Monday, February 18, 2013

The Elimination Chamber 2013 – Last Stop on the Road to Wrestlemania

So this past Sunday was the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view and while I’m sure many people were watching the NBA All-Star Game, I was watching this. I am a moderate wrestling fan these days, a mere shadow of the huge wrestling fan I was years ago when guys like The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and HHH were mainstays and competed every week and not once or twice a year to make token appearances.

Nowadays I try to watch the pay-per-views whenever I can and today’s featured one of my favourite types of match, the Elimination Chamber. I remember watching the very first one and marveling at its ingenuity. At the time not even the Hell in the Cell match had come close to how this one looked, but more on that later. As is becoming the custom, the first match of the night was the World Heavyweight Championship match seeing the Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio. I’ve always found the Big Show entertaining to watch despite his size, today being no different, which tends to change a lot depending on his opponent. Del Rio needed three finishers to win the match but to no one’s surprise he did. Next up was the United States Championship up for grabs which Antonio Cesaro retained over the Miz. The third match, surprisingly, was the chamber match itself, which the entire event is named after and based upon. Generally this match is the reason I watch this pay-per-view in the first place, but the match itself has lost some of its original shock value now that it’s a yearly event and not the special match it once was. Regardless this match followed the general pattern of this type of match and was pretty good even though no one was eliminated until everyone entered the match. Mark Henry predictably took three finishers to get eliminated, but this match had the weakest ending I’ve ever seen for a No Disqualification Match. Randy Orton eliminated Jericho and then Jack Swagger pinned Orton…with a schoolboy pin. This match is supposed to be the “belly of the beast”, but when the Divas match has a better ending, this is considered a letdown.

The next contest saw The Shield vs. John Cena, Ryback, and Sheamus. This was a match I forgot was in the card, but I was excited for it since this is my favourite storyline going on right now. Much like the 6 man TLC match they were involved in at the TLC Pay-Per-View, this was the best match of the night and it delivered everything it promised, including Sheamus speared through the crowd barricade and a win for The Shield. The next contest was an “impromptu” match seeing Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston, which Ziggler easily won to the surprise of no one. The next contest was the Divas Championship which was retained by Kaitlyn and left everyone wondering why this match came after the Elimination Chamber match.

The final contest of the evening saw The Rock vs. CM Punk for the WWE Championship in a highly anticipated rematch since Punk lost the title after being champion for a record number of days. This match was built around the stipulation that if The Rock got disqualified or counted out he’d lose the belt thus rendering the Championship advantage obsolete. Unsurprisingly, late in the match, the referee was incapacitated and Punk hit the GTS and pinned The Rock for about 10 seconds before a second referee entered the ring, only to be incapacitated as well. Then Rock hit the People’s Elbow and of course Punk kicked out (anyone else remember a time when a finishing move actually won matches?). While the second referee was out, Punk tried to hit The Rock with the title belt and instead hit Paul Heyman in the head, at which point The Rock hit the Rock Bottom and pinned Punk for the win (the original ref made the three-count).

All in all, a rather entertaining pay-per-view, although the chamber match itself was a bit of a let down. Next month is the World Series of wrestling, Wrestlemania! In the words of Ray Arnold, "Hold on to your butts".

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