Monday, 24 February 2014

WWE Elimination Chamber 2014

WWE Elimination Chamber 2014

Live from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Pay Per View, WWE presented their fifth Elimination Chamber PPV on Sunday 23rd February. With the heavyweight title all to play for and six strong entries, would WWE be able to present a thrilling card also filled with fan appreciation? Would it be a one match event or would the rest of the card be tightly packed together in the lead up to the main event? Let's find out.

Intercontinental Championship
Big E. Langston (c) Vs Jack Swagger w/ Zeb Colter

The action was rather disjointed and awkward to watch. Langston charged through the ring at Swagger to cheers though was an awkward collision. Langston has made numerous interactions that have been neglectful and could seriously harm stars just as Ryback and Sheamus have been. Previous casualties include Dean Ambrose when liability Langston busted his face hardway with a sloppy collision. It's not personal, its professional. Langston needs to take care when performing and install cruise control without loss of traction. Swagger flung Big E. later from the top rope which was a decent display from both. Swagger followed with an awful misconnected low body shoulder dive which Langston also avoided sideways. Big E then escaped a Patriot  Lock from Swagger. Big E ran into a mid body boot only to come back with a power move easily. Langston re-entered a Patriot Lock reaching his feet to escape. Big E. Langston drops the Big Ending to drop Jack Swagger and keep hold of the Intercontinental Championship in a tentative tussle.

Langston needs to slow down and refine his aggression. Some others can also do the same as mentioned above. It is important not to injure as well as maintain compact skill and interaction.

Instantly after English tool Bad News Barrett arrived on a podium to laugh. 

Tag Team Championship
New Age Outlaws (c) Vs The Uso's

Lockups, takedowns and fast paced flying the tag battle was a competitive and consistent match. Though the New Age Outlaws are still workable, the Uso's worked excellently with a vicious hip toss into the corner of one of the Uso's by Road Dogg. Ground work continued well as the Uso's brought back momentum with Jimmy Uso and Mr.Ass with the kiss lips on his pink tights once more. Jimmy soon went up top to the corner as Road Dogg attempted to come in from outside which Jimmy kicked off the apron. The distraction allowed the New Age Outlaws to score a roll up for a three fall retainment of the titles. As fans see it, Triple H's friends retained the gold.

Barrett returned on a podium again for another whiney installment.  Barrett's release cannot come quickly enough.  

Darren Young Vs Titus O'Neil

After their short break up, O'Neil, once WWE's favourite new heavyweight prospect due to height and muscle requirements was set onto a pathway with his former friend. The action was mild but content.

After a quick fallout on Smackdown where Titus could not tag in to Young who was pasted in the match loss, O'Neil raised a boot to Young's gut. The fallout now continues this evening.

A lock up starts the pair as inseparable. A cheap touch followed as Titus botched a dropkick from Young to the knees with no connectivity. Backbreaker followed. A little watered down without any real enthusiasm but the match was respected by fans for the wrestling action involved. Young displayed capable qualities and clearly the stronger of the two. Young ran into a Clash of the Titus move as Titus O'Neil wins the match in a short and empty challenge which had good content in part.

Boring stain Wade Barrett returned again for another saddening dribble of nothingness.  

Six Man Tag Team
Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan Vs Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns

After disrupting the status quo for The Shield over the last month The Wyatt Family came to dominate the show as a contest of alpha males.

Rollins and Rowan go at it where Rollins takes an amazing flight. Reigns joins with tagged interplay. Whopping boy Rollins once more excels for The Wyatt's. Harper now feeds off of Rollins who is simply exceptional for the Wyatt's and without him they wouldn't be as strong as they hoped on the night. WWE need to have more respect for Rollins. Without him they would be in severe difficulties. Reigns now enters with Bray. Reigns goes after nutjob Wyatt as Bray stands own firm ground with comeback as equals. Harper rejoins who soon gets a piece of tagged in Ambrose. Rollins and Ambrose double team very well as a pair. Ambrose keeps strong offence against Harper. Rollins returns to be dismissed with frequent tags to Ambrose.  

