WWE Elimination Chamber
Released June 4th 2012.
The road to Wrestlemania is a tough trek, but it is not without it’s rewards. However, those prizes are deeply hidden. Thus is the concept of The Elimination Chamber. Whilst the last chance to enter Wrestlemania as World or WWE Champion is just a pinfall away, it is also only available at the steep cost of your health, inside ‘Satan’s Structure’. Six men enter the cage and four of those men are then locked inside bulletproof pods until their time to enter the fracas presents itself. Two men start the match and trapped inside an enormous metal cell, anything goes. But, you have to wonder, is it beneficial to begin the match and try to outlast five other opponents or is it in your favour to come out last and fresh, but by that time, you have watched the damage and danger your fellow competitiors have endured, and the claustrophobia and anxiety has set in.
With that in mind, it is time to watch the carnage unfold, as CM Punk and Daniel Bryan head into the Chamber as champions, and try to leave the same way.
We open the show with the WWE Championship Match. The Champion, CM Punk and high-flyer Kofi Kingston begin the contest in exciting fashion, once co-holders of the Tag Team Championships together and still fan favourites, these two men know each other well and their styles mesh beautifully in the outset of this match. Part of the fun of this match-type is watching how the guys in the pods react and interact to the action. Here CM Punk’s nemesis, Chris Jericho, is taunting Punk from behind his plexiglass and Dolph Ziggler is using his pod as a personal gym, there’s always something going on (R-Truth and The Miz round out the line-up). The main story of this match is Jericho taking a bump to the outside which leaves him incapacitated, but that is far from the only memorable part of this fast-paced and exhilarating bout and it is perhaps the best Chamber match in recent memory.
The divas title is then defended in a regular match (The Elimination Chamber is only used for the WWE and World Heavyweight title matches) by Champion Beth Phoenix against Tamina Snuka. Although Tamina is somewhat an unknown quantity as far as PPV matches are concerned, she holds her own wonderfully against the dominant Glamazon, in a genuinely enjoyable Divas match. This should be the standard at which WWE demands from their female competitors if the Women’s title is to ever be taken seriously.
Next up is a break from the action with an amusing in-ring segment featuring John Laurinatis gathering support to usurp Teddy Long and become General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown. This features appearances from Mark Henry, Alberto del Rio and Christian returning from injury to show allegiance to Laurinaitis. This is fun but in retrospect it makes little sense because ADR didn’t return until after Wrestlemania, so wasn’t on Johnny’s team and Christian has since returned as a Fan Favourite who has gone against the opinions he holds here. Nevermind, we still get this visual:
Surprisingly, it is already time for the Smackdown Main Event as World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan defends his title against Santino Marella, The Great Khali, Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes and Big Show. Interestingly, Bryan starts his Elimination Chamber at a greater advantage than his Raw counterpart as he begins his defense inside a pod. So it is the Giant and the Bareknuckle fighter who kick this match off with more of a fight than the previous Chamber match. Looking at the combatants in this bout may give you the feeling that this is a weaker match than the excellent encounter earlier in the night with two lumbering giants and a ‘comedy act’ but you’d be wrong, this is every bit as enthralling as this type of match promises and despite us following Marella in a number of Rocky style montages, he is all business once the bell rings and the crowd support for him is heartwarming.
The following match is good but had it just been added without the ridiculous preceding segment featuring a dwarf and a flatulent Diva, it would have felt so much better. Justin Gabriel and Jack Swagger tangle over the United States Championship in a great little impromptu match in a battle of the criminally underused talent. They both deserve so much more and such better treatment, I can only hope that the cream will rise to the top sooner rather than later. Skip the stupid segment and enjoy this on it’s own merits because it’s how it should be viewed.
The main event is next. An Ambulance Match between Kane and John Cena. Can I just reiterate, the main event of the last PPV before Wrestlemania 28, entitled Elimination Chamber featuring box art of the ‘demonic structure’ is an Ambulance Match between two guys who aren’t even champions. Yes, that happened. The point of this match is to incapacitate your opponent and stuff him into the back of an Ambulance. This is, of course, a no-holds barred match. For what it is, it is enjoyable enough, it harkens back to the feud that made this match necessary, which is a nice touch and has enough spectacle to keep your attention, it’s not Main Event-worthy though and certainly not to the calibre of the cage matches, but it doesn’t matter, it’s good enough to not annoy.
2012 is another strong year and Elimination Chamber keeps it’s momentum going. A great event which is worth buying for the Raw Match alone and it is at a ridiculously low price at Silvervision’s website. I’d recommend this highly. The video and sound are both excellent, as is the presentation, the only special feature is an interview with Daniel Bryan, which is amusing, but you’ll only watch once. A Blu-Ray is available too, which has much better extra features.