WWE Elimination Chamber went down last night (Sun., Feb. 19, 2012) from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and featured a show that saw far too many ups and downs.
- The concept of an actual main event is dead in WWE. How is it possible that they run a pay-per-view (PPV) entitled "Elimination Chamber," which centers solely on two matches with said Chamber and the main event is an ambulance match between John Cena and Kane? They made an entire PPV event just for these matches and then they put them on the undercard. How does one even justify doing such a thing? Match order is a highly underrated thing. It seems WWE is entirely incapable of figuring out a good match order. Having a cool down match between Jack Swagger and Justin Gabriel right after a hot Smackdown Chamber match and before the main event? Good idea. Not headlining your Elimination Chamber PPV with an Elimination Chamber match? Bad idea. Why? It kills how special these matches are supposed to be.
- The Smackdown Chamber match was far better than what we got from the Raw Chamber match, mostly because of Santino Marella and how unbelievably over he was with the crowd at the Bradley Center. I'll go into more detail later on the how and the why it was so brilliant to put him in this match after Randy Orton got injured but suffice to say, he was Stone Cold Steve Austin level over last night.
- That said, Big Show did well enough doing his thing to carry the action in the early going. It was a slow starter, with very little to get excited for until Santino, Bryan and Barrett went at it. As it turned out, Great Khali was the squashed guy in this one and I'm one more wasted match away from starting a campaign to get him off TV forever. One of these days, his legs are going to snap in two while he's simply walking. Kids everywhere, scarred forever. Just end his run.
- The Raw Chamber match was as disappointing as it gets. Dolph Ziggler bumped his ass off, of course, as did Kofi Kingston, and the pacing in the beginning was really good, with everyone hitting high spots and the crowd getting into it when they were supposed to. But after R-Truth was eliminated in short order (he was the squashed guy for this Chamber match), things just started going downhill. The Miz entered the match and immediately blew his clothesline in the corner spot. His chemistry with Punk was nonexistent, which ended up being terrible because they were the match closers. Jericho cleaned house before they did the injury angle with Punk kicking him out of the Chamber resulting in a kayfabe head injury. This slowed the match down considerably and for some reason, they relied on Miz to carry Punk through to the end, seeing as Punk started the match and was blown up by this point. The problem? No one believed for even a second Miz ever had a chance at winning, no matter how angry and intense he tried to come off. That's partially WWE's fault for booking him the way they have but it's also because Miz hasn't been able to rebound from this cold streak he's on as a performer. He was better in some ways last night but as stated, his chemistry with Punk was off so the whole thing just didn't work.
Thoughts on the rest of the show after the jump.
- The decision to headline this show with John Cena vs. Kane is baffling to me. A follower of mine on Twitter (Foley level cheap plug) mentioned that he was hopeful Cena would pull a five-star performance out of his ass like he did against Umaga at the Royal Rumble in 2007 but I assured him this wouldn't be the case. And that's because Asterisk (much as some of y'all might not like it) is right. Kane is just ... done. In every conceivable way. His character has no real depth once you get past the psychological issues present in his character. And there really isn't much to that either. Worst of all, his ability to have a good brawl -- which is what was called for here -- simply isn't up to par. When he and Cena were working their way through the crowd, the action wasn't anything even resembling believable. When you're closer to the fans, that's when you're supposed to work stiffer. These guys clammed up. It was terrible.
- I'm not as upset as some that last night saw the return of Super Cena. It was inevitable. He needs to look as strong as possible for the upcoming WrestleMania match against The Rock. I'm curious to see how they really blow this program off or if this was it. Not having Eve and Zack Ryder involved makes it seem as though this was the end of this. It's good, too, because it was going nowhere and we all knew it. Eve, Ryder and Cena can all have their issues without Kane's creepy involvement anyway.
- One funny thing about last night -- Jerry Lawler literally mentioned at one point that you don't necessarily have the right to criticize John Cena unless you can bench 575 pounds. Paraphrased, of course, but still, this was one of the dumbest things Lawler has ever said while I've been listening to him on WWE TV.
- This really weird thing happened last night. The Divas were actually given time to have a legitimate wrestling match and hey, they were entertaining! Tamina and Beth Phoenix worked fairly well together and put on a short but solid match. Simple as that.
- John Laurinaitis big announcement that he would be attempting to take over as General Manager of Smackdown as well as Raw was good for those who enjoy "Ace's" work but I imagine it was terrible for those who don't. That's the delicate balance WWE has to strike. The segment with Alberto Del Rio and Christian making their returns to endorse him, as well as Mark Henry, felt far too out of place on a PPV show. That's the kind of thing they should have saved for Raw tonight.
- Speaking of Del Rio and Christian, has there ever been two less interesting returns? I'm extremely glad to have them back in the fold because they both do great work but this was a pretty weak way to have them return.
- Booker T was awesome doing his thing on commentary last night ... if you accept him as being similar to that of 95-year-old dementia patient that you know not to take seriously.
- The less said about Swagger vs. Gabriel the better.
Overall, this show gets a C+ from me and that's only because Santino Marella was so money and the crowd in Milwaukee so receptive to so much action during the show.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts from the Elimination Chamber PPV last night.