Monday, February 18, 2013

2/17/13 Elimination Chamber (Rock/Punk II)

This PPV is in New Orleans! The usual three-man team of Cole, JBL, and Lawler.

Brodus Clay & Tensai vs. Team Rhodes Scholars: The pre-show match of the PPV. I probably was one of those people clamoring for a RS reunion, mainly because I think it'll give both guys a more prominent role. Fans actually respond and cheer for these guys. I would, too. Tensai's wearing a hat to the ring now! Slowly making the transition, I see. RS with great double-team stuff to get Tensai down. Disaster Kick struck early. Brodus and Tensai with a double splash on Cody for the win after 4 minutes. *1/4

Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show (World Heavyweight Title): Good way to start the PPV because it's again a card filled with quality matches. First two ADR wins required help from announce tables or duct tape, which won't be the case tonight. Show as usual is dominant from the start. Crowd really loves the "SI" chants. Show with a spear early to get two. Show stays with the slow pace, then a huge Vader Bomb for two again. Cross armbreaker out of nowhere but Show gets to the ropes. ADR hits a hurricanrana and then the suicide dive. I like the babyface ADR moveset, don't you? ADR getting more of Mysterio's moveset, now hitting the seated senton from the top to get two again. Show catches ADR and hits a chokeslam...only two! Show counters ADR sunset flip, but ADR hits a DDT for two. Running enzuigiri in the corner also for two. Cross armbreaker again, but Show with his strength lifts ADR and hits a powerbomb-like move to get out of it. Show sets up for the KO punch. Ricardo runs interference again. Show holds the bucket to his head. ADR slips on the ropes and misses the running enzuigiri the first time, but does it properly on the second try. Another kick in the corner. Cross armbreaker to Show and Show taps. Match was about 11 minutes. ADR's still never pinned Show, but a great opener with several counters and favorable crowd reaction. ***

Antonio Cesaro vs. Miz (U.S. Title): So Miz basically got another title shot even though he failed the first time. WWE logic! Miz still has the taped left shoulder to sell those injuries Cesaro gave him. Cesaro, as predicted, works on that shoulder with an array of moves. Miz with a short comeback, but then Cesaro counters with an armbar. Action spills to the outside. Cesaro catches Miz, but Miz sends Cesaro into the steps. No kneepads for Cesaro so it hurts a lot more. Still jealous of Cesaro's strength. Miz focuses on the knee to set up for the figure four. Cesaro trips Miz up and makes it appear Miz caught Cesaro with a low blow. Ref believes it and Cesaro wins by DQ. Miz then decks Cesaro with a real kick to the jewels. **

Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry (Elimination Chamber): As usual, two superstars start, and pods will open every four minutes. Swagger comes out first to a new remixed Patriotic-like theme. Swagger, Kane, Henry, and Orton all start in the pods. Love that DB and Jericho are starting things off. Good chain wrestling to start. Each counters the other's submission finisher. Cole erroneously says the first EC match was when HBK came back; Shawn had returned three months prior at SummerSlam after probably 4+ years away. More counters on the steel portion of the chamber. Swagger comes out of the pod next and works on Jericho. Swagger Bomb for two. Swagger runs DB into the steel chain structure. Cole notes the multiple-time winners of EC matches (HHH with four, Cena three, and Edge two). Swagger continues to dominate until DB hits a flying knee on the outside and Swagger falls on the steel. DB misses headbutt on Jericho, Y2J covers for two. Next out of the chamber is Kane. Team Hell No reunites and it's virtual tag team action here. DB  then tries to roll Kane up for a pin! Vintage backstabbing! DB backs off but Kane knows better. No hugging it out in the chamber! Jericho back in, DB on his shoulders. Kane with Doomsday Device to DB. Swagger sneaks in but only gets two on DB. Orton is next out of the pod, so Henry comes in last as expected. Orton comes in with the usual "I'm the fresh guy so I get to nuke everyone" offense. Orton with the hangman's DDT to Kane on the STEEL. OW. Double superplexes from Orton and Jericho, probably can't do that in other rings because WWE's is larger. Everyone's laid out and Henry enters, licking his chops.

