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World Heavyweight Championship -- Elimination Chamber
Daniel Bryan def. the Great Khali, Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, and Santino
Match of the night, without question. Things started slow with Big Show and Wade Barrett, and built into a frenzy at the very end. I said this on Voice of Wrestling last night, but Santino has this innate ability to get the fans behind him - to make you believe he can win despite all the odds being stacked against him. The fact that they kept him around until the final two tells me that management realizes Santino's popularity. Apart from the usual dueling Cena chants, Santino got the hands-down best reaction of the night. Like many I doubt he could ever be a World Champion, but night's like last night at the Chamber make me question whether gimmicks like that can stay over in the main event...
Khali lasted all of 20 seconds. Who's surprised? Cody Rhodes looked fantastic, hitting Big Show with two Beautiful Disaster kicks and eliminating the World's Largest Athlete. Wade Barrett looked solid, destroying every wrestler that got in his way until finally being eliminated. Daniel Bryan looked like a coward, and got the stuffing kicked out of him as a result - considering that seems to be the direction of his character I wasn't so upset about that though. The real story here is Santino, believe it or not. The other guys worked a great match and got us to the finale, but Santino and Bryan tore the house down! I'm actually excited to see if they use the Italian Stallion further on Smackdown this week!
Sheamus makes his way to the ring after the match and throws down the WrestleMania challenge. Nicely done. Rating: A
United States Championship
Jack Swagger def. Justin Gabriel
Filler. Calmed the fans down between the Chamber and the main event, so in that respect it did its job. Rating: C+
John Cena def. Kane
So here is our main event... After two months of Kane torturing Cena's friends and their loved ones in an attempt to make Raw's resident Super Hero "embrace the hate", it all ended with Cena winning clean and moving on to the Rock at WrestleMania. I don't want to say "I told you so", because it was beyond obvious what would happen here.
A solid match that did see a bit more intensity from Cena. Instead of watching him get beat on for 20 minutes, we saw him systematically pick apart Kane for 20 minutes. Some fun spots, but we've seen it all before. How many times has Cena thrown people off of vehicles using his finisher? This is why we needed to see SOMETHING happen here: we've seen everything modern Cena can offer, and no matter how solid the match I can only get so excited about it. Don't let that reflect on how you look forward to his match with the Rock at WrestleMania. That match will be electric no matter what they do with Cena en route. Rating: B
Had this PPV come at any other time of the year it would have been really good. Two entertaining Elimination Chamber matches, a Divas match actually worth checking out, and a solid main event. The crowd wasn't Chicago or NYC, but they got the job done when it mattered. Wresting, check. Big spots, check. Random returns, check. What made the Elimination Chamber such a let-down for me was that it didn't quite feel like a WrestleMania-bound event.
Daniel Bryan came in the champion, and he left the champion. CM Punk came in the champion, and he left the champion. John Cena came in rising above the hate, and he left rising above the hate. It doesn't necessarily take title changes and a huge heel turn to put together an entertaining PPV, but when you're building towards the biggest event in your industry it helps to add a little flair. Instead I think they actually took another step backwards in the WWE title picture, and failed to grant any sort of "pay-off" to the main event. The only real angles that feel WrestleMania worthy involve Triple H and the Undertaker, and neither was present at the Elimination Chamber last night.
Overall I was just expecting a little bit more interest shown in their Superbowl event in just six weeks. There's still plenty of time for them to build momentum, and Rock/Cena draw record views regardless of the rest of the card, but several guys NEEDED to shine here that didn't. CM Punk, Chris Jericho, and Daniel Bryan are going to need a lot of help if they want to compete with the Rock, John Cena, Triple H, and the Undertaker on the Biggest Stage of Them All.
Elimination Chamber Rating: B