Initial leaders Bray and Ambrose take the fight as Bray squashes Ambrose in a hard collision to the ring post. After more destruction Rollins was allowed to have his moment and took down all the Wyatt's with super athletic aerialism including a superb moment with a suplex from the top corner reversed landing on his feet which was respected until Harper smashed a hard slam. Rollins soon reverted to beat down rag after.

Reigns received crowd support when tangling with Rowan one on one. Reigns landed a number of 'Superman punches' while Rollins and Harper destroyed the Spanish announce table. It was a bad time for poor Seth. Bray watches as Rowan and Harper double powerbombed sap Rollins through the table.

Shortly after the hot action neared its end with the three Wyatt's battling Reigns whose might powered away from Bray's clutches when Sister Abigail attempted to join in. Roman Reigns received a headbutt to no effect to smash a Samoan drop on Bray. After hurling out Harper and Rowan in a sudden power surge, Bray Wyatt resurfaced quickly as Harper received the spear intended for his master. Bray then nailed Reigns with the kiss of his Sister to cover for the three fall to win the challenge over The Shield in a hotly fought thriller on both sides.  

Unified Women's Championship
AJ (c) w/ Tamina Vs Cameron

The platinum butterfly belt was defended in a short addition and impromptu match. Empty and littered with mistakes, the gals strained three and a half minutes in this one. After friend Naomi was busted by a messy botch from Aksana on Raw just weeks ago to the eye, requiring surgery, the result was an obvious one.

CM punk cheers from the crowd. 252 days is the "longest reigning divas champion of all time" AJ explains adding there was "Zero competition".  The match then began with Cameron, who danced. AJ ran into a touch for Cameron's splits leg drop. AJ hit a roundhouse kick as Cameron ran into it barely touching. Cameron predictably used roll ups and then danced in between. AJ predictably used headlocks again to stall time. AJ skipped. The pair ran into each other with no connectivity. Cameron hit a legdrop to air instead of AJ's head as intended.  Cameron was soon sent outside. "CM Punk" rang from the crowd as AJ used the pom pom's to cheerlead. Tamina hit a superkick on AJ by accident as Cameron put AJ inside for a two count as Tamina saved AJ. Cameron went after Tamina who floored her with a hot clothesline. Once again, Tamina is the only standout star in the division.

WWE are clearly going to need to find some strong females to place on the card for Wrestlemania if it is serious about booking a female match up.

AJ was defeated by Cameron, however, through a disqualification to maintain their brief feud. AJ still holds the title as a result.

Batista Vs Alberto Del Rio

Del Rio arrived on crutches after Batista delivered a brutal bash through the announce table on Raw of the Mexican Aristocrat previously. Batista has since gone back to hot black tights than previous MMA short pants. As often as people don't understand, pants and smaller details are crucial to success. For the record, they look better.

Rio said he would not be able to compete this evening, then stuffed a crutch into Batista's face with an assault. Rio ripped off his sweat jacket stripping his clothes to his scarf and tights bearing a smile for good measure. The crowd cheered "Ce" for Del Ri-o. Huge boos instantly for Batista's first move since the bell began. Fans have not responded well to The Animal's return since a Royal Rumble victory catapulting him to the main event at Wrestlemania. "Boo-tista!" the crowd bellow as Rio locks a leg hold on the ropes for the beefy Batista. Batista showed a fair amount of pain for Del Rio in arm hold as fans held onto the hope that "CM Punk" might return. Fans often agree this is disrespectful to the performers when it isn't related to the content on show. "Y2J" was also mentioned. WWE clearly have a problem. It needs to produce content that supports the crowd, however fans must be aware not all fan favourites can be placed in such fantasy situations inside of a business approach. This would be called a compromise to deliver a better product. Fans won't be respected by WWE for "going into business for themselves " which will affect the product given back by WWE.

