WWE went rolling right on through the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana, last night (Sun., Feb. 17, 2013) with Elimination Chamber, its annual February pay-per-view (PPV) extravaganza to lead us to WrestleMania.
It delivered too, despite its perceived predictability heading in. Click here to check out the live blog.
Let's not waste time with pleasantries and get right to reactions to the show:
- Big Show knows psychology. I loved seeing him attack Alberto Del Rio like a wild beast just as soon as the bell rang. Beyond that, every attack was delivered as though he wanted to literally kill Del Rio with each blow. After the past couple weeks, that's exactly how it should have been. This is the kind of thing that goes unnoticed and gets far too little credit far too often. So here's your props, Show, you're great.
- "Big Show trying to make himself a world championship tortilla there by flattening Del Rio." That's an actual line from Jerry Lawler last night. Seriously.
- Final word on that match: Well done, gents. Really good stuff. Loved the near falls, crowd was hot, had a few cool spots like the flying armbar and the pick up slam from the armbar later on. Damn good match.
- Thought the finish of Cesaro vs. Miz was creative but it fell a little flat. Miz was passionate enough about getting screwed over and the crowd reacted accordingly but I don't like to see Cesaro getting wins that way. I've enjoyed seeing him booked relatively strong throughout his run.
- Chris Jericho starting second in the Royal Rumble and first in the Elimination Chamber? I love that he comes back to be Iron Man and helps get guys over along the way. The Rock and Brock Lesnar and Triple H and the like are a great example of what we oftentimes don't like about the returning star era and Jericho is the very best example of what we do like about it. Props to him.
- Jack Swagger winning the Elimination Chamber match was surprising only because I'm not sure anyone thought WWE would have it in them to pull the trigger on this. It was always obvious they would work a program between Del Rio and Swagger at some point but WrestleMania? I suppose it doesn't matter because they'll be curtain jerking anyway, world heavyweight championship in the picture or not.
- This does set up an interesting scenario with Dolph Ziggler potentially cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase on Swagger, his former longtime tag team partner, at WrestleMania. I'm doubting it happens, though, because it certainly looks like WWE wants to get some real mileage out of this Zeb Colter cat. If you want my feelings on what he does, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it just yet. I mean, the words he's saying are all wrong but WWE is positioning him to make us hate his guts and want to see him and his underling get beat down. Still, I'm not entirely comfortable with a lot of what he says but I realize it's for show. I don't know. I'll go back and forth on it, I'm sure, and I would think many of you would feel the same. If not, please tell us why you think it's good or bad.
- What isn't in dispute is Swagger's entrance music is awesome. Don't disagree with me on this. Let it happen.
- Not a fan of the weird spot with Randy Orton actually saving Swagger from Jericho. I never understand in elimination matches when one guy saves another just so he can deliver offense that ultimately proves ineffective anyway because it doesn't get him a pin. You would think he would want to help get a guy out of the match, not keep him in it.
- Love the Shield's creativity when getting around the referee to continue relentlessly attacking John Cena. They aren't just an awesome trio of wrestlers, they've actually learned to work really well together as a team. Also, if Roman Reigns just yelled at shit all day and night, I think I would be entertained for at least a week of that time and that's incredible by itself.
- Ryback was born for the hot tag. Also, if they turn him heel, I'm on board in a big way. He should be a foil to the Cenas and Sheamus' of the world, not a friend.
- DEAN AMBROSE MUAY THAI KNEES!
- Actually, and I can't believe I'm saying this, it's time to stop acting like Ambrose is sliced bread and Rollins and Reigns are chopped liver. All three rose to the occasion last night but Rollins and Reigns looked like bona fide stars in the making. Reigns in particular was impressive, looking every bit like the behemoth big man with a mean streak who could have a bright future with his look and athletic ability. That scream is all he needs. Fuck talking, he can be a star if he's used right.
- How great is it that Rock tries to hit the Rock Bottom on Punk at Royal Rumble and the table breaks before they can do so but at Elimination Chamber they reverse roles and Punk actually hits the Rock Bottom on Rock and the table doesn't break at all? I wonder if that was planned.
- The match was good for what it was. The false finishes were great, the crowd was into it, and while Rock may have his limitations thanks to his hardly containable physique, he's about as passionate as they come. That's the thing about Rock and what makes him special as a pro wrestler -- and that's never been in question despite our obvious dislike of his sophomoric schtick. He can get across a feeling about as good as any wrestler on the roster right now.
- So Rock vs. Cena part deux, huh? Yeah, okay.
This was actually a pretty damn good show with plenty of great wrestling, a few nice surprises, and very few major issues.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. What did you think of last night's show and what was your grade?