Monday, February 21, 2011

Eliminating Any Surprises

 I didn't get to watch the Elimination Chamber, but my tag team partner Chad did.  Here's a recap of the show from him.  By the way, I was 5 for 5 on my predictions.  But I think Stevie Wonder could have seen the results coming.  I was happy to hear Christian is back.  Should make things interesting on SmackDown!  Now Chad's wrap...

The Elimination Chamber pay per view is in the books. If this show were a WWE wrestler, it would be Randy Orton: bland, boring, and ultimately forgettable. But we now have the two main events set for Wrestlemania … or do we?

In the opening match, Alberto Del Rio marched onward towards Wrestlemania defeating Inter-Continental champion Kofi Kingston in a non-title match. I’m not as sold on Del Rio as most fans seem to be, so I wasn’t too interested in this match. When the match was over I was more interested in seeing Kofi go on to face the World Champion at Wrestlemania than Del Rio. While I think Del Rio may pan out to be a future main event caliber talent, I think rushing him to the main event at the grandest stage of them all will backfire. Especially if he wins the title because where else is there for him to go once he’s reached the top?

I was surprised to see the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match as the second match on the show. I thought they’d hype up Dolph Ziggler’s firing and potential replacement in the EC match. Instead there was no mention of someone taking his place. Teddy Long simply came out and introduced Big Show as now being in the match. Very underwhelming. At the start of the match I commented to my friend I was texting during the show the only logical winners based on the entrants were Edge and Rey Mysterio. When they were the last two men standing, I actually started to think Rey had a chance of winning. After what seemed like a hundred 619s, Edge finally put Rey away to retain his World Title.
After the match, Alberto Del Rio attacked Edge working over Edge’s arm until a returning Christian made the save. I would have rather seen Christian in the actual match, but I think his post match save will somehow lead to either a Edge-Del Rio-Christian 3-way dance at Wrestlemania, or potentially a 4 Way with Rey Mysterio added as well. If the plan is to elevate Del Rio to champion, having him win over three other guys will make the win appear more impressive.

As expected, Corre members Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel regained the tag team titles. Now that they’re champions they can appear on both Raw and Smackdown. I’m guessing there’s some loophole that will allow Wade Barrett and Big Zeke to show up with them. This will (or should) lead to a tag title match at Wrestlemania against two members of the New Nexus.

Jerry "The King" Lawler failed in his attempt to win the WWE Title from The Miz. I actually thought they might do a title switch and then have Miz regain the title on Raw with help from Michael Cole. I was surprised Cole didn’t interfere in the match. No one thought Lawler would go into Wrestlemania as champion so The Miz winning was the right call. The biggest question coming out of this match is how will Jerry Lawler react on Raw to the way Michael Cole berated him on commentary throughout the match.

In the biggest upset in wrestling history, John Cena won the Raw Elimination Chamber match. Wait, did I say upset? I meant, most predictable outcome. The match went the way I expected it to play out. R-Truth and Sheamus were there to fill two spots. John Morrison did some crazy parkur moves. Randy Orton and CM Punk continued their feud while John Cena was put into his seventh consecutive Wrestlemania title match. Eighth if you count his US Title win over Big Show at Wrestlemania XX.

In non-wrestling action, Booker T. introduced Trish Stratus as a trainer on the new season of Tough Enough. Vickie Guerrero came out and pleaded for the WWE Universe to ask Teddy Long to rehire Dolph Ziggler. Teddy came out and said he had rehired someone. That someone turned out to be Kelly Kelly who Vickie had fired a couple weeks ago on Smackdown. I forgot about that when I wrote my piece of firings in wrestling meaning nothing. Kelly tried to attack Vickie but was ambushed by Lay Cool. Trish Stratus returned to save Kelly and to my disliking, a former wrestler was put over at the expense of current talent.

Overall, take away the non-wrestling stuff that should have been saved for Raw or Smackdown and the show was decent. Nothing Earth shattering or must see, but nothing completely offensive. The only major negative was the commentary. Booker T made me miss Matt Striker. The Book man talked too fast and seemed to think he had to carry the conversation even though there were two other guys at the commentary desk with him. Michael Cole outdid himself in topping his previous level of annoyance. The constant bickering with Josh Matthews and Booker while ignoring the action inside the ring ruins any show. I find it hard to believe anyone in upper management within WWE, or even Cole himself can listen to his performance and think it adds anything positive to the show. I guess as long as Cole is "the voice of WWE" it’s something we the fans will just have to deal with unless we make use of the mute button.

With the last stop before Wrestlemania (you know, except for the next six weeks of Raw and Smackdown) in the books here’s what I’m thinking could be on the drawing board for Wrestlemania 27:
The Miz vs. John Cena
Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian
Justin Gabriel/Heath Slater vs. Husky Harris/Michael McGuilicutty
Jerry Lawler vs. some combination of Michael Cole/Alex Riley
Ezekiel Jackson vs. Big Show
The Rock doing an hour of improv comedy.
Now the attention shifts to Raw to see the revelation of the 2-21-11 vignettes and how that will impact Wrestlemania.

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