I know that the Rock is beating CM Punk. The only question is how. The count out/DQ stipulation has to play in somehow, but it also needs to blow up in Punk’s face. A split in the Punk/Heyman union is imminent after their man hug on Raw, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be now. A Punk match hasn’t finished clean in months, so we can expect something off the wall to happen here as well. A rumored triple threat match throwing Punk in the main event at WrestleMania with Rock and Cena is the only hope of him somehow reclaiming the title. That would mean the Undertaker won’t be around to face Punk and either way I don’t see it happening.
Meanwhile, I think I know that Dolph Ziggler is finally cashing in his MITB briefcase to become the World Heavyweight Champion. He’s held on to the thing forever and hasn’t even made an attempt at cashing in since the night after TLC. Throw in the fact that he is not booked for a match and it all makes perfect sense. Del Rio wins but Big Show knocks him out, giving Dolph the opening to steal the belt away. That takes us into WrestleMania with Ziggler as champion to face the winner of the lone Elimination Chamber match, which I think I know will be Chris Jericho but am still holding out hope for Daniel Bryan.
Now enough of what I know, let’s see what actually happens.
After an intro that made good use of the Rock’s screen time in the GI Joe movie, Elimination Chamber kicks off with the World Heavyweight Championship match between Alberto Del Rio and the Big Show. Del Rio comes out with red tights and a red scarf, somehow making himself more mexican in the process. You can guess the start of the match. Big Show goes on the attack, dominating Del Rio with chops and boots and such. Del Rio ducks under a big boot and brings Show to the floor to gain some momentum. He hit an enziguri for a two count and then had the cross arm breaker broken up by Big Show, who connected on a spear to regain control. Show hit a splash from the second rope, but Del Rio kicked out on two and applied the cross arm breaker. Show eventually made it to the rope (despite Ricardo trying to pull it away from him) and got Alberto in a bear hug. Big Show then looked like he was going to try a power bomb (which he never does so you know it won’t work) but Del Rio turned it into a hurricarrana. Alberto then leapt through the ropes into Show outside the ring, but Show got back in on the 8 count. Following a seated senton by Alberto, Big Show hit a chokeslam for a two count. Show teased the KO Punch but Del Rio escaped the ring. Big Show pulled Del Rio back in by his head but Alberto turned a second chokeslam attempt into a DDT and a two count. A lot is going on in this match but it isn’t quite hitting with the crowd. After an enziguri in the corner, Del Rio locked in the arm breaker again. Big Show powered out of it by picking up Del Rio and slamming him down. Show was setting up to use the KO Punch, but instead he hit Ricardo with a boot and took his spit bucket. Show held it by his head looking at Ricardo when the botch of the night happened. Del Rio went to kick the bucket into Show’s head but completely whiffed. Show then had to hold still so that Alberto can get up and do it again. With Show dazed, Del Rio hit him with a few more kicks to the head and applied the cross arm breaker, causing Big Show to finally tap out and end a match that will be remembered more for a huge botch. Bad start to the PPV, especially since Dolph Ziggler had nothing to do with it. I’m very disappointed.
United States Championship up next (after another GI Joe plug of course) putting Antonio Cesaro against the Miz. They start off trading blows, with Miz trying a couple of roll up attempts before Cesaro started working Miz’s injured shoulder. This featured a great spot where Antonio caught Miz trying to leap over him, turning it into a shoulder breaker. Miz would try to come back occasionally only for Cesaro to go back to the shoulder each time. Cesaro made sure to show off his strength some more, lifting Miz straight up with one arm out of an arm bar. He then made the most blatant botch of his WWE career so far when he tried to jump on Miz’s shoulder but completely missed (that’s 1 botch per match). Miz finally ducked under an elbow to hit a high boot and gain momentum. He went to the top rope for a double axe handle but Cesaro caught it and applied an arm lock. It looked like Miz might tap but instead he reversed the hold into another roll up pin attempt. Cesaro kicked out on two and headed out of the ring. Miz went after him and Antonio looked to throw him into the steel steps, but Miz reversed it and Cesaro injured his knee. Now the field is leveled. Miz starts working the knee and went for the figure four leglock, but Cesaro took Miz’s leg out from under him, forcing Miz’s knee into Cesaro’s crotch. Cesaro oversells and gets the ref to DQ Miz for a low blow. Crap finish to a mediocre match. That’s 0-2 on the PPV. Miz kicked Cesaro in the crotch on purpose after the match. Funny, I feel like I’ve been kicking in the groin twice so far.
