- Count me among those that were excited to see what ADR could do as a face, but quickly realized that he works so much better as a heel. Show mauls ADR to start and hits some chops in the corner. The champ tries to fight back, but eats a knee for his trouble and then gets slammed. Show chokes away in the corner with the middle rope and then delivers another thunderous chop. Del Rio continues to fight back, but one move from Show cuts him off. Finally, Del Rio gets smart and goes to work on the legs. He gets Show to the mat and shows some good baby face fire before hitting a version of Sweet Chin Music for two. A spear gets Show his own two count and he follows with a clothesline. Show talks shit to Ricardo at ringside and then hits Del Rio with a kick to the face. The crowd actually rallies behind Del Rio to show that there was something initially there with his turn before it fizzled. A Vader Bomb nets Show another two count, but Del Rio catches him with the cross armbreaker. Show is able to get to the ropes to force a break. Del Rio tries to come off the top, but Show catches him with ease and hooks in a bearhug. Ricardo gets on the apron and that causes Show to release the hold. Del Rio fights back, but Show regains control with ease and preps for a powerbomb, but Del Rio counters that with a rana. Show tries to regroup on the floor, but Del Rio comes out with a suicide dive that leaves both men down and out in the aisle. The 10 count is on as Del Rio makes it to the ring first and Show gets in as the ref reaches 9. A seated Senton gets two for Del Rio as he continues to break out more high flying stuff with his babyface act. A running kick is blocked and Show hits the chokeslam for two. Good near fall on that one! Show gets to his feet first and calls for the punch, but Del Rio smartly hits the floor to avoid. That seemingly only pisses off Show as he picks Del Rio up by his head and brings him back into the ring. Del Rio fights out of a hold and somehow gets a DDT for another two count. The corner enziguiri leaves Show down again, but it only nets a two count. Del Rio goes back to the cross armbreaker, but Show is able to get to his feet and lifts Del Rio off the mat to deliver a slam to break the hold. Again Show calls for the punch and Ricardo again runs interference. Show grabs the bucket Ricardo brings to the ring and that ends up backfiring as Del Rio hits the enziguiri causing the bucket to hit him in the head. A second enziguiri connects and back to the cross armbreaker and Show has no choice but to tap out at 13:09.
Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Alberto Del Rio via submission at 13:09
-Solid match here with Del Rio fighting from below and doing whatever he could to survive the giant. The crowd was with him which kind of shocked me considering the way his face run puttered out, but interesting to see what could have been. **1/2
-Cesaro has been the US Champ since SummerSlam, and the belt looks great on him. The Miz being a face is worse than Del Rio being one. Miz is sporting a bandaged shoulder thanks to an attack leading up to this match from Cesaro. The Miz gets a two count out of a sunset flip, but Cesaro rightly goes after the bad wing. Cesaro shows off his crazy ass strength as he casually catches the Miz and drops him with a shoulderbreaker. Cesaro continues the work on the arm as I wonder if I can get enough people to bring “Cesaro Section” signs at the Rumble in Pittsburgh in 2 weeks (as of me watching this match). A very weak “Let’s Go Miz” chant starts, but that is caused more by fact that the fans seem to dislike Cesaro. These fans have no taste! The dissection of the shoulder continues as Antonio locks in a short arm scissor. The Miz gets a two count from there, but a clothesline drops him back to the mat. The shoulder work continues and Cesaro gets a few two counts and with each kick out he goes right back to the shoulder. Both JBL and Lawler seem impressed with the constant shoulder work. The Miz gets a boot to the face to create separation and then stomps Cesaro down in the corner. He hits the running corner clothesline and heads up top, but Cesaro catches him coming down and locks in an armbar. The Miz fights it off and rolls through for a two count. Cesaro gets sent to the floor and Miz decides to give chase as he can’t win the title via count-out. Cesaro catches Miz and tries to ram him shoulder first into the post, but the Miz slides off and sends Cesaro into the steps causing damage to his knee. They head back in the ring and Miz targets the knee and then hits a snap DDT for a two count. Now each man is favoring a body part and one would think the man with the damaged leg would be in the worst shape. The Miz preps for the Figure Four , but Cesaro fights it off and then kicks the Miz in the leg which causes the Miz to land knee first on Cesaro’s balls. That is enough for a DQ at 8:21 as Cesaro makes sure to point out that he was hit in the little Antonios. The Miz, ever the poor sport, kicks Cesaro in the balls after the match. Much like in hockey where you have to have control of your stick, Miz should have had better control of his knee I guess.
