Written By: Alexander Settee
Elimination Chamber 2011, February 20, 2011, Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Announcers: Michael Cole, Josh Matthews, & Booker T
The last PPV stop on the Road to Wrestlemania is Elimination Chamber where tonight we will find out who the champions and challengers will be for the two Title matches on the big show.
Opening Match: Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston
The Setup: Kofi made the save in a bit where Del Rio was bullying Hornswoggle around.
The Action: Kofi goes right at him, but the distraction by Rodriguez lets Del Rio take over. Kofi regains control with a dropkick and then posts him on the floor. He later follows with a top rope forearm, dropkick and the Boom Drop, but TIP misses. Del Rio drives the knees in on a crossbody attempt and gets 2. He then goes for a superplex, but Kofi knocks him back and hits another dropkick for 2. They trade some more moves and then Rodriguez gets involved again, distracting the ref when Kofi has a pin. He then misses a leap in the corner and takes a neckbreaker. Del Rio goes for the cross armbreaker with Kofi fighting to block it, but once it’s hooked he quickly taps out at 10:30.
The Verdict: Good opener here and obviously with Del Rio going on to challenge Edge at Wrestlemania, they only option was a good clean win for him. ***
Edge cuts a promo about how the odds are against him which is then interrupted by Drew McIntyre. McIntyre blames Edge for Kelly Kelly losing her job and he’s gonna take it out on him, but then Edge comes back and notes that neither Kelly nor the belt will ever be seen with him.
World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Edge vs. Kane vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Wade Barrett vs. Big Show vs. Rey Mysterio
The Setup: The gimmick of the month makes its first appearance here. Dolph Ziggler originally qualified for the match, but since he’s been fired, Teddy Long announces Big Show, who lost his qualifier to Wade Barrett, as the replacement.
The Action: Edge and Mysterio start and it’s good right away as they go back and forth. Barrett is the third guy in and from there he takes over until they get it together. Mysterio goes for the 619, but edge blocks it with a big boot. Kane is the fourth one in and he runs wild until they gang up on him. McIntyre is next in and he torpedoes Mysterio into the pod, then puts Barrett right through it, which is the first of about five or six times we would see that tonight. Everyone ends up laid out as Show comes in last, so all six guys are still in there. Barrett goes through a pod again and then hit with the Big Right Hand for the pin at 18:50. Obviously the supposed 5:00 intervals were cut much shorter. Now everyone takes it to Show, but he keeps kicking out until finally a 619 followed by a spear followed by a chokeslam ends his night at 20:55. We then learn where McIntyre falls in the pecking order of late as all it takes is a single chokeslam to finish him off at 21:11. Edge and Mysterio then work together and take Kane out with Edge finishing him with a spear at 22:52. That puts us right back where we started and they go immediately into the dramatic bit with each guy taking turns hitting a big move and the other guy just kicking out at the last second. Mysterio ends up on top, but Edge spears him coming off and that gets the pin to retain at 31:31. After the match, Del Rio attacks him, which was great in that they had a close up of Edge and then all of a sudden these boots came flying into the shot. Christian then makes his big return to make the save. I wouldn’t mind him being added to Mania, but it’s probably just setting up him putting Del Rio over on Smackdown.
The Verdict: This was the best match of the night as Edge and Mysterio always find a way to deliver the goods and everything else about the match was very well done as well. ****1/2
Then we get a Jerry Lawler promo where he addresses the death of his mother, but notes that things must go on so he’s gotta go out there tonight. He’s never been WWE Champion or wrestled at Wrestlemania and tonight he can check one off and set himself up to take care of the other as well. This was a great low key deal, but I would expect nothing less from Lawler in a promo.
Booker T gets in the ring and brings out Trish Stratus to plug their coaching roles on Tough Enough. She’s aged a bit but still looks fine. Sadly they gave her some horrible material, making her do a Rock impression on a night where many people there believed that they were going to get the real deal.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (w/Tamina) vs. Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (w/Ezekiel Jackson)
The Setup: I believe that Gabriel beat Kozlov one on one on Smackdown to get the shot here.
The Action: Kozlov got worked over briefly before making the tag to Santino who came in and hit the Cobra on Gabriel. Kozlov gets tagged back in and kills Gabriel, but Slater gets the blind tag and nails him from behind. He then tags Gabriel back in and he finishes Kozlov off with the 450 splash to win the Titles at 5:09.
