Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Elimination Chamber 2011
Posted by Jack Bramma on 03.14.2011
Albert Del Rio takes on Kofi Kingston, Edge and Rey Mysterio go wire to wire in an elimination chamber, and Jerry Lawler takes on The Miz for the WWE Championship.
• Relevant Storylines: Ricardo Rodriguez just wants somebody to love him. Drew McIntyre decides emulating Orton's methodical entrance and in-ring style isn't the best career strategy. The Corre look to climb the tag team mountain and stay there for a long long time. Booker T is prejudiced against heels that don't cheat. And CM Punk makes the EC two out of three falls.
• Scheduled Card:
1. Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston.
2. Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship: Kane vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Wade Barrett vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Mystery Opponent vs. Edge (c).
3. WWE Tag Team Championship: The Corre vs. Santino Morella and Kozlov (c).
4. WWE Championship: Jerry Lawler vs. The Miz (c).
5. Elimination Chamber for the Number One Contender for the WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. R-Truth vs. CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Sheamus vs. John Morrison.
• Awesome video package that really makes the EC matches seem like a huge deal and the most violent match in history. It also mentions it is the last chance to put yourself in the main event of WM. The EC has probably surpassed the HITC as the WWE's signature violent match. The promo ends with an awesome Jack Torrance-like visual of Edge biting the EC chains.
• Albert Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston. Ricardo Rodriguez starts us off and this guy is great. His heat is off the charts. It's really proximity heat from Del Rio but Rodriguez has this superb way of just telling the crowd to go fuck themselves with a casual glance before he starts in with the Spanish. For evidence, watch the 2-11-11 Smackdown where Del Rio was running off the list of things he loves but never mentioned Ricardo and the whole time he's in the background begging for a shoutout. Ricardo talks some espanol smack in namedropping the Oakland Raiders. Del Rio has the best facial expressions and pure charisma without needing a microphone since The Rock. His name is ADR but we already knew that but what we didn't know is that he's committed to excellency. He says later tonight six men will put themselves in harm's way for the honor of losing to him at WM. ADR calls Kofi a piece of trash and here comes Kofi to defend his own honor. Kofi is IC champ.
• Kofi is fired up but the ref demands a rope break early off an indecisive lock up. “Del Rio” chant early. Ricardo distracts and Del Rio gets the double leg slam and tries to bridge into a corner. He then just kicks the shit out of Kofi. He tries a tilt a whirl backbreaker but Kofi counters and comes back with a dropkick. ADR takes a breather and RR towels him down to help him cool down. Kofi comes out to kick ADR around. ADR tries to backdrop Kofi to the floor but Kofi lands on the apron as Booker goes on a tangent about what he would do in Kofi's shoes: “He aint doing it like it's supposed to be done. He needs to be making this dude bow down! He needs to be making him pay, MY SON, and 'DADDY I DON'T WANT NONE, I DONE HAD ENOUGH!'” Kofi comes back with a right but ADR just shoves him ribs first into the ringpost. ADR then shoves him into the stairs ribs first as well. Back in, ADR works the ribs over and goes to the OrtonLock (RNC with body triangle). A huge undercurrent of Del Rio chants are going. Kofi tries to fight back but ADR pulls him down back to the hair and then goes to the Taz crossfaces. ADR with the high angle back suplex for a close 2. ADR goes back to the OrtonLock. Kofi elbows out but ADR just kicks the shit out of him in the ribs. He tries to send him into the turnbuckle but Kofi hits the pop-up flying burrito. Nice. Booker T: “Shades of a guy I know by the name of BOOKER T!” Double KO spot. Both get to their knees at 6 and slug it out. Kofi gives him a couple of double chops and then the DISCUS DOUBLE CHOP OF DOOM. Kofi with a dropkick and another flying burrito. Kofi hits the Boom Drop and calls for the Trouble in Paradise. ADR ducks. Kofi goes for a Stinger Splash but eats turnbuckle. ADR comes running in but Kofi hits the inside out kick to counter. He goes for the crossbody off the