Backstage Kane is ignoring Daniel Bryan because he cost him a match a couple of weeks ago. Bryan asks why Kane is being grumpy, with Kane telling Bryan he looks like one of the Seven Dwarfs (burn!). Bryan convinced Kane to work together during the match and they hugged it out. Elimination Chamber match is next to determine the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. Now that Ziggler didn’t cash in, it completely opens up who can win the match.
Jack Swagger comes out first with Zeb Coulter. I never noticed his new theme until now. They both get in the ring to “shower us with truth.” Swagger lisps his way through promoting Zeb’s words before Coulter talks about how the US is full of illegal immigrants and setting things right and all that nonsense. PPV’s are not the place for promos and this is no different. This is taking up way too much time. At the same time, they are drawing the wrong kind of heat and it’s just not working. Finally the rest of the competitors come out and we can start the match. Daniel Bryan starts off in the ring with Chris Jericho. If these two could just take care of the entire match I’ll sign up every time. They start strong with some old school wrestling. Jericho tries to applies the walls but Bryan turns it into a NO Lock, which Jericho escapes to try the Walls again before Bryan spins out. With the crowd starting to die again, Bryan does a backflip off the top rope and tries to suplex Jericho onto the chamber floor, Jericho blocks it and tries to drop Bryan on it but that gets blocked as well. Chris then flings Daniel into the cage and the crowd has no reaction. I can’t believe how bad this PPV has been so far. Finally someone else gets into the ring and it’s…Jack Swagger. Balls. Swagger, comes in immediately hits Jericho with a Swaggerbomb but only gets a two count. From there Swagger drilled Bryan against the cage, Bryan came off the top rope into Jack and Chris outside the ring. Jericho then moved away from Bryan crashing in with a splash attempt from the top rope. Kane is the next one in and he starts working together with Bryan. Bryan then turns on the distracted Kane and tries to roll him up. Kane kicks out and the two start arguing in the middle of the ring. Kane has had enough and the two go at it. They put on a pretty good show, going back and forth until Jericho steps in and we hit another lull. The destruction of Team Hell No continues. Orton is next in the ring and he starts taking everyone out. After Orton DDTs Kane from the second rope, he superplexed Swagger right before Jericho superplexed Bryan. With everyone down Mark Henry steps in at the perfect time. He just pushes everyone around before hitting Bryan with the World’s Strongest Slam and eliminating him. Henry then went over to Orton and threw him through the chamber glass. He is single handedly saving this PPV. Kane then starts trading blows with him. Henry then catches Kane going off the top rope and hits the WSS, taking out the other half of Team Hell No. Jericho and Swagger then decide to work together, combining to suplex Henry onto the chamber floor. Big pop. With Henry down, Jericho and Swagger go at it. Swagger escapes the Walls but Jericho counters with a running bulldog. Jericho then went for the lionsault but Henry got up and caught him by the throat, throwing him into the wall. Mark then threw Chris into Swagger and attempted a second rope splash on the two of them but both men turned away. Jericho then hit Henry with a codebreaker, with Orton coming out of his coma to hit him with an RKO. Orton pins Henry to eliminate him, an Henry does not leave happy. Instead, he runs back into the chamber and hits the remaining three competitors (Jericho, Orton and Swagger) with WSS’. It’s not until Booker T and Once the remaining guys get up, Orton and Jericho team up on Swagger, throwing him into the corner of the chamber. With him down, Orton and Jericho face off. Chris when for an attack off the top rope but Randy met him with dropkick. Orton then hit both Swagger and Jericho with powerslams. Orton set up Jack for the second tope DDT but Jericho hit him with a springboard dropkick. Swagger then blocked the codebreaker into a powerbomb and had Orton in an ankle lock until Chris broke the hold. Swagger then put Jericho in the ankle lock but Chris reversed it into a lion tamer. He looked like he might take out but Orton broke it up. Why these holds keep