September 4, 2011
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

WWE: Elimination Chamber
February 20, 2011
Oakland, CA
Oracle Arena

The current WWE champs were as follows:
WWE Champion: The Miz (11/19/2010)
WWE U.S. Champion: Daniel Bryan (9/19/2010)
World Heavyweight Champion: Edge (12/19/2010)
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Kofi Kingston (1/7/2011)
WWE Unified Tag Team Champions: Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (12/6/2010)
WWE Divas Champion: Eve (1/30/2011)

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Josh Mathews, and…Booker T?! Cole is still calling Booker a five time world champ when he is in fact a SIX time world champ! *adjusts nerd glasses*

Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriquez) vs. Kofi Kingston
Winning the world title at WrestleMania is Alberto Del Rio’s DESTINY~! So much for destiny. As you can see above, Kofi Kingston is the IC champ. Obviously the belt is not on the line though. Kofi is looking for revenge here on ADR to defend the honor of…Hornswoggle?! He rides on aggression to start until Del Rio runs him into the ringpost on the apron. ADR takes over inside with a body scissors and continues to work the mid section. Kingston fires back with a SUPER flying forearm and hits the Boom Drop. TROUBLE IN PARADISE? Nope. Del Rio ducks and catches Kofi trying a flying bodypress with a gutbuster. Brilliant! Cover, 1-2-NO! ADR delivers Death By Roderick and only gets two. Kofi counters a backdrop into a DDT, but Ricardo distracts the ref to delay the count! CROSS ARMBREAKER gets countered to the S.O.S. for 1-2-NO! Kofi tries to mount ADR in the corner, but he sidesteps the leap and drops Kingston with a reverse neckbreaker. Nice! CROSS ARMBREAKER! Kofi locks his hands together, but ADR has the leverage and pulls them apart to hyperextend the elbow for the tap out. (10:29) Much better than it had any right to be considering the reason behind it. Although the point had to show that ADR is above IC title-level six weeks before WM27. **¾

In the back, Todd Grisham brings out the world champ Edge. If he can survive Vickie Guerrero, then ten tons of steel will seem like a walk in the park. Drew McIntyre slow claps over to Edge. McIntyre tells him that he’s going to take Edge’s world title for getting Kelly Kelly fired. Hey Drew, SHE DOESN’T EVEN LIKE YOU.

World Heavyweight Champion Edge vs. Kane vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Big Show vs. Wade Barrett vs. Drew McIntyre – Elimination Chamber
Dolph Ziggler was supposed to be involved in this match, but Smackdown GM Teddy Long FIIIIIIIIIIRRRRED him and replaced Ziggler with the Big Show. Edge and Rey start the match. It’s a fun four minute back and forth with nobody really gaining an advantage until Edge starts tossing Mysterio repeatedly into the cage. Wade Barrett enters the chamber next and handles Rey, but Edge knocks him around and launches Mysterio into Barrett with a seated senton. So much for the teamwork as Edge slides Rey out of the ring. He turns around to Barrett and takes the Black Hole Slam. That gets two. Barrett controls until Edge lowers the top rope and he flies out onto the steel. Rey gets caught up top and Barrett tries to bring him down with WASTELAND on the steel, but Mysterio pulls himself up onto the steel mesh wall and headscissors Barrett into the ring. 6-1-9 to Barrett gets cut off by a Big Boot from Edge. Here comes Kane. He owns everybody with uppercuts and a side slam for Barrett. Rey catches him with a quick Buzzsaw kick but only gets two. Edge boots him down to the mat and only gets two. Barrett tries the same and still can’t pin the guy. Barrett, Rey, and Edge have a TRIPLE KO! Kane takes Barrett over to the steel and beats him up there for a while. The Kane ownage continues until Drew McIntyre enters the chamber. He launches Rey like a LAWN DART through his own pod. Just when you think he’s going to join forces with Barrett to take down Kane, he turns on Barrett and throws him through the other side of his pod! AWESOME! With three men down, McIntyre goes after Edge. FUTURE SHOCK gets countered into the EDGECUTION. Time for the SPEAR, but Kane intercepts for the CHOKESLAM. He has to boot McIntyre away first, which allows Edge to push off the Chokeslam into the 6-1-9. Kane ducks and throws Mysterio into the ringpost, which also causes Rey’s head to go into the pod! Kane backdrops McIntyre’s FUTURE SHOCK onto Barrett, but then he and Edge boot each other down. EVERYBODY’S DOWN! Now the Big Show enters the chamber.