top but ADR gets up the knees to counter. YES! Psychology in the perfect counter. Cover gets 2. ADR puts him up top. He tries the superplex but Kofi headbutts him off. Kofi hits the missile dropkick for a close 2. ADR hits the fireman's carry ribbreaker. ADR goes for a flapjack spear but Kofi counters to a DDT. Cover but RR is distracting the ref. The ref comes back but cover only gets 2. Kofi goes for RR but ADR cuts him off with a stiff kick. Kofi ducks and comes back with the ranhei (SOS) for a narrow 2 count. Kofi goes for his leaping mount in the counter but ADR dodges and gives him a neckbreaker out of the tree of woe. This match is awesome. Booker T says it's over. Del Rio flips into the flying armbar. He finally breaks Kofi's grip and Kofi taps at 10:30. This got some criticism because the IC champ lost clean. The WWE does a lot of things to show they don't care about secondary titles but this isn't one of them. Kofi lost clean to the RR winner and presumptive world champion. If ADR does anything other than win clean, it devalues his RR victory and his WM title shot. Plus, this match is excellent. Each guy's signature move was placed as a transition move as the right time as opposed to just random comebacks without structure. The psychology was spot-on. ***1/2
• Meanwhile, Booker puts over Orton's chances in the EC match later.
• Todd Grisham interviews World Heavyweight Champion Edge in the back. Edge runs down the last few weeks' storylines and Edge says he's won an EC before and knows what it takes so he can do it again. Edge is interrupted by Drew McIntyre who scares off Grisham. McIntyre asks Edge if he cares about innocent bystanders like Kelly Kelly who he got fired. Drew says he's going to match Edge pay. Edge says the only thing the WHC and Kelly Kelly have in common is that Drew will never be seen with either.
• Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship: Kane vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Wade Barrett vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Mystery Opponent vs. Edge (c). Pre-match, we get another obscenely awesome video package. Seriously. It's even better than the one to open the PPV. Booker T says this match scared the hell outta him when he did it the first time. McIntyre punches a couple of the pods for some reason and then taunts Kane. Kane thinks it's funny and McIntyre tells him to laugh it up, fuzzball. Cole says Barrett is “one of his favorites” to win the match. 1 in 6? How many favorites do you get? Teddy comes out to say he fired Ziggler and Showster will replace him. Show goes over to Wade to gloat and Wade does a great mime joke.
• Edge and Mysterio to start. Edge with rights in the corner but Rey comes back with the Tajiri kicks. Mysterio with up and over but Edge gets the flapjack for a 2 count. Edge boots away in the corner. They trade whip reversals. Rey tries up and over again but Edge catches him. Rey gets the headscissors to counter again. Rey gets a head of steam but gets backdropped to the grate on the outside. Edge goes up top but Rey recovers to crotch him and Drew indiscriminately punches the pod glass. Rey hits a frankensteiner off the top for 2. They fight to the outside and Edge sends Rey into the cage a few times. Edge then sends him face first into the Kane's pod. Edge sends him across but Rey drop toe holds him into the second rope as Wade Barrett is next at about 4 minutes. He boots down Rey. Edge cuts him off with right hands. Rey comes charging in and Edge launches him over the top into Barrett for the seated senton. Edge then tosses Mysterio baseball slide style into the grate and cage. Wade hits the Bossman slam on Edge for 2. Wade with a pump handle slam for 2 on Mysterio. Wade sends Rey into the turnbuckle and he does the Bret Hart bump. Cole talks over the entire announce team to put over the new Smackdown wrestlers as “the new breed.” That didn't work with WWECW and won't work now. Wade charges toward Edge but he lowers the bridge and shitcans Barrett. Mysterio with a dropkick on Edge and heads up top but Wade cuts him off. Wade gets Rey in the fireman's carry for Wasteland. He rams Mysterio's legs into Edge but then Rey grabs hold of the cage to escape. Wade tries to powerbomb him but Rey headscissors him back in. He goes for the 619 but runs into a big boot from Edge. Second time already they've used that counter Cole: “Talk about a dropped call! This is no cal not SoCal tonight!”