getting broken up is anyone’s guess. Randy hit both Jericho and Swagger with the second rope DDT at the same time. Jericho then escaped the RKO but Orton blocked the lionsault and finally hit the RKO to eliminate Jericho in epic fashion. The cheering was short lived however as Jack Swagger snuck up and immediately rolled up Randy Orton to get the pin and become the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship. Slow start but a hell of a finish, regardless of what you think of the result. Orton and Jericho really stepped up at the end. So now we have Alberto Del Rio, the Mexican aristocrat, defending his title again Jack Swagger and his anti foreigner gimmick. Like it or not, the WWE always has a plan. Swagger performed fine here, but I just can’t imagine him putting on a better show than the other men in the match, and this is booked as a top match at WrestleMania. Add on the good old boy rants and I’m not a fan.
Time for the first main event as the Shield takes on the Superface team of John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback. The Shield comes out second and brawling immediately starts. In the middle of the ring the three faces simultaneously hit stand up suplexes on members of the Shield. It’s like the elephants at the circus raising their trunks. Once the match actually starts, Sheamus and Ambrose lead off. Sheamus starts hitting Dean in the chest, stopping to remove his protective vest to do some real damage. Roman Reigns gets tagged it and gets the momentum back for the Shield. Sheamus jumps out of the corner with a Brogue Kick and makes it to Cena who does all his Cena stuff. He locks in the STF but it gets broken up. With the ref distracted, Rollins hit John with a springboard knee to the head and the Shield start controlling things again. So far the match is each face getting his shots in on his own, getting hit back with the Shield teams up until the next face comes in. Cena takes the butt of the beatings, with highlight in a spot where Rollins jumped off Ambrose’s back to hit Cena in the corner, immediately throwing him into Reigns who hits him with a power clothesline. Cena finally gets out of a lengthy sleeper hold but Reigns again knocks him down before he can reach his corner. After Ambrose hit him with a big leg sweep DDT, Cena chucked him over the top rope and finally made it to Ryback who starts tearing them apart. Reigns steps in to stop Ryback from hitting the meathook and action goes outside. Roman Reigns spears Sheamus through the barrier (almost hitting Lillian Garcia!) to take him out. Cena and Ryback put up Ambrose and Rollins respectively, but after Cena hits the AA Reigns spears Ryback, with Reigns falling on him to get the pin and win the match for the Shield. Another surprise finish in what is the clear match of the night. I wasn’t sure how it would go and it surpassed all of my expectations. Ryback, who was pinned in the middle of the ring cleanly for the first time, stormed off in a hissy fit while Cena was trying to figure out what happened. Very curious what happens with Ryback going forward. Both he and Sheamus currently have very little going on going toward WrestleMania.
My boy Dolph Ziggler, fresh off not doing anything tonight, is out to complain about how he isn’t booked, and that Jack Swagger ended up winning the Elimination Chamber match. After ranting for a while, Booker T comes out to say he is wasting his time. Booker says there is someone who can do everything he can do and more, Kofi Kingston. So now they are going to have a match because why not. Kofi pulls off a monkey flip early that Ziggler does a full flip on. Ziggler hits the standing dropkick and we’re on even footing. After a strong rope sequence Dolph applies the sleeper hold. Kofi escapes by tossing him over the top rope. Kingston then tries to leap at Ziggler but hits Langston instead. Back in the ring, Ziggler almost hit AJ, giving Kofi the opening to hit the distracted Ziggler with Trouble in Paradise. Kingston takes too long to cover and Ziggler gets out of the ring. Ziggler made a big counter”by hurling Kofi into the ring post, hitting the Zig Zag to secure the win. Perfectly normal match. Afterwards, Big E jumped in (probably pissed at being touched by Kofi) and smacked Kingston around for a while. He finally landed his finisher off they went. This replaced the Diva’s Championship match and did a good job with the change.
