Previewing WWE's "Elimination Chamber"pay-per-view (PPV), featuring The Rock vs. CM Punk for the WWE Championship, Alberto Del Rio vs. The Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship, an Elimination Chamber Match for the #1 Contendership to the World Heavyweight Championship, AND MORE!
Clay! Tensai! Rhodes Scholars! Pre-Show!
Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow will reunite for one night only to take on the formidable team of Brodus Clay & Tensai.
Because this is something that makes sense to those in charge.
Team Rhodes Scholars were going to be the next big thing. They had the skill, charisma, and talent to make an impressive run on top of the tag team division. Team Hell No can only go so far before they implode, and WWE had the perfect heel team to take their place.
It was all right there. It was right freaking there. WWE had everything set up perfectly and it ruined everything! GAAAHHH!
Breathe C. J., breathe. You remember what your shrink said about letting your emotions get out of hand. We don't want another "school bus incident."
Back to the matter at hand. Clay & Tensai have come together in the most perfect form of "Creative has nothing for you" that we've seen in a long time. Turning the monster Tensai into a dancing fool is so completely dumb it's obvious why he's getting over. How the pair work out in the long term remain to be seen, but they're going to be a fun group to watch.
Of course, WWE still has that whole "not a single good heel team in the bunch" problem. But why focus on the negatives?
Kaitlyn! Tamina! Divas Championship!
I really don't have much to say about this matchup. Kaitlyn is very beautiful and has shown some skills in the ring. Tamina Snuka...I'm sure has a great personality. This could end up being a solid match, but no one will pay any attention to it.
Mostly because no one in WWE is paying any attention to the Divas.
If the promotion isn't going to give anyone without a Y chromosome a halfway decent angle, it might as well just drop the whole division.
Some English Guy! Maybe a Match? Who Knows?!
So my notes tell me that WWE has an... Intercontinental Championship? Is that right? What does Intercontinental even mean? Isn't that the whole world? What a stupid name for a title.
Anyways, right now the current champion is an English dude named...Wah-d Bar-eet? Who the hell is that? I don't think I've ever heard of him. Maybe it's a rookie call up or something.
In any case, Mr. Bar-eet is not scheduled to defend his Not The Whole World But A Significant Portion Of It Championship tonight. This is WWE, though, and these things can change at a moment's notice. So keep your eyes open.
Cesaro! Miz! United States Championship!
Didn't we just have this match? I feel like we just had this match. Probably because we just had this match.
Antonio Cesaro and The Miz faced off in the Royal Rumble (Jan. 27) Pre-Show for the United States Championship. I was 100% certain that Miz would win. He would play the role as Uber-American, march forward into WrestleMania 29 with the strap around his waist, and start his renewed push to the top just in time to coincide with Marine 3: Homefront.
It seems I was mistaken.
Instead, Cesaro went over The Miz in glorious fashion. This is quite a pleasant surprise, of course, but 'twas not the end of the feud. No, both men would continue a game of one-up-manship. It was a standing pro wrestling modus operandi with pinfalls, via distractions and backstage brawls.
And then Cesaro went and created one of the greatest GIFs in the history of ever.
Now these two are getting back in the same ring, this time on the real pay-per-view (PPV). I cannot imagine Miz picked up Ric Flair's Figure Four Lock and has received as much screen time just to be jobbed out. The same character playing a US Marine holding the US Championship? That's far too perfect to pass up.
Which means it is entirely possible WWE passes it up. But I'm almost certain this will happen sooner than later.
Another victory by Cesaro -- while fun to watch -- just delays the inevitable. Miz will keep getting shots because he has a bright smile and knows how to work with the press. Losing to Cesaro again and again, only to finally take one clean victory in the end, simply devalues the title and makes the entire feud seem weak in retrospect.
I really don't hate Mike Mizanin. He can be a great talent when he's motivated. I just think he has taken what's been given to him for granted, and he has yet to really impress me on a consistent basis like Cesaro has.
However, opinions can always change. We'll just have to wait and see what happens next.
Bryan! Henry! Jericho! Kane! Orton! Swagger! Elimination Chamber! #1 Contender! World Heavyweight Championship!
Six former World Heavyweight Champions. A ten ton structure comprised of over two miles of chains. Careers are said to be shortened simply by standing within its confines. A wrestler must survive both his opponents and the Chamber itself in order to receive one of pro wrestling's most sacred prizes.
The main event of WrestleMania.
Okay, so technically it will be one of the main events. Probably the fourth "main event" on the card. And it very well could end up curtain jerking like it did last year.