Henry with WSS to DB and Daniel's eliminated quickly. Henry tosses Orton through the plexiglass pod. Henry catches Kane coming off the top, WSS to Kane and Kane's gone. Henry's booked extremely strong here. Swagger and Jericho team up on Henry. Double suplex on the steel lays out Henry! Swagger and Y2J battle in the ring for a few near falls. Henry catches Y2J on the lionsault attempt and launches him into the chain links of the chamber. Henry eats a Swagger boot, Y2J codebreaker, and Orton RKO and gets eliminated. Henry's pissed and delivers WSS to the three remaining guys. Booker T and Teddy Long come out, and all of a sudden, Teddy's merely an assistant and not the "Senior Adviser" he once was. Y2J and Orton team on Swagger. Swagger into the post and the chamber pod. Jericho and Orton hit signature moves for near falls. Ankle lock to Orton, but Jericho breaks that up for who knows what reason. Ankle lock now to Jericho. Jericho counters into the Walls and Orton now for some reason decides to break that up. ELIMINATION MATCH, DAMMIT! Jericho counters RKO, Orton knees up on Lionsault, RKO to eliminate Jericho. Swagger sneaks in and rolls Orton up for three! Swagger's going to WM 29! Huge win for Swagger. Didn't think he'd win this one, but since ADR held onto the title, it seems fitting that a heel win it. I'm still expecting Ziggler to hold true to his word and cash in MITB by WM 29 -- or at the event to make it a triple threat. ***3/4

Shield vs. John Cena, Sheamus, & Ryback: The babyface superheros of course dominate the start with triple delayed vertical suplexes. Just don't drop anyone like Miz did with Punk. Sheamus on fire, and then Roman Reigns stops that. Sheamus explodes with a Brogue Kick to Ambrose and tags Cena. Cena moves of doom to Reigns. STF locked in but Ambrose breaks that up. Rollins with a springboard knee to Cena. Cena gets beaten down for a change; you don't see that every day. Crowd chanting for Ryback to get in the match. Cena with the ugliest back suplex known to mankind. Cena still can't get to Ryback. Shield doing a great job working on Cena. Cena backdrops Ambrose out of the ring. Crowd is going nuts for Ryback as he dismantles Ambrose and Rollins. Sheamus takes Ambose to the outside. Reigns spears Sheamus through the barricade! 3-on-1 assault on Ryback again! Cena pulls Reigns to the outside to thwart the triple powerbomb. AA to Ambrose! Ryback gets Rollins up for Shellshocked. Reigns comes back in and spears Ryback. Reigns fends Cena off and Rollins scores the pin on Ryback! WAIT, THE SHIELD PINNED RYBACK?! Well, I'll be damned. ***1/4

Frankly, I woulda hoped Cena or Sheamus would take the pinfall, but they had to feed Ryback to the Shield this time. Ryback looks at Cena and then storms off. I wouldn't necessarily call that a heel turn, but it could be the planting of one. Could set up something with Cena and Ryback for post-WM 29? I know Vince wants to keep the momentum going with Big Hungry.

Dolph Ziggler comes out and he pretty much complains that he's not booked for a match on the show. Booker T comes out and gives him a match with Kofi Kingston.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston: Kofi with a monkey flip to Ziggler; Ziggler rotates an extra 180 degrees and lands front-first on his left wrist. Ziggler favored the wrist for the rest of the match. Kofi went into the ring post and sold the right shoulder. Ziggler with a sleeper to Kofi. Kofi battles out. Suicide dive to the outside nails Big E Langston. Trouble in Paradise to Ziggler,but Langston looked like he pulled Ziggler out of the ring. Kofi high springboard dive onto Langston again! Kofi with a springboard crossbody onto Ziggler back in the ring for two. Ziggler with an innovative-looking "Super Snake Eyes" from the second rope anda Zigzag to Kofi to get three. Match was maybe four minutes. Langston storms in after the match and nukes Kofi with an avalanche and that modified cutter finisher. *1/2

Brodus and the Funkadactyls are playing with those new WWE Power Slammer action figures. Basically they roll around...yippee. Tensai is now nicknamed "Sweet T," I guess? Brodus asks what all the kanji on Tensai's face means and Tensai doesn't even know. Cameron slaps Tensai's ass and they randomly all dance in the back with the dance lights. Facepalm.

