WWE Elimination ChamberMilwaukee, WisconsinFebruary 19, 2012By Thomas Briggs (Twitter @thjbriggs) Welcome everyone to the 2012 Elimination Live Blog/Review. I'll be covering the Pay Per View since John is out. This is my first time reviewing a show, so bear with me. The final play by play is posted, and I've given an analysis of each match. Give it a read, and post your thought on the show in the comments!<!--more-->Show starts with an Elimination Chamber/Wrestlemania video package. As always, it's really well produced. Elimination Chamber has the potential to be a worthwhile PPV, it's just as significant as the Royal Rumble. Of course, the booking of the two Chamber matches determines the quality of the show.Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Booker T are on commentary.Wow, the show is going to kick off with the WWE Championship Chamber match. Cole reminds us that because of the Raw six-pack challenge a couple of weeks back, Jericho will be the last to enter the ring from his pod. Here comes (in order) Jericho, Miz, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, and CM Punk. Pretty good crowd response for Punk, the crowd chanted his name before his music hit. Punk and Kofi will start the match. So if CM Punk is going to successfully defend his title, he'll have to last the entire match. The odds are against him; I like it.WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Miz vs. R-Truth vs. Kofi KingstonKind of strange to have two babyfaces start the match, but Punk and Kingston are good workers. Match starts slow; first two minutes and there's already been two botches. Way to make me look good guys! Kofi hopped over the top rope, nearly snagging his leg, while Punk botched a roll-up counter. First hard bump of the night: Kofi suplexes Punk onto Chamber floor. Punk then counters Kofi, and suplexes him onto the Chamber floor. Ouch.Third man to enter the chamber: Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler immediately goes after Punk. Sick spot: Ziggler grabs chains, and does pull/leg-ups, and then drops onto Punk. Crowd enjoyed it. After Kofi puts the breaks on Ziggler's momentum, both he and Punk launch themselves from outside the ropes at Ziggler in the ring. Ziggler moves, and Kofi and Punk collide. It looked legit painful, and made a loud slap noise.Fourth man to enter the chamber: R-Truth. Truth gets in a little offense against Ziggler, but quickly gets taken down by Punk with a top rope suplex. Punk gets up, goes to the ring post by Jericho, stares at Jericho as he sets up the big elbow drop, and then lands on Truth. Truth is the first man eliminated.Some good back and forth between Ziggler and Kofi. Kofi does a similar spot to John Morrison's from last year, launching himself and scaling the chamber before tornado-DDTing Ziggler onto the chamber floor. "Holy Sh*t" chant from the crowd.Fifth man to enter chamber: The Miz. He cleans house; throwing Punk into one of the Chamber doors head first. He moves onto Ziggler, who he suplexes to the Chamber floor. Ziggler is taking the most painful bumps in this match. Has there been anyone else better since Shawn Michaels? I don't think so. Miz focuses on Punk. Punk gets the upper hand, and puts Miz in the Anaconda Vice. Camera angle is perfectly set so you can see Jericho staring at Punk from his pod while the hold is locked in. Jericho's countdown begins, and Punk lets Miz go as Jericho's door opens. They have a quick stare-down as everyone else lies in or out of the ring, and then go at it. Really good back and fourth between Punk and Jericho, neither man able to gain upper hand for long. GTS teased, Jericho counters, and then hits a lionsault on Punk. Punk kicks out, and Ziggler goes for a roll up on Jericho. Jericho kicks out and immediately hits the code-breaker on Ziggler for the pin. Ziggler is the second man eliminated.Funny moment: Punk goes to work on Jericho, and in response, Jericho locks himself inside Chamber door. Punk opens the door, but then has his arm slammed in the door jam several times by Jericho.As Miz takes over, Cole and Lawler dub him “the freshest man in the match”. Miz goes for a corner suplex on Kofi, but Punk breaks it up with a power bombs to Miz. Kofi, who has now climbed on top of one of the chamber pods, launches himself at Punk and Miz. As all three are down, Jericho runs in and puts Kofi in the Walls of Jericho, knee on head. It looked better back in his WCW days, but it still looked painful here. Kofi taps, third man eliminated. Jericho keeps the hold on long after the tap, and then throws Kofi out of the Chamber. Tons of heat on him. As Jericho turns back into the ring, Punk kicks him in the head, and Jericho falls out of the Chamber.Jericho appears knocked out. A referee checks on him, and calls for a medic. It's implied that Jericho will be unable to continue.Now it's just Miz and Punk alone in the ring. Miz looks strong here, surprising considering his recent troubles. Miz counters Punk's ring-apron launch, and hits the skull-crushing