Backstage, Brodus Clay is playing with toys when Tensai comes in asking where his toy is. Brodus says they couldn’t get the scribble on his face, which Tensai says is probably a sushi menu (rare self burn). A dance party starts and more of my life is wasted. They beat Team Rhodes Scholars in their long awaited reunion match during the YouTube show.
If the crowd wasn’t dead enough already, they are doing the Kaitlyn/Tamina Diva’s match after all. With all the other Diva’s watching, the match is basically a shoving contest. Kaitlyn occasionally attempts a roll up and Tamina pulls off a power move. Tamina missed the Snuka splash and Kaitlyn came back with a spear to retain the title.
With all the filler out of the way we’re finally ready for the main event, as the Rock defends his WWE Championship against CM Punk, who stole the belt last week. Let’s not forget the stipulation where Rock loses the belt if he is counted out or DQ’d. Punk comes out first with Paul Heyman holding the WWE Championship. He then holds it over his head and makes the announcer refer to him as the champ. It would have been a nice touch if he changed the nameplate as well but it’s still pretty damn good. They really milk the start. The circle around the mat, Punk delivers a shoulder block and repeat. Twice. Rock then hits a couple of arm drags and Punk escapes the ring before anything else can happen. I feel like they are trying to protect the Rock after his conditioning was questioned the last time. They are just stretching things out. They start jawing again in the middle of the ring when Punk slaps Rock, causing Rock to lose his tempter and start attacking Punk. Punk tries to lead him on and get Rock DQ’d. He even spits in Rock’s face. The story of the match is now established. Rock starts smacking punk around outside the ring, but once they get back inside it’s all Punk. Much like the first meeting, Punk controls the pace, keeping Rock down with holds. Again like the last time, every time Rock mounts some offense Punk knocks him back down with a leaping kick or something of the sort. I have to say, it’s getting pretty boring. Punk hits the high knee in the corner and the flying elbow for a two count. Punk takes Rock outside the ring and dismantles the spanish announce table. Rock fights back though brings them back inside. Punk escapes a Rock Bottom and lands a high kick, but again only gets a two count. Back outside the ring, Punk hits Rock with a Rock Bottom on the spanish announce table (which doesn’t break. they just can’t get that spot right!). Punk then jumps back in the ring so the ref can start a ten count. Of course Rock gets in on nine and we continue. Rock hits a samoan drop and the two start trading blows. It’s like the match took twenty minutes to start. Rock hits a DDT and preps for the Rock Bottom. Punk elbows him down and goes for a springboard clothesline, but Rock catches him and hits the Rock Bottom. Punk kicks out on two though and we continue (Heyman was very vocal in telling Punk he kicked out. With Rock coming off the ropes he hit the ref, who was arguing with Heyman, knocking out the ref. Punk then hit the GTS but there is nobody to count. Punk then calls for another ref to come in but this time Rock escapes the GTS and hits a People’s Elbow. The new ref injures his ankle as Punk knocks out Rock with a high kick. With no officials, Heyman gives Punk the title and Paul holds Rock up. Punk goes to hit Rock but hits Heyman instead. Rock then hits Punk with a Rock Bottom, the original ref comes in and the Rock wins via pinfall to retain the title. Strong second half to an incredibly slow starting match.
So the table is now set for WrestleMania. Jack Swagger will face Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship in a match nobody expected to see, and the Rock will defend the WWE Championship against John Cena in a match everyone expected to see. The only question is what CM Punk will do. Will he go against the Undertaker? Will he join Cena and Rock in a triple threat match? Something has to be announced soon.
Also, when in the holy hell is Dolph Ziggler going to cash in the stupid Money in the Bank briefcase? WrestleMania I hope.
Overall, this PPV sucked.