The last WWE Pay-Per-View before Wrestlemania 28, the 2012 Elimination Chamber unsurprisingly feels like a rush job – an afterthought by the company whose attention was firmly focused on their biggest event of the year.
Thankfully though, the Elimination Chamber matches, one for the WWE Championship, the other for the World Heavyweight Championship didn’t disappoint and managed to keep a sell-out crowd at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on their feet. Shame the other matches struggled to compete.
Raw Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship
CM Punk defeated Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, The Mix and Chris Jericho to defend his WWE Championship
Coming into this match-up first, the odds were stacked against CM Punk. And with Jericho, Punk’s biggest rival at the time, and a veteran of the Elimination Chamber, winning the right to enter last, the chances of him retaining his title looked slim.
Kingston and Punk battled it out with some impressive high-flying moves for the first five minutes; sending each-other head first into the hard plastic pods, the steel floor and the unforgiving chains surrounding the chamber. Next in was Ziggler who rejuvenated proceedings somewhat with his freshness and ego, but he never quite gets going and spends a lot of time on his back. R-truth’s next up, but after a bit of momentum against Ziggler, is eliminated by a flying elbow drop by Punk. Miz, knowing if he doesn’t win he probably won’t be going to Wrestlemania had the most to prove, and was in until the end. Finally, Jericho entered and immediately locked eyes on Punk. But after a swift Codebreaker, he eliminated Ziggler then locks Kingston into the Walls of Jericho. But as Jericho tossed Kofi out the chamber, Punk kicked him in his head, knocking him not only out the ring and the match, but also unconscious, leaving just The Miz and Punk left. But Punk retained his title with a swift G.T.S, securing his place at Wrestlemania 28.
While a match of this magnitude should really be the main event, it was nonetheless a strong way to open the show, with Kingston the most entertaining, Ziggler getting a beating, and the match setting up the CM Punk vs Jericho title match at Wrestlemania nicely.
Singles Match for the WWE Diva’s Championship
Beth Phoenix defeats Tamina Snuka to retain her Diva’s Championship
The first ‘filler’ match of the night saw Diva’s Champion Beth Phoenix retain her title against Tamina ‘daughter of Superfly’ Snuka. There aren’t many Diva’s that can compete with the ‘Glamazon’ when it actually comes to wrestling, but Tamina put up a decent fight, echoing her father’s style with every move. A classic Samoan Drop, a Superkick and Superfly Splash weren’t enough to dethrone the champ and Phoenix scored the pinfall thanks to a Glam Slam. As far as Divas matches go, this was one of the better ones. Shame it’s also when the audience dash to the toilet.
We’re treated to an in-ring segment, with John Laurinaitis, the interim GM of Raw, accompanied by David Otunga and supported by a returning Alberto Del Rio, Mark Henry and Christian in his bid to become the permanent General Manager of Raw and Smackdown. A cringe-worthy moment, this does nothing except set up the feud between Laurinaitis and Teddy Long. This kind of thing however isn’t suited to Pay-per-view events and should be kept to house shows.
Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Daniel Bryan defeats The Big Show, Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Santino Marella and The Great Khali to retain his Heavyweight Championship Title.
As Santino won the right to appear in this match after winning a Battle Royale the previous week on Smackdown, we have to endure his Rocky-esque training skits. A bit of fun really, but Marella’s never going to be taken seriously doing stuff like this.
Unlike CM Punk, Daniel Bryan was already at an advantage, entering the match last. The Big Show and Wade Barratt go at it first. Rhodes and Marella are the third and fourth entries, bringing a bit of life back into the match. Marella gains some momentum over a tired Barratt but comes face-to-face with The Big Show. Khali, unsurprisingly doesn’t last long and is the first eliminated after a spear by Show.
The highlight of the match comes when The Big Show breaks the chains to Bryan’s pod, climbs inside and beats him senseless before he’s even entered the match. Once in the ring, Bryan’s manhandled by Show, but after a little bit of teamwork by Rhodes and Barrett, is pinned and eliminated. But as Rhodes celebrates, he’s rolled up by Santino and eliminated himself, leaving three competitors left. Barrett dominates proceedings, fending off Bryan and Santino with ease. But after a flying headbutt from Bryan, Santino gets the pin and eliminates Barrett. Even with the crowd behind him, Santino’s no match for Bryan, and after a quick two and fourth, he succumbs to the Yes Lock and Bryan retains his belt.
Better than the first match of the night, this worked well at closing the The Big Show Daniel Bryan rivalry and settling up his next one with the Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes. And despite his comedy gimmick, Santino proved how good he really can be, and cemented himself as a firm fan favourite.
Singles Match for the WWE United States Championship
Jack Swagger defeated Justin Gabriel to retain his United States Championship
Set up seemingly five minutes before by Teddy Long after an ill-advised skit featuring Hornswoggle, cheese and farts, this was just another filler match while the audience went to the toilet. With little to get excited about, Swagger retained his belt by making Gabriel tap with the Ankle Lock. Still, at least another title was put on the line on the night.
John Cena defeated Kane
More a brawl than anything, this came about because of a rivalry between Cena and Kane over a slogan on a t-shirt. John Cena claiming to ‘rise above hate’ didn’t sit well with Kane who wanted him to ‘come to the dark side.’ This weak rivalry wins nothing for originality and was put into place just for Cena to build some momentum going into his match against The Rock at Wrestlemania. There was no way Kane was going to win.
Compared to the first Ambulance Match at Survivor Series 2003, featuring Shane McMahon and Kane, this was a tame affair. With Michael Cole claiming an Ambulance Match to be ‘dangerous and cruel’ and Booker T saying ‘John Cena might not even make it to Wrestlemania’, it’s almost like they were being sarcastic, as the match was a massive anticlimax. There was some fun to be had with a stretcher and a wheelchair, and Kane chokeslammed Cena through the Spanish Announce Table. But Cena delivered an AA from the top of the ambulance into what looked like a giant black mattress and bundled Kane into the ambulance to secure the victory.
Overall, Elimination Chamber 2012 is a disappointment. The company, the superstars and the fans all have one eye on Wrestlemania and the PPV suffers for it. With no titles changing hands, the event is all too predictable, and with only five matches on the cards, there’s a lot of unnecessary, awkward filler.
The chamber matches were rightfully exciting however, and they both set up some nice rivalries. But it boggles the mind as to why the WWE Championship – the company’s most prestigious title – is put on the line first. As for extras, how about 1 minute 20 second interview between Josh Matthews and Daniel Bryan? No? Okay. As far as WWE PPV DVD’s are concerned, save your money for your Royal Rumbles, Wrestlemanias, or SummerSlams.
WWE Elimination Chamber is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Silver Vision.