finale for a close nearfall. Punk recovers, counters a running knee from the Miz, and hits the GTS. Wow, that somewhat came out of nowhere. Punk scores the pin, and the bell rings. Part of me was expecting Jericho to get up and sneak in a win when Punk was celebrating. That part of me was wrong.Winner: CM Punk (32:38)Grade: B+The match was good, but not great. Miz stood out in comparison to Kofi, Truth, and Ziggler. Don't get me wrong, Zigger was the better worker. But Miz was booked to look like a contender here, and I wasn't expecting that going in. Punk shined, as always. His brief moment with Jericho was exciting, and it'll be fun when they fight one-on-one. Jericho's back to being one of the top worker's in the business. Unfortunately, he didn't get the amount of time Punk did. But as a story, it works. Punk never beat Jericho, and their story will have to continue.Cut to highlights of Randy Orton getting K'O'd on Raw, and the subsequent Santino win. A comedy segment follows with Santino preparing for the World Title Chamber match by drinking two raw eggs. The crowd is definitely on his side tonight.Video package for John Cena - showing his original gym, and explaining how hard he's worked in his career. It's a bunch of bodybuilders talking about how great Cena is. Cool. The point is to portray John as an everyman, but I'm not sure how much the video worked.Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix vs. TaminaBeth is wearing a plaid belt above her skirt, which apparently is an homage to Roddy Piper. Nice talk about Piper hitting Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka over the head with a coconut. If you haven't yet, check out Piper's dvd. It's streaming on Netflix. The match starts with Tamina quickly taking down Beth, and going for her Superfly Splash. Beth gets to her feet though, and tosses Tamina from the top turnbuckle to the outside. Beth then does her best Superfly taunt in the middle of the ring. The crowd is pretty dead for all of this. Beth puts Tamina in a reverse guillotine, but Tamina counters with a Samoan drop. She again goes up for the Superfly Splash, but Beth again is able to thwart her, this time executing a middle rope suplex. They trade shots after getting up, culminating in Tamina hitting a superkick. She follows with her Superfly Splash, and Beth kicks out! Beth takes the fight to the outside, gets thrown in by Tamina, and is able to get the upper hand as Tamina slides back in. Hits the Glam Slam for the win.Winner: Beth Phoenix (7:20)Grade: BThis was a very good Divas match. Shocked? I am. They were given time and made the most of it. I don't think Tamina is as good of a worker as the WWE portrays her, but she's in a whole different league than Kelly Kelly, Eve, and the Bellas. Beth, of course, was excellent. See, women's matches aren't always terrible! Fans should be optimistic about the inevitable Beth Phoenix vs. Karma match.Quick Anti-Bullying commercial, followed by another Santino comedy segment. This time he's preparing for his Chamber match by punching a frozen ham in a freezer. Well played Mr. Santino... Well played. They cut to Jericho, who is still being looked at by trainers.Mr. Excitement, John Laurainitis comes down to the ring, teasing a big announcement. He trips over his words, which Cole get a kick out of. He's talking about the poor performance of Teddy Long. Before he gets to the point, Alberto Del Rio's music hits. The Mexican Aristocrat is back, but with no sign of Ricardo. Del Rio says that Laurinaitis should be the GM not only of Raw, but Smackdown as well. I'm on-board with that notion. Before Laurinaitis can respond, Mark Henry's music hits. He joins the ring, and complains that Teddy Long physically assaulted him and then wrongly suspended him. He then praises Laurinaitis for being a fair GM. He agrees with Del Rio, calling for a new Smackdown GM. Before Laurinaitis can respond, Christian's music hits. He blames Teddy Long for the injury that has kept him out of the ring for months, and demands that Laurinaitis become the new Smackdown GM. Laurinaitis thanks them for the endorsement, and then suggests that they all take a picture. And then the segment just ends. Weird, that's not really a “big announcement”, although I hope it happens. I'm not a huge Long fan.Wrestlemania video package airs, followed by yet another Santino comedy segment. This time he's running up the arena's steps, doing his best impression of Rocky Balboa. (All of these are obviously parodies of Rocky, but where was the loose chicken?!)World Heavyweight Championship Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Wade Barrett vs. Big Show vs. Great Khali vs. SantinoUnlike Punk, Bryan won't be in the ring from the start. Wade Barrett and Big Show will begin the match. I gotta say, the crowd has been very underwhelming tonight. Barrett gets the early upper hand, he's a good performer. At about the 4:00 minute mark, Show takes over with a suplex. Slow pace so far, but good match flow.Third man in the