• Kane is next and punches down everyone. Kane with a basement dropkick on Wade for 2. Kane whips Edge onto Wade and then hits a Ho Train on both. He hits another on Rey and hits a sideslam on Wade. He goes for the cover but Rey breaks it up with a standing enzuigiri. Wade and Edge give him a couple of Batista kicks for more 2 counts. Edge, Rey, and Wade take each other down with clotheslines and do the KO spot. Kane clotheslines Edge to the outside. Kane and Wade brawl for a bit and Kane sends him into the cage. Rey gives Kane a headbutt and goes up top but gets uppercutted off the top into a Tree of Woe. Edge gives him the basement dropkick TOTHESKULLOFREYMYSTERIO for 2. Kane clotheslines Wade over the top to the grate as Drew is next. He goes straight for Mysterio and gives him the Kevin Nash Lawn Dart toss into the pod. Wade and Drew team up on Kane and both send him into the cage. They agree to team up until Drew low blows him and then whips him hard into the pod plexiglass to tear it down. I like this fiery intense Drew. Drew mounts Edge and hits the GnP. Drew taunts to Edge that he'll end his career tonight in here. Drew with the snap suplex for 2. Drew goes for the double arm DDT but Edge counters to the Edge-o-cutioner. Edge goes for the Spear but Kane goozles him. Edge escapes and Rey drop toe holds him to set up the 619. Kane ducks it and brings the pain with a clothesline on Rey. Kane tosses Rey into the ringpost. Drew goes for the double arm DDT again on Kane but gets backdropped onto Wade. Kane and Edge take each other out with big boots. No pinfalls but outstanding back and forth action. Showster is out next. He's got clotheslines and shitcans for all. Wade tries to keep his distance but Show goozles him and powers him through the pod door. Wade tries to climb and Show overhand chops him like 20 times and sends him into the cage. Show gives Wade the KO and he's gone at 18:50.
• Kane hits the flying clothesline on Show, Edge hits a Macho elbow but Show kicks out at 2. Drew jumps on him and gives him the double arm DDT but Show stills kicks out at 2. Rey is on top of one of the pods. He comes flying off with the seated senton but Show still kicks out at 2. I would have beat he was done there. Kane gives him a Batista kick. Rey hits the 619 and Edge hits the Spear all on Show. Kane clears house to ChokeSlam Show and he's gone at 20:53. Drew jumps off top for whatever but Kane catches him in the goozle and ChokeSlams him and Drew is gone at 21:08. Weak elimination for Drew. Mysterio and Edge do the same thing but escape the goozle only to be taken down with a double clothesline. Kane picks up Rey for a Bulldog powerslam but gets countered to a DDT for 2. Rey drops the dime for 2. Rey goes for a springboard whatever. Kane catches him but Rey headscissors out to set up the 619. Rey hits it and goes for the seated senton but Kane catches him. Edge Spears both down and pins Kane and he's gone at 22:49.
• Kane's pissed and ChokeSlams both to get his heat back before leaving to mild boos, more due to his poor sportsmanship than anger that he was eliminated. They both sell the impact for a while. Edge recovers and goes for the Spear but gets rolled up for a close 2 count. Mysterio ducks a clothesline and hits a sprinboard crossbody for a 2 count. Mysterio hits the wheelbarrow bulldog for 2. Mysterio goes up top but Edge meets him. Mysterio headbuts him off and goes for the rana but Edge catches him and powerbombs to counter. Cover gets 2. Edge tries another but Rey headscissors him into the ropes. He goes for the 619 but Edge catches him and hooks in the inverted sharpshooter. Mysterio counters with a roll up for 2. Edge preps the Spear again. Rey ducks and Edge eats turnbuckle. Rey gets a head of steam but Edge rebounds back into the Spear. Cover gets 2 and everyone thought that was the finish. Mysterio tries the 619 again and finally hits it. He also hits the springboard splash but Edge kicks out at 2. Mysterio hits one more 619 and goes up top but dives off into a Spear from Edge and that's enough to retain at 31:29. As usual great chemistry and heat for the finish sequence between these two. I would have liked Drew to eliminate Kane rather than vice versa but that's a small quibble. The booking coming in (Drew's beef with Edge, Show and Wade's beef with each other, etc.) helped each segment and participant have a purpose. Also, these two went the distance like Taker-UT but this one > that one due to better talent. ****1/4
• Post-match, ADR comes out to jump Edge. He applies the armbar and the refs are trying to pull him off. But CHRISTIAN HAS COME OUT! He tackles ADR and hits the GnP to a big pop. Christian gets the returning face beatdown and the Unprettier until the refs finally break it up.