Rio contained dominance over Batista with a two fall. Rio countered a finisher and kicked the head of Batista who kicked out at two again.

Rio made a split rookie mistake turning his back as Batista nailed the Batista Bomb to cover Alberto Del Rio for a three fall and win the match heading to Wrestlemania with much heavier momentum.

The crowd did not feel that one, but WWE won't worry about them as disregars them as fantasists for their "CM Punk" boycott chants. This is the way they view it. Batista was booed heavily. To his credit he sold heavily for Rio despite upset in the back at returning stars worries sidelining long term workers. 

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Elimination Chamber
John Cena Vs Christian Vs Randy Orton (c) Vs Daniel Bryan Vs Antonio Cesaro Vs Sheamus

The Chamber looms. Comprising the pods are, John Cena, Christian, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan.

The first two to battle the opening match would be Antonio Cesaro and Sheamus. Cesaro, accompanied by Zeb Colter outside, has re-adopted the white tights with red streak and rugby socks which is a good return and a new look. The name will be a fail if WWE doesn't quickly revert it.

Cesaro began strong with a charge and dominance of Sheamus instantly. Sheamus then quickly returned one punch to regain the control. Cesaro was allowed to maintain strong offence whilst working Sheamus to a capable entry. Sheamus then dived over the top rope with a shoulder block in comedy fashion. Sheamus hit a sloppy clothesline once more of Antonio which is another liability. Sheamus, among others could seriously injure WWE performers. Someone needs to read him the riot act. He must work with people than destroy them completely. Sheamus almost bungled being lifted over the top rope to the outside grill.

Orton gave a sexy smirk from his pod as Cesaro kept control. Cesaro mocked Cena in his pod whilst going for Sheamus with the hand wave. Cesaro planted a huge uppercut on Sheamus, who sold it for thirty seconds before climbing to the top rope. Cesaro stalled him with another as the countdown for a new participant begins. In enters Daniel Bryan. Pocket rocket Bryan instantly charges a missile dropkick from the top to Cesaro. YES! kicks on Sheamus after, taking him down with a heavy running clothesline. Bryan then trades YES! kicks with both guys on their knees. No one was able to get the roundhouse kick as the crowd anticipated. Understanding the motion, Cesaro quickly used ring psychology to take a kick by Bryan. Both improvised fast and well.

Cesaro regains control over Bryan.  Relentless Cesaro took Sheamus to the outside then stopped by Bryan who was reversed and swung into the pod window smashing through shoulders first. It was another great interplay between the two. Sheamus quickly then backbreak rolled Cesaro to the grilling followed with a two fall in ring. "Let's go Cena. Cena sucks!" chants ring as the countdown starts again. The next entry? Christian. He shoves Sheamus off the top and works onto Bryan to cheers for being in the match but boo's for going for the favourite. With only Cesaro and Orton as rogue battlers, WWE needed an obvious balance. Christian displayed strong qualities and ripped Bryan's injured shoulder padding off to hit him onto the pod for extra damage.

WWE had earlier planned to consider removing Christian from the match after we touched on the Jeff Hardy stairwell whodunit in which fans cost Christian a sustained push with online gossip and spoilers, something WWE felt highly distasteful and irrespective.

Christian followed further power slamming Sheamus down. Cesaro attempted a swing on Christian who blocked and then reversed a door gate assault landing on the chamber only to be powerbombed by Cesaro into the pod. Quick thinking Antonio attempted a cover in ring for a two fall only. Phew, Christian wasn't laid to waste so easily. This is highly beneficial in the absence of WWE stars.