Kaitlyn vs. Tamina Snuka (Divas Title): Match made last Monday after some backstage altercation. So basically zero buildup. Kaitlyn taped promo references an AJ Lee spider monkey and Tonya Harding. Ugh. Kaitlyn on offense and the crowd doesn't care. A few divas watch on the monitor; hoping Natalya actually gets a title reign soon. Tamina with a Samoan drop -- or should it be a Fijian drop? Superfly splash misses and Kaitlyn hits the spear to retain the title at the 3:30 mark. *

WWE Title match closes the show. As a reminder, if Rock gets counted out or DQ'd, he loses the WWE Title.

The Rock vs. CM Punk (WWE Title): Punk still has Rock's title and comes out first. Punk makes Justin Roberts say Punk is the people's champion. Main event intros, and Roberts places more emphasis on Rock's name like he has with people like Cena. Punk with the upper hand to start, then it looked like he flipped off Rock. Rock storms back, so Punk backs off and slows things down. Heel logic! Punk keeps trying to push Rock's buttons to get a DQ. Punk spits in Rock's face! Keep on pushing the buttons! Rock pummels Punk on the outside. Punk rakes the eyes while Heyman distracts the ref. Crowd is split. Kids love Rock. Punk with a bunch of rest holds to Rock, and that bores the heck outta me. A couple of running knees to Rock. Action back to the outside and Punk readies the Spanish table. It's always gotta be the Spanish guys first! Rock fights back. Rock Bottom in the ring countered and a Punk roundhouse kick gets two. Back to the Spanish table. Punk with a Rock Bottom to Rock on the Spanish table! Table really reinforced this time and didn't collapse. Punk tries for the countout win. Rock milks the count and gets in at the last possible moment. Rock with a desperation Samoan drop. Double KO spot and they get up at nine again. Trading haymakers. Rock with the boot and DDT to Punk. Where's the burst of energy coming from, Lawler asks. DUDE, Rock didn't do much for the previous few minutes other than that Rock Bottom on the table! He shouldn't be winded! Punk counters Rock Bottom again with a ton of elbow strikes. Punk with the springboard -- into a Rock Bottom! Only two as Heyman probably avoided another heart attack. Heyman distracts the official. REF BUMP! Rock shoved into Mike Chioda. GTS from Punk but no ref. And again, Punk will argue on RAW how he gets screwed out of the title. Heyman is beside himself. Second ref comes down but tends to Chioda. Punk goes for another GTS but Rock counters with spinebuster and People's Elbow. Ref #2 in the ring...TWO as Punk kicks out. Punk appears to roll up on Ref #2's ankle so now he's down. Another kick to Rock. Punk motions for Heyman to give him the WWE Title. Heyman holds Rock on the ropes. Punk decks Heyman instead. Rock Bottom to Punk! Chioda back in the ring to count three. Rock retains at about 21 minutes. It wasn't gonna be a pretty and clean main event, but it delivered on crowd reaction at the end. It's clear Rock's in-ring conditioning is not gonna be at a level you saw from a Jericho or a Daniel Bryan in the chamber. ***3/4

Rock and Cena is now official for WM 29. Bet the farm that it'll be the last match on the card, and just about everyone is expecting Cena to triumph this time. I'd guess Rock and Cena shake hands to end WM 29 and you'll get the big fireworks and stuff.

WWE seems committed to having Punk wrestle Taker, and we'll likely see Lesnar and HHH part infinity.

Elimination Chamber PPV had seven matches on the main card, plus the pre-show match. Very good PPV overall. Loved the chamber match because the right people got booked solid, such as Mark Henry. Didn't expect Swagger to win, but that's a huge boost for his career. I thought Ziggler would cash MITB in here, but he'll probably save it for WM 29.

I would think Ziggler could cash it in on free TV as well to keep his promise intact, but since he's a heel and heels usually lie, I wouldn't hold my breath. ***1/2

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