But it's still nice that the Elimination Chamber is being utilized in this manner.
The Royal Rumble is presented as any wrestlers chance to become part of history. Outlast 29 other Superstars, and you'll be granted an automatic shot at one of the main titles. It's a match steeped in tradition and grandeur. There is something powerful in saying "Royal Rumble winner," but there is no real harm in jumping into the ring and taking a chance.
The Elimination Chamber, on the other hand, is a last shot measure. Only six men are allowed to enter. The pure brutality involved makes most men hesitate in even asking to be a participant. Those who don't wish to risk life and limb can be content in finding a spot in the midcard.
The souls brave enough to enter, though, earn the pleasure of dealing with five other hungry wrestlers and unforgiving steel to earn a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship.
This Chamber Match feels so much more special than those in recent years. Every single participant held the World Heavyweight Championship at one point in time. No one star rises above the rest, and each have a real shot of winning.
We have Mark Henry, the true definition of a hoss. Jack Swagger, a man who has come back with a vengeance. Kane, who has experienced new life in recent months. Daniel Bryan, the breakout star of 2012 who still has a long and successful career in front of him. Chris Jericho, on the twilight of his career but who still turns out four-to-five star matches much like Fozzy turns out perfectly average rock tunes. And Randy Orton, an established superstar who is yearning to rise back to the top of the card.
Each one could emerge victorious. And each can put on a great match. This should be fun to watch, folks. Let's hope it can live up to its potential.
Del Rio! Show! World Heavyweight Championship!
I have loved everything about this feud so far. I really want to believe that WWE will end this the right way.
Alberto Del Rio made a face turn at TLC:Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (Dec. 16) by saving the Spanish announce team from 3MB. The execution of it was painfully awkward, but it established Del Rio has a protector against those who choose to bully weaker individuals.
This continued as The Big Show pushed around Ricardo Rodriguez, knocking him out with a WMD on the Dec. 28 episode of SmackDown and "granting" the ring announcer a title shot on the Dec. 31 episode of Monday Night Raw. Del Rio saw the error of his ways for mistreating Ricardo, apologized to his friend, and promised to fight against the cruelty he himself exhibited in the past.
On the Jan. 11 episode of SmackDown, Del Rio was transitioned into a Latino hero -- the show took place in Miami, and WWE was touring the South-Southwest at the time -- and won the World Heavyweight Championship for Show in a Last Man Standing Match when he flipped the announcers table onto the giant.
His run as a face began when he ran out to protect the Spanish announcers, so there's a bit of poetry to the fact his championship reign began via announcers table.
Del Rio would retain at Royal Rumble (Jan. 27) against Show in a Last Man Standing Rematch, this time by duct taping Show to the bottom rope. Although the gimmick was used in by John Cena against Batista at Extreme Rules 2010 -- don't worry about looking up the match, you're not missing anything special -- it was a clever bit of booking to keep Show looking strong while making Del Rio look cunning and resourceful. It wasn't supposed to be a blow-off, just a way to keep things moving forward.
Then things escalated very quickly.
Show would take his anger out on Ricardo, assaulting him in the ring on Raw (Jan. 28) and attacking him backstage on SmackDown (Feb. 1). Del Rio launched a counter-offensive, attacking Show in his hotel room (Feb. 4) and stealing the tires on his bus and pouring paint on his head (Feb. 8).
That may sound dumb reading it on your screen. But it actually worked really well.
Now is the time for Alberto Del Rio and The Big Show to face off, one-on-one. Show pointed out on Friday's SmackDown (Feb. 15) that the current World Heavyweight Champion has never pinned him. Which is obvious, but is still a crucial point in the build up to this match. The champion has never pinned or submitted the man he took the title from. He used trickery and craftiness in his quest to gain and retain the strap. Now, though, Del Rio will have to face down Show with nothing but his bare hands and the will of a champion.
Sometimes the best gimmick is no gimmick at all.
In one corner you David. The hero of all who have been bullied. In the other you have Goliath. A big, scary, pissed off monster who would like nothing more than to squash his opponent like a bug. It's a classic story.
But it's a story that should be retold over and over again.
When you're friends ask you what professional wrestling is all about, this is the feud you need to point to. This is the essence of the genre. No swerves, no unnecessary clutter, nothing but two men who are brilliant in what they do.
I'm going to be sad when this angle is over. But it deserves an ending fitting of such a great piece of entertainment, and I truly hope WWE does it correctly. That might be tonight, or it might be a bit down the road. In either case, though, I look forward to an exciting conclusion.