Winner and Still United States Champion: Antonio Cesaro via DQ at 8:21
-They were actually telling a solid story with each man targeting an injured body part. The ending was kind of screwy as I guess Miz had to be protected. **
-Team Hell No make up for the Rumble Match mishap and agree to watch each other’s back in the Elimination Chamber.
Elimination Chamber: World Title Shot at WrestleMania: Daniel Bryan vs. Kane vs. Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton vs. Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Coulter) vs. Mark Henry
-As noted above the winner of this match gets Del Rio at Mania for the World Heavyweight Title. Jericho and Bryan get the honors of starting this thing and Cole informs us that around every 4 minutes a door opens releasing another man. Around every 4 minutes? It just can’t be every 4 minutes. These two starting is a nice call back to Bryan facing World Champ Jericho on NXT in his first WWE TV match. Great wrestling sequence to start which is a nice change of pace before the chaos occurs when the others start to filter into the ring. Bryan looks for the No Lock (at that time), but Jericho escapes and Bryan counters that escape. Over to the corner and Bryan unloads with kicks to the chest as he is rather pissed by the Yes chants. Bryan tries to suplex Jericho to the steel grating, but Jericho lands on his feet. Jericho escapes another No Lock attempt and hits a catapult that sends Bryan into the chain wall. The first period ends and Jack Swagger is the third man in the ring. He suplexes Jericho out of his boots and then hits a Swagger Splash in the corner. A Swagger Bomb nets a two count and then he turns his attention to Daniel Bryan. He meets him on the grated flood and batters Daniel into the chained wall repeatedly. He comes back in the ring and gets met with a dropkick from Jericho as the crowd starts a Y2J chant. A charge in the corner misses and Jericho spills to the grated surface. Swagger follows him out and again makes good use of the wall of the structure. Bryan comes out of nowhere with a flying knee off the top rope to end the Swagger carnage. Bryan misses a flying head butt to Jericho back inside the ring as the clock starts to tick down again. This time the game show lighting and music lets us know that Kane is the next to enter. Kane is Bryan’s tag partner and that’s bad news for Jericho and Swagger. The tag champs work together as Kane whips Bryan into both Jericho and Swagger. Bryan gets stupid though and tries to roll up Kane and that ends that alliance. Bryan calls for the two of them to hug it out and they get into a yes/no shouting match which is kind of funny. They end up fighting thankfully as Bryan hits the running dropkick in the corner. The head kick is missed and Kane connects with a sidewalk slam. Now he heads up top, but gets crotched by Bryan as Jericho and Swagger kind of just let the tag champs hash things out here. Finally they get back in the ring and Jericho sets Bryan up for a Doomsday Device from Kane. Sweet! Swagger tries to steal a pin on Bryan, but he is out at two as the crowd seems kind of burnt out for some reason. Kane hits Swagger with a suplex that gets two and it’s time again for the game show music. Randy Orton is the 5th man in the match and the crowd comes to life. He sends Swagger over the top with a clothesline and hits Jericho with a back elbow. Kane has a go, but he gets sent outside the ropes with a dropkick. That only leaves Bryan and he gets drilled with a slingshot suplex. Orton decides to head out after Kane and nearly gets chokeslammed on the steel floor, but Orton escapes and hits a sick draping DDT on the grating. Nasty! Cole is all about the stats as he lets us know that 5 men have entered the chamber at #5 and won the thing. We get dueling superplexes as Orton hits Swagger with one and Jericho drops Bryan with one a second later. Everyone is out on the mat and you can see Henry frothing at the mouth wanting in the match. Finally the clock pops up and Henry is let out of his pod and people line up to get their wigs split. Headbutts for everyone and then Bryan gets eliminated with The World’s Strongest Slam at 16:35. Henry continues to wreck lives as he tosses Orton through the glass and into one of the pods. That leaves Kane facing off with Henry and he is no match as he gets pinned and eliminated with the World’s Strongest Slam at 18:22. Jericho is seemingly the next victim, but he gets smart and teams up with Orton to take care of Henry. They suplex the big man on the steel in a rather impressive spot. Swagger comes back from the