• We get a Wrestlemania XXVII promo that includes The Rock as guest host.
• Meanwhile, Jerry Lawler is preparing in the back. Striker comes up and walks on eggshells and asks Lawler's how he's been. Lawler says he's been looking forward to this his entire career and it should have been a happy week, but his mom passed away. He's says he's had an OK career and won a match or two but two things he's never done: win the WWE strap and compete at WM. Tonight, he has a chance to do both. Good sympathetic babyface promo.
• Booker T gets the stick and introduces the third host of Tough Enough along with himself and Stone Cold: Trish Stratus. Trish does a Rock parody/impression/whatever and says she's here to support Jerry Lawler in victory. This is great and everything but did we really need to waste 10 minutes of PPV time for this?
• WWE Tag Team Championship: The Corre vs. Santino Morella and Kozlov (c). Gabriel takes off his Corre t-shirt, and in an epic callback to the classic Black Tiger II & Great Sasuke vs Wild Pegasus & Shinjiro Ohtani encounter from the NJPW Super Junior Tag League 1994 Finals, throws his shirt directly at Koslov just as Eddie Guerrero disrobed and let Benoit felt the wrath of his cape back then. YES! Well, maybe I'm reading too much into that. Zeke is accompanying Corre to the ring. Kozlov gets the advantage early and tags in Santino. Santino works the side headlock before Slater counters to the headscissors. Santino kips out but Slater boots the knee to get back on the offense. Booker complains about Zeke's presence. Cole nicely calls him out on his hypocrisy for Sharmell's interference over the years; the problem is that Cole is such an overbearing jackass and overshadows the match by just being so LOUD. Gabriel takes down Santino with a sweep. He tries another kick but Santino gets an inside trip for 2. Kozlov tosses Gabriel around until he cuts off Kozlov with a knee and a boot. Gabriel gets a head of steam until he's taken down by Kozlov's battering ram and the Snitsky taunt. Gabriel gives Kozlov an enzuigiri coming back in. Gabriel in with the slingshot corkscrew Aries splash for 2. Seriously? That's awesome. The heels work a couple quick tags. Slater goes to the front facelock until Kozlov Northern Lights suplexes him over. Santino in with some rights, a hiptoss, and a falling deadbutt. Santino hits the Cobra on Gabriel but Slater is the legal man. He goes after Santino's leg and sends Santino hard into the turnbuckle. Gabriel tries the slingshot somersault senton but whiffs. Maybe these guys have been watching old junior NJPW tapes. Kozlov in and shoves Gabriel around. He hits a big boot and a Bulldog powerslam but Slater gets the tag and Kozlov doesn't see it. Slater clips the knee from behind and hits the reverse DDT. He dropkicks Santino off the apron. Gabriel tags in and hits the 450 splash on Kozlov and that's enough for new champs at 5:08. Clean win for the heels surprisingly but I guess after what seemed like weeks of failed title shots on Smackdown they had to pull the trigger on a title switch. Of course, this decent, contested match would be negated by using the tag belts as a prop in the Miz/Cena(/Rock?) feud the next night. **1/4
• Next, Grisham is in the back with The Miz. Miz asks Grisham what year is it? He says it isn't 1983 when it was good to be The King and it's not 1999 when everyone was smelling what The Rock was cooking. It's 2011, the year of THE MIZ. As for the EC, five will lose but one will lose later to him at Wrestlemania. He teases not saying his catchphrase but then quips that he's deserved the right to say it.