Sheamus and Cesaro trade blows. Cesaro amazingly gut wrench suplexes Sheamus to the steel floor outside. Another star is coming in. John Cena enters to vicious disagreement. He flings Christian onto Cesaro and climbs the top as Bryan hurricanrana's Cena. Cena takes kicks from Bryan but fails to sell the impact. Christian gets a sneak attack on Bryan to cover for a tense two fall. Now Cesaro grabs the legs of Christian for a swing, halted by a flying Cena. Cena then drops Christian for a five knuckle shuffle, only to be planted by Sheamus with White Nosie. Cesaro and Sheamus go back at it. Uppercuts versus punches as Christian kicks Sheamus in the head, Sheamus counters Cesaro's finisher as Christian drops over Sheamus and drops a Jump Swinging DDT. Cena catches and smashes him into the steel wall. Cena lightly taps the flying elbow run on Cesaro as Antonio smacks an uppercut to Cena's face to huge cheers.

Cena, Cesaro and Bryan take centrestage with attacks as Sheamus and Christian try outside. Sheamus holds Cesaro as Bryan attacks only for Sheamus to viciously shove Bryan into the steel wall. In his pod Randy Orton looks on, thrilled. Cesaro drops a huge suplex on Sheamus as the final countdown sends Orton into the fray. Orton clears the ring with attacks on everyone. Fans give Orton a little "boring" sound as Orton taunts.

Now flanked by Cena, Bryan and Sheamus, the champ is caught in all directions. Orton retreats to his pod. Sheamus stares at Orton in the pod. Fans lower the tone chanting "p***y" as Orti smiles and licks his lips. Sheamus then brogue kicks the door apart as Orton is knocked down and Sheamus smashes him inside the ring. Cena knocks an Attitude Adjustment followed with missconnected five knuckle shuffle. Cesaro hurls Cena out. Orton gets caught into the fabled super swing for thirty rotations. Damn, that looked hot.

The action changes quickly with everyone as Sheamus stands tall. Surging for a Brogue Kick on Christian, he ducks as Cena is knocked instead. Christian takes a quick two fall on Sheamus and then Cena. Christian retreats from Sheamus with pleas as the Celtic Warrior tries a dominator. Christian uses the elevation to climb the top as JBL likens Christian to a mnonkey. Jerry Lawler drops the "spider monkey" for a little laugh. It was okay in quick context. We giggled. Orton stopped Sheamus and retook charge. Christian, atop the pod, hits a flying splash down onto the Irishman then glides over Sheamus for a three fall elimination. "This is Awesome!" the crowd say. Christian then flung Orton over to be nailed by Bryan in a hard flying attack and is eliminated with ease.

The four go hammer and tongs. Cesaro/Cena and Orton/Bryan. Bryan and Cena stare down on opposite parts of the ring to huge "YES!" agreements. The pair battle with fists as Bryan tries the YES! Lock as Cena "powers through" Cesaro from behind double German suplexes Cena, who holds Bryan in hold. Cena counters all of Cesaro's manoeuvres to smash him to the outside with the plexi-fibre glass. Cena gets a quick submission hold on, debatably and forces Antonio Cesaro to tap out. Fans were miffed. Cena then puts Orton into a hold as the Wyatt's black out the arena. All three are in the chamber, unexplainedly as they go for Cena. Cena suffers a mauling by the family as Bray plants the kiss of Sister Abigail to Cena. The crowd appreciate with "Thank You Wyatts!"

Orton quickly covers John Cena in a weak showing as champion to protect Cena taking the action down to two. Either Bryan or Orton will win the title. Kane tells the Wyatt's to leave. As Kane checks on Cena being helped out the door, Bryan launches to Kane, as Orton quickly regains control from the advantage. Bryan gets the better of Orton with running YES! kicks to crowd entrustment. Two fall follows a strong suplex from the top on Orton. Bryan scales the corner post again, which Orton halts with a jab. Orton smacks the DDT from the ropes at the turnbuckle. Orton readies himself on the ground stomping as Bryan knocked a knee on Orton where Michael Cole screams "Bryan's going to Wrestlemania!" Kane stops the referee count as Randy Orton smacks Daniel Bryan with the RKO. Bryan kicks out at two to stay in the fight. Offering the WWE Universe hope, Bryan was kicked by Kane again as Randy Orton followed a swift RKO to cover Daniel Bryan for a three fall and raise the WWE World Heavyweight Championship once more. 