dead, but walks into a flying crossbody from Jericho that gets two. The Walls seem to be next, but Swagger uses his leg strength to escape. The running bulldog keeps Jericho in control as JBL mentions that Jericho has eliminated more men in the history of this match. That kind of surprises me actually. Henry catches Jericho trying for the Lionsault and tosses him by the throat into the wall of the chamber. Damn! He then bench presses Jericho back into the ring on top of Swagger. At this point I would have gone with Henry winning this thing as Del Rio’s babyface act would have worked well with a monster. Sadly, Henry eats a bunch of finishers culminating with the RKO to eliminate him at 23:20. Boo! Henry decides he doesn’t want to leave yet and goes back into the Chamber and destroys everyone with a World’s Strongest Slam as the crowd cheers every second of it. Again, book Henry like a monster ass kicker and he will be over with everyone. Booker T and Teddy Long come down with a piss load of refs and finally get Henry out of the match. Swagger is in the best shape since he was dropped first so he crawls over and gets a two count on Orton. Jericho is to his feet and he teams up with Orton to toss Swagger shoulder first into the post which also causes him to go head first into the chamber pod. Instead of teaming up to finish Swagger they turn their attentions to each other and Jericho gets caught coming off the top rope with a dropkick. Orton hits a powerslam on each man and preps Swagger for the middle rope DDT, but Jericho kills that noise with a springboard dropkick. A code breaker is blocked and Swagger ends up catching Jericho with a belly to belly suplex for two. Orton gets caught with the Patriot Act (Ankle Lock), but Jericho breaks that up with an enziguiri. JBL questions why he would break that up and I tend to agree. He catches Swagger with the Walls, but now Orton breaks that up and gets his funky back breaker on Jericho for two. Swagger gets back dropped over the ropes and Orton drills both men with the draping DDT at the same time. Nice! The crowd goes nuts as he calls for the RKO, but Jericho escapes and tries for the Lionsault, but Orton blocks with knees and hits the RKO to end Jericho’s night at 31:13. Swagger immediately catches Orton with a roll-up and gets the shocking win at 31:18.
Winner: Jack Swagger via pin on Randy Orton at 31:18
-The Elimination Chamber match is getting like the Rumble: Hard to screw up. This was no different as it was a very solid match with a shocking outcome. Heading into this show I was certain Orton was winning here and turning heel before Mania for the match with Del Rio. Now nearly a year later after watching the match, I think would have been better for Henry to lay waste to everyone before meeting Del Rio at Mania. That didn’t happen and Swagger seemed like a good guy to take a flyer on until his had his legal issues. As for the match good effort from everyone involved. ***1/2
The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns) vs. John Cena, Ryback, and Sheamus
-The Shield made their in ring debut in December at TLC and this is their 2nd match in the WWE. Big ass brawl to start outside the ring as the bell has yet to ring. They head inside the ring and Team Cena each hit a suplex on a member of the Shield in a cute spot. The bell finally rings and Ambrose starts out with Sheamus. Things don’t go well for him as he gets the shit clubbed out of his chest and Sheamus even makes sure to pull off the vest to make sure it really hurts. Reigns stares down Sheamus to distract him and that gives Ambrose the chance to get a boot to the head in before making the tag to the big man. Reigns mows Sheamus down on the floor with a clothesline and then kicks some more ass in the ring. In a sweet spot Reigns tags Ambrose and once in he immediately tags Rollins to make him the legal man and yet Ambrose hits a running dropkick as he knows he has a 5 count to get out and immediately Rollins follows with one of his own. Awesome tag wrestling there! The tag is made back to Ambrose, but Sheamus catches him out of the corner with a Brogue Kick. Each man makes a tag and Cena goes off on Reigns with the 5 Moves of Doom, but Rollins runs interference and gets sent to the floor for his trouble. The STF is attempted, but Ambrose makes the save and then Rollins comes spring boarding in with a knee to the head. I am in awe of the Shield and the way they operate. The Shield take turns destroying Cena and make sure to talk some trash as they do it. Rollins gets a little too cute though and Cena starts to fight back, but