins pulled off some incredible acrobatic moves.

The best segment, of course, came during the mass brawl. The Wyatts took a page out of the Shield's play book when they isolated and took out Ambrose and Rollins, with Harper and Rowan taking Rollins down with a double chokeslam through the Spanish announcer's table.

This left Reigns alone against three men, and the powerhouse of the team took up where he'd left off at the Royal Rumble as he took it to Bray's boys, even powering out of Wyatt's sister Abigail at one point.

Eventually the numbers game caught up with him though, and it wasn't long before Wyatt got his wish when he took Reigns down with sister Abigail for the winning pin.

It was back to title action for the next match as A.J. Lee, accompanied by Tamina Snuka, defended her Divas title against Cameron of the Funkadactyls.

The girls were definitely back to filler material this month. This wasn't too bad I suppose. Cameron did her thing before A.J. took control. The dancing girl made a brief comeback, but when the action spilled out to ringside and Tamina tried to interfere Cameron moved out of the way, Tamina's superkick sending A.J. in la-la land.

But after Cameron pushed A.J. back into the ring for the cover Tamina interfered, putting A.J.'s leg on the ropes before attacking Cameron outside the ring. Upon seeing this the referee called for the bell, giving Cameron the disqualification win, but not the title.

The penultimate match saw Batista, in his first singles match since his return, taking on Alberto Del Rio.

This certainly proved to be an interesting encounter. Before the match began Del Rio came hobbling down to the ring on a crutch and wearing a neck brace, claiming he couldn't compete. It turned out to be one massive porky when he suddenly sprang into life and clobbered Batista with the crutch.

But despite being the worse for wear Batista agreed to go through with the match, and this was were the fun started. Batista, the alleged baby face, was roundly booed, and as the fans chanted for the likes of C.M. Punk, Chris Jericho and Brock Lesnar Del Rio dominated the action after he rammed the Animal's shoulder into the ring post.

Putting what the fans did to one side, this was a rather confusing encounter. Del Rio's performance can't be faulted. It was a solid performance from the Mexican as he went about his business, but Batista, once again, looked the shadow of the man he was a few years back. In short, he just didn't look that good.

So while Del Rio had the clear support of the fans as he dominated the action it was the somewhat lacklustre Batista who came out on top, taking his man down with the Batista bomb for the winning pin.

The main event was the Elimination Chamber match, with Randy Orton defending the WWE World title against John Cena, Christian, Daniel Bryan, Zeb Colter guy Cesaro and Sheamus.

This was a great set-up for what's to come in a few weeks. Beginning with Cesaro and Sheamus, all six men did pretty well as they gave us some great moments, such as the two Europeans beating the proverbial out of each other, and Randy Orton trying to hide in his pod when he realised that the other five combatants were going to gang up on him.

But for me the best moment came when Sheamus found a way of getting to Orton. A brogue kick to the pod gave the irate Irishman access to the champion, who proceeded to hand out a little backside kicking of his own.

As for the eliminations, Sheamus was the first to go. After Christian avoided the Celtic cross by climbing onto the top of one of the pods Sheamus tried to get to him by climbing to the top rope. It was then that Orton took the Irishman down with a superplex before Christian sealed the deal with a splash from the pod.

Christian himself followed a minute or so later. Having managed to avoid Orton's hangman DDT with a backdrop over the top rope he soon found himself on the receiving end of Bryan's running knee. A three count later and he was history.

Cesaro was next. After a great sequence which saw Cesaro and Cena counter each other's moves Cena eventually dumped the man from Switzerland over the top rope with the attitude adjuster. He then dragged him back into the ring and applied the STF for the quick submission.

Cena's elimination came after the lights went out and the Wyatt Family suddenly appeared in the cage. They then proceeded to take Cena apart before Wyatt took him down with sister Abigail, and as corporate sell-out Kane came down to usher them away Orton fed off their scraps to get the pin.

This left Bryan alone with Orton, but before they squared off Bryan attacked his former partner, leaving Kane lying on the steel. Bryan and Orton then went at it, but after Bryan countered an RKO with his running knee Kane pulled the referee out of the ring as Bryan made the pin.

Needless to say that this didn't sit too well with Bryan, who promptly kicked the big red sell out in the head. A few moments later a now-recovered Orton sucked it up and finally took his man down with the RKO, only for Bryan to kick out of the pin.

So with the crowd going absolutely nuts with their yes chants Bryan almost got the win with a small package. But after Bryan kicked Orton into the middle of next week Kane clobbered him. Orton quickly followed up with an RKO for the title retaining pin.

In conclusion - with the Royal Rumble being such a disappointment WWE had to deliver big time with the Elimination Chamber, and despite a couple of lacklustre moments they pretty much made up for last month's disappointment.

All of the matches delivered to varying degrees, and while the Del Rio/Batista match was exactly impressive and the Young/O'Neil encounter would probably have been better off on Raw or Smackdown overall I had that warm fuzzy feeling inside after the show ended.

As for my match of the night no-prize despite the fine performances in the Chamber match there was only one real contender, and that was the Wyatts/Shield war. It's a shame that they're steering the Wyatts towards Cena though. Imagine what those two factions in a cage match, or even in a certain Cell would have been like on the biggest stage of all.

So with all of that out of the way there's just one more thing to do, and that's to give this thing the thumbs up.

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