• Vickie comes out. She complains about Dolph getting fired and apologizes. BOO! Teddy comes out and says he's got someone to deal with Vickie. Cue Kelly Kelly who chases Vickie. Uh, they face off and Kelly kicks her a couple times. LayCool comes out which brings Trish out. More brawling as this drags on for a while. Trish hits one of her finishers and then botches one of the others. HIT HER MUSIC! Moving on. Was this necessary either?
• WWE Championship: Jerry Lawler vs. The Miz (c). This package is great and includes a brilliant series of wipes from Miz as US champ to MITB holder to WWE champ and all from his apron pose. He says that none of the Gagnes, Races, Harts, etc. hold a candle to him. The focus on Lawler is also effective as it plays up his legendary career (over 140 titles) but the lack of WWE title shots or WM matches. I know this whole feud got some flack for having a semi-retired, inactive wrestler compete for the WWE championship and ordinarily I'd agree, but the interactions between Miz-Cole-Lawer on RAW were getting the biggest reactions by far (sans The Rock's return). Besides, the reason this feud was getting heat and pops was because it had a nice slow, logical build and unlike most of the randomly thrown together matches. You can make the fans care about anything if it has a good build, and at the same time, fans will shit all over anything if they aren't given a reason to care.
• Before the bell even begins, Matthews has already inflated Lawler's title number to “almost 200.” What's 50 championships between friends? Lawler gets a quick rollup for 2 and Miz is livid early. Miz with a waistlock and the CLUBBINGBLOWS. Lawler comes back with a back slide for 2 and a small package for 2. Miz tries to slow things down with a side headlock. Lawler sends him off but eats a shoulderblock. Jerry comes back with a clothesline for 2. Jerry now gets the shoulderblock and a crossbody for 2. Lawler hits a few closed fists and mounts in the corner with more closed fists. Lawler clotheslines Miz to the floor and Cole has decided to upstage the match with his usual schtick. Riley distracts Lawler on the floor and Miz shoves Jerry head first into the ring post. Miz hits the MDM knee lift and back in that gets 2. Miz chokes on the second rope and Riley gives him a shot behind the ref's back to HUGE boos. Miz talks on camera as Lawler comes back with rights. Miz hits the leaping corner clothesline and poses for a minute. He and Lawler jockey for position on the top rope. Lawler hits a superplex and turns into it for some reason. Cover gets 2. “JERRY” chant going as Miz and Lawler slug it out. Miz actually no sells a couple Lawler right hands, and if this were Memphis, Lawler would have him killed. Lawler comes back with the FISTICUFFS and a dropkick and a backdrop. Lawler with a fist drop for 2. Miz slides out of a bodyslam but Lawler comes back with a boot. Riley trips him up from behind but the ref sees it and ejects Riley to a pop. Miz goes for a charge in the corner but eats turnbuckle. Lawler school boys him for 2. Lawler goes for the piledriver but Miz escapes and big boots Jerry down. Lawler reverses to the crucifix roll up for a close 2. Cole decides to stand up and let Jerry hear it as Miz and Jerry brawl on the floor. Booker T: “What is your deal, dawg?” Miz tries to send him into the announce table but Lawler cuts him off and rams Miz into the table instead a few times. Cole is still talking smack so Lawler shitcans Miz into him to a pop as the crowd really gets into it. Booker T: “Cole could be out. HA HA HA!” Good stuff. “Jerry” chant. Lawler hits the fistdrop off the top but Miz kicks out at 2. Miz fights back with an eye gouge. He preps the Skull Crushing Finale but Lawler shoves him off. Miz hits a neckbreaker but Lawler no sells and shoves Miz into the turnbuckle. Lawler with a DDT. Booker T: “All hail King Lawler as he's going to Wrestlemania as the WWE Champ!” Lawler drops the strap and hits another fistdrop off the second rope but Miz gets his foot on the ropes. Miz tries the piledriver but Miz backdrops out. Lawler tries a roll up but Miz kicks out at 2 and pulverizes Lawler with a Batista kick. Miz hits the SCF and that's enough to retain at 12:09. Good back and forth match that allowed Lawler to look competitive while still having the Miz win clean. I think it makes Miz look a TAD weak (no way this match would go the same way if Orton, Taker, Cena, Trips, etc. were champ) but crowd was into it the whole way and had an old school vibe due to the simplicity. **1/2. Post-match, Cole celebrates with Miz and the crowd does the slow-clap, spontaneous ovation for Lawler.