runs into a boot to the face for two. Rollins hits a Stinger Splash in the corner as a rather loud dueling Cena chant starts (you know the one). The tag is made to Ambrose and he slaps Cena around a bit before Rollins comes with a leaping forearm and as Cena staggers, Reigns kills him with a clothesline. Nice! Sheamus makes the save and now the crowd starts a “Feed Me More” chant as they are desperate for anyone to stop the Shield. A Samoan Drop gets two for Reigns and then he goes to a reverse chinlock as Cena continues to be your 2013 Royal Rumble Winner in peril. The hold goes on for a little longer than one would think being this is a 6 man, but Ambrose and Rollins make things entertaining as they taunt Cena from the apron. Cena finally breaks the hold and it’s a race to the corner. Cena loses that race as he runs into a punch to the jaw. Reigns makes the tag to Ambrose and he gets a two count off a neckbreaker. Cena again shows a flash of life, but Ambrose drops him with a DDT and they crowd is dying to see Ryback get in this match. A backdrop sends Ambrose to the floor and now the crowd erupts as they know this is Cena’s best chance to make a tag. The hot tag is made to Ryback and he destroys Ambrose and Rollins in impressive fashion. He calls for the Meat Hook Clothesline, but Reigns blindsides him and all hell breaks loose with all six men. On the floor Reigns takes out Sheamus with a spear through the ringside barrier into the timekeeper’s pit. Rollins gets caught coming off the top by Ryback, but Ambrose makes the save and The Shield set up the Triple Powerbomb. Cena makes the save there and hits the AA on Ambrose, but at the same time Reigns drills Ryback with a spear as he was attempting to Shell Shock Rollins. The force leaves Rollins on top of Ryback and the ref makes the three count as Ambrose keeps Cena from breaking up the pin at 14:48.
Winner: The Shield via Rollins pin on Ryback at 14:48
-The story was great as the Shield was a well oiled machine that always kept things in their favor and even in the chaos at the end, they always had the numbers advantage. The Shield has been such a refreshing thing to see as they have truly embraced the idea of 3 guys working as one and used that to great effect. ***1/2
-Dolph comes out to complain about not being on the show and makes sure to get in a few digs about Swagger for some reason. He probably gave a solid reason, but I was paying more attention to AJ and her short shorts and tank top combo. Booker T interrupts and he books Dolph in a match with Kofi Kingston.
Dolph Ziggler (with AJ Lee and Big E Langston) vs. Kofi Kingston
-Judging from past history this should be solid depending on the time they are given. Lockup to start and they fight over a headlock which leads to Kofi getting a dropkick and then a monkey flips that sends Dolph across the ring. Kofi charges and hits nothing but steel post with his shoulder. Ziggler hits his own dropkick and that gets him a two count. Kofi fights back to his feet and after several leapfrogs Dolph ends up getting the Sleeper. Kofi is able to fight out and sends Ziggler to the floor. Kofi comes through the ropes with a dive, but Dolph gets out the way though Big E wasn’t as lucky. Langston heads on the apron but nothing comes out of that as Kofi gets Trouble in Paradise for two. Ziggler bails to the floor again and Kofi follows with a springboard to the floor that takes out Big E and Dolph. Back inside the ring, Kofi springs in with a crossbody for two. He heads back up top again, but Dolph crotches him to stop that noise. A superplex looks to follow, but instead Dolph just drops Kofi face first on the turnbuckle. Nice! The Zig Zag finishes things at 4:46. Big E beats the piss out of Kofi after the match including hitting Big Ending. The crowd actually chants “One More Time.” Ouch!
Dolph Ziggler via pin at 4:46
-Normal decent match from these two though this was the super accelerated version. Dolph needed to look strong and he did and Big E got to show off a little as well. **
-A mat sequence to start though not a very good one, but thought is there. Kaitlyn hits a snap suplex for a two count and Tamina uses the ropes to create space. Kaitlyn gets another two count off a back slide as we see various Divas watching on a monitor in the back. They fight on the apron and Tamina runs Kaitlyn into the steel post sending her to the floor. The head back in the ring and Tamina gets a big boot for a two count. She hits a Samoan Drop and heads up top like her famous father used to, but the Big Splash misses and Kaitlyn hits a spear to get the pin at 3:14.