Once he takes out everyone, he corners Barrett and chops the crap out of his chest! Big Show then KNOCKS HIM THE F OUT and covers Barrett for the 1-2-3 at 18:49. Meanwhile, Rey has climbed up to the top of a pod. Kane hits a flying clothesline on Show and Edge delivers a flying elbow. Cover, 1-2-NO! Show presses him off. FUTURE SHOCK can’t get it done either. Seated Senton from the top of the pod! Cover, 1-2-NOPE! 6-1-9, SPEAR, CHOKESLAM! Finally, Kane pins Show at 20:55. McIntyre flies down into a CHOKESLAM for the 1-2-3 as well at 21:10. Kane tosses out Edge, but Mysterio counters the side slam into a swinging DDT. Springboard legdrop gets two. 6-1-9 connects and he tries a flying hurracanrana, but Kane stands tall. Here comes Edge to SPEAR THEM BOTH! Cover on Kane gets three at 22:52. Before he exits the chamber, Kane leaves them both laying with CHOKESLAMS. Edge comes up ready to dish out the SPEAR, but Rey floats over and counters into a schoolboy for two. Springboard crossbody, but Edge rolls through for two. Wheelbarrow bulldog gets two. Rey goes for another flying hurracanrana, but Edge counters with a sitout powerbomb for 1-2-NO! Another powerbomb gets countered into a headscissors for the 6-1-9, but Edge catches the legs and applies the EDGECATOR. Rey slips out into a rollup for 1-2-NO! Rey drops to the mat to avoid the SPEAR, but can’t avoid the next shot at the SPEAR for 1-2-NO! Another 6-1-9 and the springboard splash gets 1-2-NO! 6-1-9 again, but Edge catches Rey trying the flying splash again and drills him with a MID-AIR SPEAR! Cover, 1-2-3. (31:31) Everything and everyone had a purpose and the match came off really well. It’s always great when they use those established finishers to create that edge-of-your-seat drama especially in high pressure situations where there’s a lot on the line. ****

Afterwards, Alberto Del Rio comes out and attacks the world champ Edge until Christian makes his surprise return and gets an ounce of revenge on ADR putting him out of action for six months thanks to his cross armbreaker.

In the back, Matt Striker (why isn’t he on commentary tonight?!) grabs a word with Jerry Lawler. This should have been the most exciting week for him since he’s never been WWE champion or able to compete at WrestleMania, but his mom had just passed away.

To kill some time, Booker T brings out one of the Tough Enough trainers. It’s Trish Stratus. She tries imitating the Rock and Booker T catchphrases. This just further proves the point that imitations usually suck. But hey! It’s great to see Trish! WATCH TOUGH ENOUGH!

WWE Tag Team Champions Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (w/Tamina) vs. Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel (w/Ezekiel Jackson)
The tag champs own the challengers to start, but a kick from Gabriel sets up a slingshot corkscrew splash on Kozlov. He backdrops away a front headlock and tags Santino. He goes HIPTOSS CRAZY and gives the COBRA to Gabriel. Cover on Slater gets two. Tag to Gabriel, he misses a slingshot senton bomb as Kozlov tags. Slater blind tags in and hits Kozlov with E-MINOR to set up the 450 SPLASH from Gabriel for the win and the tag titles. (5:10) No one really cares. When the Bushwhackers 2011 were your top tag team, it’s time to rethink strategy anyway. ¾*

Vickie Guerrero interrupts and pleads with the WWE viewers to please ask Smackdown GM Teddy Long to rehire Dolph Ziggler. Teddy Long responds and is willing to rehire someone, but it’s not Ziggler. It’s Kelly Kelly! HOLLA! Vickie gets beaten down until LayCool make the save. Trish saves KK, but fails on the Stratusphere. Vintage Trish!

WWE Champion The Miz (w/Alex Riley) vs. Jerry Lawler
Anyone know if Jerry Lawler is the oldest man to receive a WWE title shot? He’s 61 years old at the time of this PPV. Lawler gets about five nearfalls in the first two minutes and punches away in the corner. To the floor we go. That gets dangerous as Riley distracts, Miz shoves Lawler into the ringpost. With Lawler draped on the apron, Miz delivers a high knee. That gets two. After Miz hits the corner clothesline, Lawler stops Miz up top and delivers a 60-year old man superplex. That gets two. Fist drop gets two, but Riley trips up Lawler to get him kicked out of the arena. DRATS! CURSES! Miz misses a corner charge and gets rolled up for two. PILEDRIVER?! No. Miz breaks free and boots Lawler down. Miz covers, but Lawler rolls him over for the 1-2-NO! To the floor again. Cole shouts at Lawler, so Lawler throws the Miz into Cole to shut him up. Back inside, Lawler hits Miz with a flying punch for 1-2-NO! Lawler shrugs off the SKULL CRUSHING FINALE and hits a DDT. DOWN COMES THE STRAP! FLYING FIST DROP! Cover, 1-2-NO! Miz gets his foot on the bottom rope while Booker T is reciting 2Pac’s ‘California Love’. I assume that if I ever went to Oakland, I would be doing the same thing. PILEDRIVER fails again, but the SKULL CRUSHING FINALE does not. Cover, 1-2-3. (12:09) The build was great and the match was fine. If it was any other time of the year, a one-night title switch would have been cool to see for Lawler. **½

Backstage, John Cena is enjoying a bowl of Fruity Pebbles. Elsewhere, CM Punk explains how he’s beaten Cena three times before in the past and never lost. CM Punk *can’t see* John Cena winning the Elimination Chamber or anybody else for that matter – except himself.