Chamber: Cody Rhodes. Cole points out that there's bad blood between Rhodes and Show because of remarks made on Smackdown about Big Show being the “Anti-Undertaker” at Wrestlemania. Show immediately begins destroying Rhodes, launching him into the Chamber chains. He moves back to Barrett who counters a chokeslam to take control. He's been working on Show's legs all match. Rhodes and Barrett work together on Big Show for a whole one minute before Barrett turns on Rhodes. He's being booked strong here.Fourth man in Chamber: Santino. Cole and King refer to him as the “sentimental favorite”. Hits Barrett with an arm-drag, and then goes all Ultimate Warrior on the Ropes in celebration! It was a funny moment, but again, the crowd reaction was only okay. Big Show interrupts Santino and throws him across the ring. Barrett and Rhodes team up to suplex Show onto the Chamber floor. LOUD thud, that was mighty impressive. The heels turn on each other, and Rhodes hits an absolutely insane backflip off the top turnbuckle onto Barrett. A couple of feet higher, and his nickname would be Kurt Angle Jr.Fifth man in Chamber: Great Khali. Punjabi Plunge on everyone but Big Show. Big Show spears Khali for the pinfall! Thank the lord, Khali is unbearable to watch. They could've put Alicia Fox in this match instead and I'd be just as happy. Big Show climbs Bryan's pod, and tries to reach in. At first Bryan looks scared, but once it looks like Show can't get in, he starts taunting Show. Show then breaks the pod's chains, and enters the pod. Starts beating the hell out of Bryan, as the crowd chants “Holy Sh*t!” The pod finally opens, and Big Show walks Bryan out, and then throws him through the “bulletproof” plexiglass. Show continues to dominate Bryan in the ring, and hits a chokeslam. Before he could cover, Wade Barrett attacks Show. Bunch of entertaining spots happen all at once: Santino rolls up Barrett for a very close nearfall, and Cody Rhodes hits Big Show with two big kicks, one off the ropes, and one off the chains. Rhodes then pins Show for three. Rhodes celebrates like he just won the World Heavyweight title at Wrestlemania, while Santino sneaks up behind him. Santino rolls him up for three! Crowd loved that. Loud "Santino!" chant as Barrett takes him on.Barrett ties Santino's arms up in the Chamber chains, and takes on Bryan. Bryan misses a spot where he runs up the turnbuckles and hits a backflip. Crowd chants “You F___ed up” as commentators blame the botch on the toll Bryan has taken. Fans can sometimes be ridiculous, that's a crazy spot to hit, and it's not like Barrett sold the damage. Barrett takes over and power-bombs Bryan into the Chamber chains. He then slams Bryan's neck in one of the pod doors. It looked like he was going to get an easy pin on Bryan, but Santino broke his momentum. Barrett begins to dominate BOTH Santino and Bryan. He's being talked up by the commentators. Goes for top rope Wasteland on Bryan, but again it's broken up by Santino. Bryan takes advantage and hits a top turnbuckle headbutt on Barrett. Shades of Benoit there. Santino makes the cover, eliminating Barrett.Two men left are left in the ring: Santino vs. Bryan. Bryan looks at Santino like he's got the win now locked up, but Santino catches him by surprise. Finally the crowd is alive. After missing a corner dropkick, Bryan gets rolled up by Santino for a nearfall; crowd went absolutely nuts. Santino sets up the Cobra, and hits it! Bryan kicks out, and the crowd disappointment is palpable. Bryan counters the pin into the Labell Lock. Santino teases powering out, and again the crowd is going wild. Bryan is able to lock the hold in though, and Santino taps.Winner: Daniel Bryan (34:30)Sheamus interrupts Bryan's celebration and attacks him. Here's your Wrestlemania World Heavyweight Championship match folks.Grade: BI know, I know. Lot of B's going around tonight. But this was another "good not great" match. To be honest, Santino saved this one. It was always obvious that he wasn't going to win, but he scored some good nearfalls and really had the crowd playing out of the palms of his hands. Besides The Great Khali, everyone else here looked solid. Wade Barrett in particular looked strong. Like the first Chamber match, there were only a couple of memorable spots. But maybe that's a good thing, it makes the truly risky spots all the more special.Cut to backstage, where Hornswoggle's eating cheese while wearing a cheese-head. It's Wisconsin, get it? Natalya's in the room, so cue the “cut the cheese” bit. So bad. She runs out of the room after some terrible sound effects. Hornswoggle then offends Jack Swagger and Vickie Guerrero by saying that he loves jack cheese and cottage cheese. Somehow, someway, this leads to Teddy Long booking a match between Jack Swagger and Justin Gabriel. Yikes, that was terrible.Promo for The Rock's upcoming DVD. Should be a good one. I still need to pick up Austin's dvd first. How have I not gotten to that yet?United States Championship: Jack Swagger vs. Justin