Winner and Still Divas Champion: Kaitlyn via pin at 3:14
-Short and energetic at least. *
-The stipulation here is that the Champion’s Advantage has been thrown out for The Rock as he can lose the title if he is counted out or disqualified. Punk had stolen the title from The Rock in the build to this rematch and makes sure Justin Roberts introduces him as the People’s Champion when he gets to the ring. Awesome! Both men talk some high quality trash while they circle each other looking for an opening. Both men start out very cautious before Punk gets a headlock and then rolls over The Rock with a shoulder. They lockup again and Punk goes back to the headlock again and again Rock gets dropped with a shoulder. Heyman screaming “two times” on the floor cracks me up for reasons I can’t explain. Punk is rather cocky now (shocking I know) and he gets a third shoulder, but Rock comes back with a couple armdrags and that causes Punk to bail to the floor. The ref gets to a 5 count, but Punk enters the ring and we have a faceoff with some more trash talking. Punk slaps The Rock in the face in attempt to piss him off and it works as Rock goes crazy with right hands in the corner causing the ref to pull The Rock off and then threaten a DQ. Punk decides to take things to another level by spitting in The Rock’s face and now the shit is on as they say. They brawl on the floor and take turns bouncing one another off the announce table. Back in the ring things go and Punk gets a two count off a suplex. A rather loud dueling chant starts as Punk continues to control with a chinlock. Ever the considerate guy, Punk lets the ref know that it’s not a choke, but a chinlock. What a swell guy! The Rock’s first comeback attempt gets cut off with a heel kick as the announcers make fun of Heyman (Lawler and Cole) or put over his accolades (JBL). Back to the chinlock and Rock finally fights to his feet, but again gets caught running in and eats a boot to the face. A springboard clothesline gets a near fall for Punk (2.5 according to Heyman) and he goes right back to the reverse chinlock. The Rock fights back to his feet and just uses brute strength to break the hold, but gets caught with a high knee this time. With Rock out in the corner, Punk charges and connects with the running knee and adds a clothesline for good measure. He heads up top and hits the flying elbow, but since he is not Randy Savage it only gets a two count. I do love that the elbow has become associated with Punk as you know he has to enjoy the hell out of using that move on a regular basis. They head back to the floor and Punk gets caught this time and Rock makes him pay by bouncing his head off the announce table. They go back in the ring and Rock preps for a Rock Bottom, but Punk reverses to a neckbreaker that Rock escapes though a head kick puts him down for a two count. This has been an all out ass kicking by CM Punk so far. Punk drags Rock’s carcass to the announce table and sticks him with a Rock Bottom. The crowd freaks out as the ref starts his 10 count, but Rock barely gets back in the ring much to the heartbreak of Punk. Now Punk is growing frustrated and it costs him as Rock connects with a Samoan Drop to finally get some space to regroup. The ref starts a 10 count on each man and again the crowd starts to freak knowing The Rock can lose the title this way. The two men get to their feet and start exchanging haymakers in the center of the ring. The Rock gets the best of that exchange and sticks Punk with a DDT. He preps for the Rock Bottom, but Punk counters with elbows to the back of the neck and then to the spine and kidneys. A springboard backfires as Rock catches him and hits The Rock Bottom for a two count. Damn! Great near fall there! Heyman and the ref have words and in the chaos the ref gets creamed. That comes back to bite Punk in the ass as he hits the GTS and Punk pins Rock for an easy 8 count. A second ref comes down to check on the main ref while in the ring Punk tries another GTS that the Rock escapes and connects with a spinebuster. The People’s Elbow follows, but Punk is out to delight of quite a few people around ringside though audible boos can clearly be heard. The second ref gets taken out as Punk rolls on his ankle before getting a head kick on the Rock. With no referees around Heyman hands Punk the title and he tries to blast the Rock, but as you would assume, Rock ducks and Heyman gets plastered with the title. The Rock connects with another Rock Bottom and the lead official drags himself back into the ring and the pin comes at 21:02.
Winner and Still WWE Champion: The Rock via pin at 21:02
-Seeing these two in a match was something I always looked forward to and I must say in this case I was kind of disappointed. I grew up on Hogan matches from the 80s and this was kind of similar with Punk playing the Randy Savage role, but until the ending this match just felt kind of flat. The Rock got his ass kicked for 80% of the match and was clearly beaten had the ref not been bumped which makes him look kind of weak (well as weak as The Rock can look). Don’t get me wrong the match was solid, but with these two I was just expecting more I guess. ***
The 411: This was a very solid show with nothing bad, but nothing that I would call absolute must see. The Chamber and the 6 Man are very good and while disappointing and predictable, Rock vs Punk was good as well. The rest was watchable and nothing on here out right sucked, so call it a thumbs up for 3 matches hitting at least ***.