The Shield! Cena! Sheamus! Ryback!
Let's get this out of the way now; the faces are going to win -- clean -- the faces should win -- clean -- and any other option would just cause problems for everyone involved.
Since debuting at Survivor Series (Nov. 18), the trio of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns have been running rampant through WWE's roster. They come out from out of nowhere and lay waste to the unfortunate soul in their path. It originally seemed that The Shield was choosing their victims at random.
However, we have found out that is not the case.
On the Jan. 28 episode of Monday Night Raw, it was revealed that Paul Heyman was the mastermind behind The Shield's assaults. Which, duh. We all saw that one coming from a mile away. Every opponent CM Punk faced received a patented triple powerbomb. There was no way in hell Heyman wasn't behind the group in some way.
What's disappointing, though, is how everything is being played off.
Heyman is the mastermind behind Punk, The Shield, and Brock Lesnar. He's controlling all these forces, yet it feels like they are being separated from each other. Heyman's minions should be a united front, an invading army that threaten to dominate the entire WWE.
But they cant, and they can't because John Cena vs. The Rock II at WrestleMania 29 has been written in blood.
That is why the faces, and more specifically why Cena, must stand tall tonight.
Cena is going to move on to face The Rock come April 7. A win tonight will let him leave this realm and move into his own little universe. The pair will be segregated from the rest of WWE. It happened last year, and it's going to happen again. Losing tonight, especially losing by some type of outside interference, will only make it all the more depressing when Cena ignores the results. Accepting a win and pressing forward is expected.
Shrugging off a loss because Cena has more important things to focus on is a complete and utter burial.
Is there a way that everything could come together by WrestleMania? Of course. But I cannot believe that WWE would handle it correctly. I have no faith in the promotion to use anything but a sledgehammer on a storyline which requires something far more subtle.
So let the faces win tonight. Let Cena stand tall and move onto WrestleMania free from all outside burdens.
I don't like it, but it's really the best thing for everyone.
Rock! Punk! WWE Championship!
This looks to be the end of the line for The Rock and CM Punk. If that is indeed the case, I have to say it's been a damn fun ride.
Everything started on Raw 1000 (July 23) when The Rock came back to announce he would be facing the WWE Champion at Royal Rumble. On the very same show, John Cena cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to face Punk for the WWE Championship. It was that evening when The Big Show interfered, giving Cena an empty victory. It was that night when The Rock rushed down to the ring to lay Show out and was second away from hitting The People's Elbow.
It was that very moment when CM Punk turned his back on the WWE Universe by delivering a GTS on The Rock.
So began a string of questionable defenses by Punk. A double submission at SummerSlam (Aug. 19), a draw at Night of Champions (Sept. 16), a crooked ref at Hell in a Cell (Oct. 28), the use of hired mercenaries at Survivor Series (Nov. 18). Although Rocky would leave the promotion during this time, the slide to the dark side was instigated by "The Great One."
It's only fair it ends with him.
It looked to be finished at Royal Rumble (Jan. 27) when The Shield made an unannounced -- and unseen -- appearance, planting Rocky through the announcers table. Punk picked up the pin and looked to have secured another dirty victory.
But out came Vince McMahon, with the intention of stripping Punk of the title. Rocky demanded a rematch, which was quickly granted, and he was able to overcome his previous beat down and emerge as WWE Champion.
Rock would begin his first run as champion in over ten years. However, Punk has refused to recognize its legitimacy. He's even gone so far as steal the
belt championship title on the Feb. 11 episode of Raw. Just as CM Punk and John Cena had dueling reigns following the infamous "Pipe Bomb" and Punk's victory at Money in the Bank 2011, Punk and Rock now both claim the promotion's top title.
Punk's official reign ended at 434 days, although he has it at 455 and growing. The Rock has held the title for the last 21 days. These two forces meet tonight, and it looks like his conflict will reach an ultimate conclusion.
I wish these two could go at it for another month and change. This story is far to big to end at Elimination Chamber.
Such is the way of life, though, and it seems that we'll have to accept it. It's possible that WWE will decide to keep these two together in some way. I just don't know if the addition of Cena -- and there is no way Cena will not be brought into this -- will do anything but add unnecessary complications.
We don't have to worry about that tonight. Two men. One ring. Dueling claims to the title.
Only one will leave as undisputed champion.
Or at least that is how it should end.
Hopefully, this has prepared you for the night's festivities. Leave a comment below about what you are looking forward to, and please join the entire CSS Sunday night gang in the live blog TONIGHT!