The Verdict: It was short, which was probably for the best and not good while it lasted, although with no Divas match on the show it was the only in ring lowlight of the night.
Well, I guess we didn’t get an official Divas match, but we did get this segment. Vickie Guerrero comes out all sad and pleads with the fans to help her get Dolph Ziggler hired back. Teddy Long comes out and announces that he is in fact in a hiring mood, but the person he’s hired back is Kelly Kelly. I guess that she and Drew just missed each other backstage all day. So Kelly comes out and stalks Vickie, but Laycool comes down and lays her out. This prompts Trish Stratus to make the save, in high heels. She tried all the old spots even though she was clearly having trouble moving around and couldn’t get up properly for the handstand headscissors. Always bring your boots would be the lesson learned from this segment.
WWE Championship Match: The Miz (w/Alex Riley) vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler
The Setup: They’ve been feuding since the TLC Match late last year, but to get this match, Lawler won a mini Rumble on Raw.
The Action: Lawler starts out by quickly going for pins before clotheslining Miz to the floor. Riley distracts him and he gets posted so Miz takes over and gets a few nearfalls of his own, including one off a shot from Riley. Lawler crotches him on the top and nails a superplex for another 2. Riley trips him up and finally the ref catches him interfering and ejects him. They go to the floor where Cole gets in Lawler’s face, allowing Miz to nail him. Lawler comes back though and whips Miz into Cole, wiping him out for the rest of the match. Back in, he gets a DDT, then drops the strap and hits a 2nd rope fistdrop for 2. He goes for the piledriver, but Miz backdrops out with Lawler then getting a sunset flip for 2. Miz gets up and kicks him in the head, and then connects with the Skull Crushing Finale for the 3 count at 12:09. Cole runs in the ring and raises Miz’s hand before going back to the desk and going on a tirade against Lawler to continue their issue while Lawler soaks up a great reaction from the crowd.
The Verdict: This was a very simple match, but a lot of the time simple is good. It was also very different from most PPV Title matches of late, which is another good thing. I didn’t really think Lawler was going to win, but they did a really good job of getting me in to it anyways, so this one was a win. ***1/4
Main Event, #1 Contenders Elimination Chamber Match: Randy Orton vs. R-Truth vs. CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. King Sheamus vs. John Morrison
The Setup: These were the losers from the Rumble that Lawler won so they get another chance to be the top contender here, in the main event no less.
The Action: Sheamus and Morrison start with Morrison showing off his athleticism early on by coming off the cage with a kick. Orton is in next and he just kills both guys. I don’t think either of them got in a move in the entire segment. This continues until Punk is the fourth guy with Orton waiting for him, but his door won’t open properly. Orton attacks him while he’s halfway out, beats him down, and then finishes him with an RKO at 9:01. But wait! The GM dings in and rules that Punk was not given a fair chance due to the malfunctioning door and so he will be put back in the pod. All this time has given Sheamus and Morrison a chance to recover, so they finally get some offence on Orton until the countdown starts again and now Cena is next to come in. He takes on Sheamus and Morrison. R-Truth is next and well, it sucks to be him as he’s almost immediately pinned with a Brogue Kick at 17:43. Orton and Cena go at it next, and they do get a better reaction then they did at the Rumble. Now Punk gets to come out again, but he lays in wait until Orton RKO’s Cena on the steel, but hurts himself in the process. Punk then picks the bones and finishes Orton with the GTS at 21:35. Morrison makes his way to the top of a pod, and is joined by Sheamus who tries a High Cross off of there, but Morrison knocks him back down, then climbs along the top of the cage before dropping onto Sheamus and pinning him at 25:19. Cena and Morrison use a Doomsday Device on Punk for 2 with Morrison then taking an AA. Cena then gets slung into a pod by Punk, who then goes after Morrison. Morrison fights valiantly, but kills himself missing Starship Pain and eats the GTS for the pin at 32:53. Cena then quickly catches Punk with an AA on the steel and that gets the win at 33:14.
The Verdict: This was another great match, although I don’t think it was quite as good as the earlier Chamber. Morrison keeps falling short, but he seems to have something about him that looks like he could very well break through in the near future. ****
Overall Thoughts: This was a great show, easily one of the best PPV’s WWE has done in a while. There’s only five matches, but four of them hit *** or better and two of them **** or better and other then a couple of extended talking segments, nothing drags it down at all. It’s an easy Thumbs Up for Elimination Chamber 2011, and a strong recommendation to check it out if you happened to miss it.