• Meanwhile, we get a 2/21/11 promo and then Cena eating some Fruity Pebbles backstage.
• Striker is with CM Punk. Punk says 3-0 against Cena and then says he can't see Cena doing a lot of stuff but he can see himself walking out as champion.
• Elimination Chamber for the Number One Contender for the WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. R-Truth vs. CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Sheamus vs. John Morrison. Cole and Matthews play up the possibility of Orton going full circle to win the match and go on to get revenge against Miz. During Punk's entrance, he shouts to the crowd, “I AINT AFRAID OAKLAND” and Booker T challenges Cole to a match right then but Cole changes the subject. Punk plays mind games with Morrison during his entrance. Sheamus and Morrison start. Sheamus with the early shoulderblock and taunting. Sheamus goes to the headlock TD and works the hold a few times but Morrison keeps countering with a headscissors. Sheamus just smacks Morrison as he's had enough with the mat wrestling. Morrison comes back with a double leg and some GnP. Sheamus rolls to the grate to take a breather and Morrison comes out with a flying burrito. They trade right hands and counters. Morrison tries a springboard crossbody but Sheamus ducks. Morrison does the Spiderman catch and comes back with a springboard gamengiri for a 2 count. “CM Punk”/”Let's go Cena” chants get going as Sheamus takes down Morrison with more right hands. Morrison tries Starship Pain but Sheamus shoves him headfirst into the pod to counter. Sheamus then sends Morrison facefirst into the cage and then the pod. Randy Orton is next and he has the shitty Hogan clotheslines for both. He hits a powerslam on Morrison and clotheslines Sheamus to the grate. Morrison gets a head of steam but gets backdropped to the grate on Sheamus. Orton taunts Punk and then tosses Morrison into the pod. He rams Sheamus around and then gives him the delayed DDT on the grate. CM Punk looks on enjoying the carnage. Orton goes for the Garvin/Malenko stomp on Sheamus and Morrison. Orton hits a beautiful top rope suplex on Morrison but only for a 2 count. Orton hits another on Sheamus for another 2 count. Orton lies in wait for CM Punk to come next and Orton guessed right. Punk tries to shove open the door but it's stuck? Punk is halfway in and halfway out. Orton jumps him anyway and then hits a quick RKO and Punk is gone at 9:00 (and 1:00 of ring time for Punk).
• What a pile of shit that is. The GM's AOL sound fx kick in and he demands that Punk get another chance. There is justice in the world! Punk gets put back in his pod and Orton goes back to work on Sheamus. Sheamus cuts him off and hits the Irish Cursh backbreaker. Sheamus shitcans Morrison to the grate. Sheamus goes for the Razor's Edge but Orton slides out. He goes for the RKO but Sheamus avoids. Sheamus preps the bicycle kick but Orton ducks. Morrison hits the sprinboard gamengiri on Orton and Sheamus takes down Morrison with a clothesline. Good sequence of attempted finishers. John Cena is next and Sheamus jumps him immediately with a big boot and some brutal knees. Cena cuts him off with a back elbow though. Cena tries to FU Morrison onto the grate but he lands on his feet. Sheamus hits a neckbreaker on Cena. Morrison comes flying back in with a slingshot crossbody but then gets backdropped to the grate by Cena. Morrison and Cena slug it out until Sheamus takes both down with a flying shoulderblock. Sheamus taunts but Orton pulls him back inside. Orton takes down Sheamus with the Thesz press and drops a knee for 2. Sheamus comes back with a running knee. R-Truth is next and Sheamus tries the same strategy he tried on Cena but R-Truth ducks and puts the boots to him instead. R-Truth tosses his head into the cage a few times but Sheamus no sells. R-Truth comes back with a hiptoss onto the grate. R-Truth hits the sitout gordbuster on Orton and a vertical Stunner (?) on Morrison. R-Truth with the barrell roll flying burrito on Orton. Booker T: “Shades of Booker T!” Sheamus takes him down with the bicycle kick and Truth is gone at 17:33.