GabrielLawler says Swagger and Vickie are a great match because they're both ugly. Then says “Yeah, no kidding” when Cole calls him out for never dating women his age. Way to embrace being a perv, King. Gabriel hit a couple flashy spots to start, but Swagger recovers and puts Gabriel in the ankle lock. Gabriel immediately taps. Not much of a match, this was just filler. Why not have a Tag Title match instead? Oh WWE, you never cease to confuse me.Winner: Jack Swagger (3:00)Grade: FNeither guy was bad here, they just didn't have time to do anything worthwhile. It was literally "Shit, how much time do we have left? Alright, send the mid-carders out there to work a couple of minutes.We're told that Undertaker will be on Raw tomorrow night, and he'll demand a Wrestlemania rematch with Triple H.Video package of John Cena and Cane's “Embrace the Hate” storyline. The storyline hasn't been well-executed, but I don't think it's been a waste of time. But I hope the WWE doesn't expect fans to somehow feel sympathy for Cena after this.Ambulance Match: John Cena vs. KaneLoud ovation for Cena, mostly negative. At least they're into it. Loud dueling “Let's go Cena!/Cena sucks!” chants to start match. Cena and Kane quickly take brawl to the center aisle. I'm a little surprised that Cena looks so calm. I thought the whole point of this angle was so that he, you know, embraced the hate? A backboard and stretcher are already pulled out of the ambulance. Cena attacks Kane with the backboard. Cole and King say there's never been a superstar both as loved and hated by the crowd. You could argue Bret Hart had a similar following before he left the WWE, but that was by design. Fight is brought back to the ring, where Kane takes over. Despite any common sense whatsoever, Kane went for a top rope clothesline. Has he learned nothing from Sid Viscous? (YouTube it)Kane applied his mandible claw/suffocation/whatchamacallit hold on Cena until Cena passed out. He then dragged Cena out of the ring and put him in a wheelchair. Cena fought out of the chair halfway up the aisle. After slamming Kane into the side of the ambulance, Cena picked up the wheelchair and knocked Kane over the head with it. Unlike steel steps, the chair looked heavy, making Kane's sell seem believable. Cena then put Kane in the wheelchair, and ran him into an equipment table. Cena proceeded to take a fan's fold-up chair and hit Kane over the back with it. Pretty cool moment when Cena gave the chair back to the fan, and shook his hand.Cena and Kane then fought their way through the crowd, back to ringside. Cena struck Kane over the head first with a microphone, and then with a monitor. Here comes the steel steps. Cena's smiling throughout all of this, but it's not a deranged smile. More of a smug smirk. Where's the hate?Cena set up some ring steps next to the (Spanish, of course) announce table, and teased an AA. Kane countered and chokeslamed Cena through the table. While Cena's on the floor, Kane goes and grabs the stretcher. He softens Cena up some more, puts him on the stretcher, and rolls him down the aisle. Cena gets completely thrown inside the ambulance, but kicks the back door before it's completely closed. Both Cena and Kane then climb on top of the ambulance, where Cena hits an AA, throwing Kane off the ambulance into an unseen area. Michael Cole actually said “SOMEBODY CALL 911!” The ambulance is right there, idiot.Cena grabs Kane, fireman carries him to the ambulance, and then throws him inside. Right after he closes the doors, the ambulance takes off. So there was a driver in there the whole time? Weird. Cena celebrates the victory in the ring, all smiles, pointing to the Wrestlemania 28 sign as the screen fades to black.Winner: John Cena (21:30)Grade: DIn terms of work, this wasn't a bad match it all. Cena and Kane both looked solid. But as a story told in the ring, it was awful. For two months we've watched Cena supposedly pushed to his limits. Kane has basically ruined his life, all in an attempt to make Cena go nuts. Yet none of that played out in the ring today. Cena vs. Kane was business as usual. Cena got beat up a little bit, overcame his opponent, and won the match. He never once looked challenged, and he never looked angry. You could argue that Cena not embracing hate was the point all along, and that it's a big victory for him, but after this match, the entire Cena vs. Kane storyline feels like an utter waste of time to me. Overall Grade:C+Elimination Chamber was by no means a bad Pay Per View, but it wasn't all that good either. When you stop and think about the events that took place, not much got accomplished. Punk, Bryan, and Phoenix are all still champions, and Cena is the same stale character he was a couple months ago. Still, there was some good ring-work on display. Props to Beth Phoenix and Tamina for having by far the best Divas match in perhaps a year. Santino also put on an entertaining performance, and he should be commended. All said, Elimination Chamber was slightly better than average.