John Cena vs. CM Punk vs. John Morrison vs. Sheamus vs. R-Truth vs. Randy Orton – Elimination Chamber
Winner faces the WWE champ at WrestleMania. Sheamus and Morrison start the match. They go from headlocks and headscissors to brawling over on the steel platform. Morrison springs off the cage wall and hits Flying Chuck for two. Sheamus makes him pay with a couple Short-Arm Clotheslines. Morrison fires back with an enziguri and tries STARSHIP PAIN, but Sheamus shoves him off onto the steel. Randy Orton joins Morrison and Sheamus. He powerslams them both and sends Morrison crashing through the pod. Sheamus gets his head bounced off the chain link wall and takes the DDT onto the platform while he dangles through the ropes right in front of Punk, who watches on with a sick looking smile. Orton continues to dominate as he dishes out Garvin Stomps. Superplex on Morrison gets two. Superplex on Sheamus gets two. CM Punk is the next guy out of the pod, but they can’t get his door open! Punk tries to force himself out and gets stuck, which leaves him wide open for Orton. He finally gets out of the pod and Orton drops him with an RKO for the 1-2-3 at 9:01. Well, that’s not fair. The anonymous Raw GM changes the decision due to the pod malfunction and allows Punk back into the match although he has to return to the pod and wait for another turn. Punk has a great laugh about that. Sheamus delivers the Irish Curse backbreaker to Orton and tries the HIGH CROSS. Orton slips out and ducks the BROGUE KICK, but runs right into Flying Chuck from Morrison. Now John Cena is chosen. Sheamus is there to meet him at the door. During the beatdown, Morrison charges Cena and he still manages to AA him to the platform. Morrison lands on his feet while Sheamus attacks Cena from behind with a Christian-style backbreaker on the knee. Morrison flies in and takes out Orton and Sheamus with a flying bodypress. He runs at Cena again, but this time Morrison receives a backdrop to the platform. Cena joins Morrison on the platform as Sheamus wipes them both out with a slingshot clothesline. Orton brings Sheamus back into the ring and does alright until Sheamus cuts him off with a low knee to the gut. R-TROOF joins us in the Elimination Chamber. Sheamus tries to BUM RUSH THE SHOW on him, but Truth sees it coming. He delivers his signature stuff on everybody until Sheamus cuts him off with a BROGUE KICK. Cover, 1-2-3. Truth is gone at 17:32. Orton runs Morrison through one of the empty pods and works over Cena until it’s time for Punk.

Before the door opens, Cena grabs Orton for the AA. Orton slips out and drops Cena with the RKO right on the platform! Bad news for both guys. As Orton stands up, Sheamus BROGUE KICKS him down and Punk finally comes out of the pod. He covers Orton for 1-2-NO! Inside the ring, Punk mocks Orton’s set up for the RKO and hits the GTS for 1-2-3 at 21:35. Punk celebrates by looking all psychotic at Orton and slithering on the mat. Enough of that though. Punk starts dishing out knees, but Sheamus blocks the bulldog and throws him into the pod. With Punk and Cena down, Morrison and Sheamus fight to the top of the pod. Sheamus wants the HIGH CROSS, but Morrison does not! He kicks Sheamus down and SPIDERMANS up onto the ceiling. Sheamus doesn’t see him until Morrison drops from the ceiling onto him for the 1-2-3 at 25:19. We’re down to three! Cena hits shoulderblocks, the Protobomb, and the Five Knuckle Shuffle on Punk. He wants the AA on the platform though, but here comes Morrison out of nowhere to double sledge them all down. Morrison tries to knee Cena’s head into the pod, but misses and sounds like he breaks his knee cap. Next, Punk tries to choke Cena out with a headscissors. Cena stands up with Punk on his shoulders as Morrison joins in for a DOOMSDAY DEVICE! Morrison takes the AA, but Punk Muay Thai Kicks Cena down. As Cena rolls to the platform, Punk delivers a springboard clothesline. Cena takes a catapult into a pod, but Morrison leaps from the pod onto the steel chains and into Punk’s face with another Flying Chuck. STARSHIP PAIN inside the ring misses and Morrison hits his injured knee. GTS to Morrison! Punk eliminates Morrison at 32:53. Right out of the cover, Cena jumps Punk and delivers the AA onto the STEEL platform for the 1-2-3! (33:13) Incredibly predictable finish which made it lack the drama of the Smackdown EC, but the match was a great ride for the most part with a lot of cool moments individually from Punk and Morrison. The only person you could possibly even see winning besides Cena was Orton since Miz cashed in his MITB briefcase to win the WWE title, but he was already too deep into his WrestleMania storyline with Punk that even that slim possibility is irrelevant. ***½

Final Thoughts: As usual with these PPVs, the elimination chamber matches deliver leaving the rest of the card lacking just a little bit. Hindsight in the way Cena has been booked in 2011 has shown that having him win the Raw EC really wasn’t that bad of an idea. He didn’t really appear all that strong here either as you usually would see. Stripping away the Super Cena booking is what will make him intriguing again, which is what we have seen all year. Sometimes the *right* decision is the most obvious one. Mild thumbs up for Elimination Chamber 2011.

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