Monday, February 20, 2012

Elimination Chamber React!

The Road to WrestleMania XXVIII continued to be paved last night as WWE Elimination Chamber came to fans live from Milwaukee and on Pay-Per-View.  Check out the respective take’s of Tom and Jim in the aftermath of last night’s events!

Tom’s Take:
WWE’s Elimination Chamber was a much stronger show that last month’s Royal Rumble.  As I watched last night, I was constantly entertaining and engaged in the on-goings as they pertained to the wrestlers involved and the stories surrounding them.  Is it possible to nitpick?  Absolutely, but I’ve decided that I really won’t go that route in this take.  The positives outnumbered the negatives and that made me happy.

I was shocked that the show opened with RAW Chamber Match.  Ahead of the show, I was almost certain this was the main event and would close the show.  Also, it has been a long, long time where the strongest match on the show was the opening contest…yet, most openers don’t go 35+ minutes!  A clean shaven CM Punk retained his title (as I successfully picked on Friday!) and did so with the story between he and Chris Jericho nowhere near resolution.  I wasn’t the biggest fan of the way Jericho was outed of the match, but it was a “smart” way to do it without having him lose and keep the interest/issue between he and Punk going.  I look forward to their bout at WrestleMania without a doubt.  Other thoughts: Dolph Ziggler going out before The Miz was a head scratcher.  Ziggler was outstanding in this match, taking endless punishment!  When will WWE really get behind the Zig Zag Man?  Hopefully at ‘Mania.  Kofi Kingston was also a stand-out in this match and with the team of Air Bourne being done (most likely), I hope Kofi gets more opportunity to rise.

Beth Phoenix-Tamina Snuka was a good Divas Title Match.  The story of “The Glamazon” being just so dominant is a good one.  She has competitive matches but comes out in the end on top.  Will Kharma be the one to finally prove to be the challenge she cannot overcome?  Time will tell.

The John Laurinaitis segment was fun, if for no other reason than to see Alberto Del Rio and Christian again.  I feel like the whole “GM of BOTH shows” story is coming up because of election season, but perhaps I am wrong.  Could it be the heels aligning with Laurinaitis and the faces aligning with Teddy Long?  If so, it would be a perfect tie-in to a “Bragging Rights” or “Survivor Series” –style match, but that is just wishful thinking on my part.

The Smackdown Chamber Match was a pleasant surprise, in that as it went on, it did get progressively better.  Beginning the bout with Big Show and Wade Barrett gave it a flat start to me.  Randy Orton’s absence was very noticeable, but I continue to be amazed by Santino Marella.  For the scuttlebutt and the apparent on-line disdain for Santino, the people in Milwaukee were going crazy for him last night.  Isn’t that a staple of what wrestling is all about?  Making a connection with fans and getting them to invest in you?  Santino did that better than half of the wrestlers on the show last night.  Was it magic in a bottle, right place, right time or something else?  Regardless, it made the final stretch of the this Chamber match the most dramatic thing of the night!  My only minor complaint on the match was that the Big Show-Daniel Bryan issue was not fully resolved to me and I would have liked to see that.  Bryan getting the win and going to WrestleMania as defending champion is very awesome to me, having first seen him live in a small Philadelphia venue 10 years ago.  Sheamus’ post-match involvement made sense too and gave a nice nod to PPV continuity as he made his “choice” of which title he’d be going after thanks to his Rumble win.

Jack Swagger-Justin Gabriel was somewhat of a throwaway match.  The basis for their “issue” was created just minutes beforehand and spoke to the times where it comes across that WWE doesn’t even attempt to develop issues/feuds/rivalries.  On paper, I could see this being a fun match, but that means it would be more than just an after thought when it comes together during the show.  To me, it comes across as more “time filler” instead of “anything can happen in the WWE!”

The Ambulance Match as the main event was a shocker to me, if for no other reason than it displaced the Chamber bouts.  For the TV time and more invested, it did make good sense to see Cena look to end his issue with Kane on top.  I make no bones about it, I am a Cena fan.  I don’t ever have issue with where WWE places him.  His earned and is worth all that he gets.  This match certainly exceeded my expectations and all of the “stunts” aside, it was main event worthy to me.  It ended with the proper close of Cena speaking to the camera, standing tall heading towards his encounter with The Rock and the WrestleMania logo in the background.  Cena vs. Rock should be epic and I cannot wait!

Jim’s Take:
Elimination Chamber has come and gone, and we are in the express lane on that Road to Wrestlemania! 

All in all the show did what I expected it to.  We are all set now for Punk vs. Jericho at Mania, as well as Bryan vs. Sheamus.  It also seems to have (at least for now) ended the Cena/Kane storyline so Cena can move on to more pressing matters (and frankly for me, more interesting matters), namely his main event match that has been one year in the making against The Rock at Wrestlemania. 

I do have to agree with Tom that I was very surprised the Raw Chamber opened the show, I had also thought it would be the main event, and was disappointed to see it open the show, but it did it’s job it seems.  Kofi Kingston definitely needs to be pushed as a top guy right up there with Cena/Punk on the top of Raw, so I hope we continue to see that.  He has more than earned it, and we’ve seen a few times that it seems he would be able to carry the ball, if only creative would actually give him the damn thing! 

Tamina Snuka has been built up nicely, but it was obvious she was going to be the “flavor of the month challenger” for Phoenix.  Let’s hope we start a build towards Phoenix/Kharma tonight as I think that’s a GREAT woman’s match to add to Wrestlemania (provided they give them more than 30 seconds).  I do hope however that they try to keep Snuka strong…they have to figure out that if there are more than 1-3 ladies strong at any given time, that’s actually a good thing! 

I think that the GM angle isn’t going to go to Bragging Rights or Survivor Series.  The way that WWE burns through angles with reckless abandon, it could be decided as early as Raw, but most likely they’ll have some sort of match at Wrestlemania where each has a wrestler or wrestlers representing them, with the winner becoming GM of both shows.  Eh.  Hope the match will be good at least, be interesting to see who Long picks, given that it looks like Del Rio, Christian, Henry and Otunga could represent Laurinaitis

The Smackdown Chamber may just have made a star out of Santino.  The guy actually can work when they let him, so I’d love to see them make him a bit more serious in the ring, he could evolve into a solid mid-carder.  I love the comedy stuff, don’t get me wrong, but if there is a way to mix that with some actual wrestling skill (which he has), that would be really fun to watch develop.  Bryan winning was the only way they could really go in this match, especially with Orton out, and frankly, he’s earned the right to have a featured World Title match at Wrestlemania.  Now, let’s hope they don’t do what they did with Del Rio/Edge last year and have the World Title start off the show.  Sheamus coming out and choosing Bryan made total sense, and it’s sweet revenge for both guys since their match last year got cut for time restrictions. 

Swagger/Gabriel, totally agreed with Tom, no build, no nothing, just looks like someone in creative went “we gotta fill some time….umm…how about Swagger and Gabriel, yeah, let’s do that”.  Heck, there had been more build to Primo/Epico vs. The Usos lately, that could have gone here just as easily.  Or Hunico vs. Dibiase…something that actually had a moment of build…oh well. 

While I’m not crazy about the Ambulance Match ending the PPV, it ends the feud, and sounds like it was a decent enough match.  I freely admit that my distain for the angle in general has clouded any hope of me liking the match.  I’m ready to move on to Cena/Rock, big time! 

Well, after the Head 2 Head tally is all done for Elimination Chamber, Tom was perfect in his predictions, while I missed my Raw Chamber prediction of Jericho, leaving us tied up at 7-5 each going into Wrestlemania!  Bring it on for ‘Mania Tom!!

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