• Booker T: “Even Booker T got caught a time or two.” Morrison gets the GnP on Sheamus and covers for 2. Orton tosses Morrison around and through the pod door again. Orton and Cena slug it out, and just like at the RR, it fails to deliver the big pop. Orton gets the Bluechipper dropkick for 2. Orton with the Malenko stomp on Cena and again he waits for Punk. Cena tries to give Orton the FU but Orton slides out and gives him the RKO on the grate. Orton struggles to recover and Sheamus gives him the bicycle kick that sends him flying into the cage. Punk in with the high kick on Sheamus. He tries to sneak a quick pin on Orton but only gets 2. Punk tosses him in and then steals Orton's taunt and hits the G2S and Orton is gone at 21:34. Punk continues to mock and taunt Orton as he soaks in the “CM Punk” chant. Punk with a running knee on Cena and then a step up knee lift on Sheamus. Punk tries the bulldog but Sheamus sends him facefirst into the pod and then nails him with the Polish (Irish?) Hammer. Morrison comes back with a leg lariat on Sheamus. Morrison gives Sheamus a kidney shot. He heads up top but Sheamus trips him up on the pod roof. Sheamus boots Morrison on top of the pod. Sheamus preps the super Razor's Edge but Morrison counters and boots Sheamus off the top rope. Morrison climbs along the top and comes off with an ax handle and Sheamus is gone at 25:17.
• Weak payoff for that. Nothing we haven't seen before in TNA's Steel Asylum but particularly reminds me of the Orton's splash off the HIAC against UT in 2005. Cool build up that raises your expectation and then the fall is a let down. Cena hits the shoulderblocks and the Protobomb on Punk. Cena with the 5KS on Punk. Cena preps the FU but Morrison comes flying off the top rope with the double ax handle to break it up. Morrison goes for the running knee on Cena but Cena moves and Morrison eats pod door knee and face first. Punk puts the inverted triangle choke on Cena. Cena decides to no sell and just stands up out of it. Morrison Hulks up and comes flying off the top with a clothesline and Cena hits the electric chair for the Tower of Doom. Morrison covers but Punk kicks out at 2 and so does Cena. Morrison selling the knee through all of this. Cena gives him the FU and Punk gives Cena the standing enzuigiri. Punk with the slingshot flying burrito on Cena but he kicks out at 2. Punk catapults Cena into the pod. Punk tries the same with Morrison but he catches himself on the pod door. He leaps over onto the cage and hits another springboard gamengiri and still sells the leg(!). Morrison goes for Starship Pain but Punk rolls out of the way and eliminates him with a G2S at 32:51. Cena goes for the FU but Punk grabs the top rope. Cena FUs him anyway over the top onto the grate and Cena wins it to become number 1 contender at 33:12. Mildly anticlimatic ending. There's just no drama with Cena anymore for me and Morrison's fight to overcome the knee injury and Punk's “second chance” were the stories of the match. Cena winning made the most storyline sense but was the least interesting choice in the moment. ***3/4
The 411: Very good top to bottom card. Del Rio shows why he's part of the WWE's future. Edge and Mysterio showcase the great chemistry they have together while allowing Drew McIntyre to show a lot of intensity and make some noise in one of the ECs. Miz and Lawler have a solid, old school match, although not up to the level of the TLC. I don't like the fluff with Trish, Kelly Kelly, etc. but it's a minor drawback and easy to FF through if that's your thing.