WWE showed close ups of the WWE Universe fans dismayed with the result. What fans fail to understand is that WWE are sending their message. With so many spoilers and idiocy from online silliness WWE cannot and are unwilling to accept fans' points of view. This was clearly sent with the finishing angle on Bryan, as well as possibly removing Christian from the bout. They want fans to learn the lesson. Once agreed, the product could become better without too many smarks around thinking they know how WWE are going to do something with spoilers costing the show forcing it to change direction.  

PPV Rating - 7/10

Men/Women of their matches - Jack Swagger, Jimmy Uso, Darren Young, Seth Rollins, AJ, Alberto Del Rio, Antonio Cesaro

Man/Woman of the PPV - The Wyatt Family


Goldust and Cody Rhodes defeated Ryback and Curtis Axel in a standard tag match to kick off the interest of the Chamber card. Axel had Larry Henning with him at ringside. This may be a positive sign WWE are moving Axel and his name away to a better place. He is still being lumbered with useless stone Ryback until creative figure where to place him. 

WWE felt compelled to change Cesaro's name. Now known as a surname only, Antonio was dropped by WWE's head office because they feel the name Antonio was one that was weak. Yet every superstar and human being has a forename. Obscure WWE logic always threatens a career opportunity. Cesaro has made the name Antonio strong. It's also his WWE identity. WWE need to add it back pronto in order to avoid a long term backlash. Fans do not accept the name change either and still call him Antonio. The longer WWE abstain, the longer they will look the fool. Though defiance is something the John Cena project has evolved into today, with mixed results. The name Antonio has also been linked to and strong in theoretical areas and philosophers. Hmmm. Interesting. 

The title chamber itself was a strong and interesting fight to watch. Even those disliked by fans were watchable in this battle, a key imperative for WWE to have with six stars it requires in different camps. WWE could bother to re elevate Christian to a decent level to keep on the sidelines, help train others and interest fans for ticket sales. Though WWE don't get his appeal, Christian has that in part and something fans want to spend time on. With a child recently born and serious about his career stalled in part, Christian is serious about a WWE future. 

Returning to the ring in his first real match after winning the Royal Rumble mega match, The Animal hammered past Alberto Del Rio as expected. They went for eight minutes as Batista held strong levels of power as well as helping Del Rio retain his profile in the loss. Rio gave Batista a helping hand too, which is a sign of strong match portrayal and future support. They had a competent battle for the short run through.

The tag titles will be seen as the DX continuation for Triple H's fun filled moment on screen. Unable at this time to participate, Hunter's fan club in which "no one else can join" is seen as pointless. Despite the fact both guys can work well still, fans are past the nostalgia stage and politely decline their involvement in such strong storylines for a title run that is just for record books and no development overall.

Swagger was boring and gave no real interest. Langston was above him because Swagger was so lowly. Neither have really shone, but, as WWE hope for, Langston is still a fan favourite, for now at least. Care and attention to detail will benefit a longer role over time. As a rushed prospect the effect is taking its toll on Big E.'s character interest.

Darren Young and Titus' collision was short and empty, but did show a level of skill involved. A long think on the drawing board will benefit. However, as noted previously, Young provided a bearable battle.

AJ's title reign has always been uneventful. The reminder of the title holding and pointless reign does her no favours. Though her point of "no competition" is true. How sad that in 2014, this is a shining reality of the female division. People need skilled workers not girl's next door with model attributes. No competition also highlights AJ's title reign with such accessory is regarded as highly empty of any contest.

The Shield and The Wyatt's was the hottest match of the evening for fans. Delivering skill, spots, fun and frenzy, the six men can be proud of this corker. 

Overall, the chamber card was a watchable event without too much strain to get through the show. When a PPV flows well, fans will be able to engage whilst respecting those on opposing sides as part of a business understanding. When it is not a legitimate partnership, fans will become distant, even if they do part with cash now and then and possibly, forever. 

©  Max Waltham 24th February 2014

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