WWE Live Show Review: Elimination Chamber 2013
The Elimination Chamber may be one of the WWE's more recent gimmicks, but it has also become one of the company's most popular and inventive. The (now) annual Elimination Chamber is always an interesting event and one that helps build up the hype for WWE PPV highlight WrestleMania.
This year was no different, alongside the highly anticipated EC bout we had a few Title re-matches and some pretty decent encounters too.
The pre-show match (which may well become a DVD extra) saw the reunited Team Rhodes Scholars tackle the oddball combo of Tensai and Brodus Clay. Whilst Rhodes/Sandow did exactly what we expect of them it was Tensai/Clay who impressed in this one. The short bout ended with a surprise win for the big man duo. The future of the tag team division may well be Clay/Tensai and you know what it may just work.
The event properly kicked off with the World Heavyweight Title match between Champion Alberto Del Rio and Big Show. Show was on fine form here and really worked hard to put ADR over as a worthy title holder. Del Rio pulled off the win with a very decent looking arm-breaker submission.
The big shock was that we never saw Dolph Ziggler make a Money in the Bank cash-in (which many of us speculated).
Antonio Cesaro's United States Championship was on the line next and his opponent The Miz really did try to make this a watchable affair. The DQ finish did nothing to elevate either grappler and proved to be a flat way to end the scrap. Odds are we will be seeing a rematch sometime soon.
The EC match to determine the #1 contender to the World Heavyweight Championship was then upon us. The combatants were all former world title holders and they all had their work boots on. Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho kicked things off in style and for the rest of the match the pace was perfect. Early on in the match there were some nice spots and they grew along the way, each elimination worked perfectly with the storyline and told a wonderful tale. To be honest, even after all these years of wrestling writing this was a match that really did hold my attention throughout. The 30 plus minute match saw some surprise eliminations and career shortening moves. The finish was even more of a shock, as the newly re-packaged Jack Swagger pulled off his biggest win in recent times.
Swagger has of course been associated with Zeb Colter (Dutch Mantel) as of late and perhaps this character change may be the big break he needs. A World Heavyweight Title match may be the prefect way to take him to the next level and beyond.
As six man matches go the following one was superb. The early all-out brawl between the combatants worked well and let us see the potential of this match-up. The 'Let's Go Cena/Cena Sucks' chants were abundant as usual and helped elevate The Shield's profile over that of their opponents Cena, Sheamus and Ryback.
This was yet another good example of in-ring storytelling and also helped build up the newer members of the roster too. The Shield not only pulled off the win (in a superbly times finish), but now see themselves as genuine stars in the company.
Ziggler turned up next and had an impromptu match with Kofi Kingston. This was short and somewhat sweet. This felt like a forced encounter and one that the PPV didn't really require. Ziggler's cohorts AJ Lee and Big E Langston had a hand in the finish too. Langston even went as far as to assault Kingston post-match as well.
Kaitlyn defended her Divas Title against Tamina Snuka in a short and un-emotive match next. The moves were basic and the action limited. It is a shame to see the once exciting Divas division fall so low. Kaitlyn retained her belt here and we do hope the WWE get some of their developmental talent (like the UK's Paige) trained up and moved up to the main roster asap.
The main event saw new WWE Champion The Rock face former champ CM Punk (with Paul Heyman). The stipulation was that if Rock was counted out or disqualified he lost his gold. Paul Heyman was key here, his role is pivotal in many of Punk's matches and even more so here. The action took place both in and out of the ring and even saw the announcers tables utilised (which always proves to be fun). Considering his lack of ring time and movie career Rock showed no signs of ring-rust and worked well with Punk. A ref bump and Heyman's botched interference led to Rock retaining his belt.
As EC went off the air a graphic show the much anticipated Cena/Rock re-match will happen at Mania and now we all hope that Undertaker is fit enough to meet CM Punk on that show too.
Elimination Chamber was a very good PPV for the WWE and one that offered up some nice finishes and story line developments. We also now have one half of the Mania main event. Who knows what the WWE have lined up for us between now and WrestleMania weekend.
By Phil Allely