Antonio Cesaro defeated The Miz via disqualification in a strange ending to the match. First off, everyone gives credit to Cesaro based on how great he is in the ring. I will agree 100 percent with that, especially when he is able to make simplistic moves look much more complicated and forceful. I will give praise to The Miz here as well, with his agility and quick nature in the ring to make sure the pace was never slowed down. As Miz had control, Cesaro kicked his knee which forced Miz to low blow him. The referee called for the bell. This tells me that they do not have long term plans for The Miz other than this feud, and they do not know who else Cesaro can feud with and have some success. I felt like this match fell flat towards the end, confused people, and really did not make either guy shine like it should have. Grade: C
Kaitlyn defeated Tamina Snuka in a Divas Championship match. There really is not much to say about this match besides yuck. The pacing of the match was not good, it was choppy from the beginning, and the crowd simply could care less about either of these Divas. Kaitlyn and Tamina, when booked appropriately, can be successful in the WWE, but they are not there yet. Tamina can get the crowd reaction easier because of her father and her connection with that, but she has not utilized that wild card. Kaitlyn would win with the spear, and that really was the only impressive offensive move in the match. Grade: D
Alberto Del Rio defeated The Big Show in a World Heavyweight Championship match. I was impressed with the overall intensity and abilities of Del Rio in the match. There are too many times in the WWE where the faces always get beaten down to ressurect and win after a few moves. Big Show is a rare breed of wrestler because he can NEVER carry a match. It has to be his counterpoints' ability. Del Rio and Show have had some great chemistry over the past few months, but the match overall was not impressive to me. Del Rio was able to be intelligent in his attacks, working on the limbs of Show. It makes complete sense for Alberto to try and chop down the giant, while working on his arms to set up a submission finisher. The ending came when Del Rio missed a spot where he was supposed to hit Show in the head with the bucket. He missed and had to do it over again, and it was not pretty. Lastly, he made Show tap out and hold onto his coveted championship. I said this would have been a great time for Ziggler to cash in, but he did not. Instead, Dolph would win a random 4 minute match. This gives more credibility for Alberto Del Rio heading into Wrestlemania, but I wonder if he actually will hold onto it for that long. We have been surprised before. Grade: C+
Stealing The Show
The Shield defeated John Cena, Ryback, and Sheamus in the most entertaining match of the night. Many people wondered if Cena could lose so closely to Wrestlemania, and the answer is yes. He would gain nothing beating guys that have not won more than one match in their WWE careers, but The Shield would gain SO much heading into Wrestlemania. The action was intense and the pacing of the match was perfect. I love seeing Reigns, Rollins, and Ambrose work their unique styles in a fluid motion. They worked as a team, exactly what John Bradshaw Layfield. That is what they are, what they have been booked to do, and what they are succeeding in. Reigns is a beast, and his fast pace is better than most bigger men. I loved the spear from Reigns to Sheamus, lifting him and holding him in the air while driving his entire body through the barricade. This was spectacular, and I also felt that each member brings a different vibe to the match. Rollins is a hybrid type wrestler, able to do anything and is a perfectionist while taking chances. Reigns is the muscle, and Ambrose is a skilled technicial who know what to do and when to do it. Sheamus was a little invisible to me after his chops to kick off the match, and Cena did his usual deal. This was more about The Shield than anyone else. The faces can and will bounce back. Grade: A-
Jack Swagger wins the Elimination Chamber, and it threw me off quite a bit. Of the many scenarios, this one was so simple that I thought WWE would ignore. With a face champion who is Mexican, you need a heel that is going to test his limits. It is bucking the trend of WWE history, but they are strapping a rocket on the back of Swagger and Zeb and seeing if it pays off. If it is Swagger vs. Del Rio, then the names itself are a letdown. Look back at the history of the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania. You had Orton/Mysterio/Angle at WM 22, WM 23 had Undertaker/Batista, 24 had Edge/Taker, while the following year had Cena/Edge/Big Show. At Wrestlemania 26, Edge/Jericho fought to a great bout, while 27 had Del Rio/Edge, and 28 was Sheamus/Bryan. Aside from last year, every World Heavyweight Championship match had a great veteran leading the way. Does this pairing REALLY excite you? This, being a guy who lost last August to Santino time and time again? I am skeptical, and feel guys like Orton/Barrett/Bryan/Kane/Rhodes/Sandow and others will be left out in the cold.
Mark Henry looked AWESOME in the Elimination Chamber match, dominating and really captivating the crowd with every move he did. He looks the same size, but quicker in transitioning his offense from one target to the next. Kane and Bryan should stay together and defend the titles more heading into Wrestlemania. There is not much else for them to do. I am not sure what Chris Jericho will do, but I feel Ryback vs. Mark Henry would be a great match with two monsters who can actually move in the ring. What does Randy Orton do? I am still holding out that 2 more men get put into the World Heavyweight Championship match to make it a Fatal Four Way. If you have the talent, USE IT.
The Main Event
The Rock defeated CM Punk to retain the WWE Championship. Last months match was better, by a considerable margain. The match was different from the very beginning, as both men were trying to feel one another out. While many people will appreciate the chemistry and mental psychology, I felt like it was just a little slow for my liking. Do we really think that CM Punk was going to overpower The Rock time and time again? I do love the attitude he possesses after each takedown. It was the little things that made this match interesting for me. Paul Heyman was able to go 1...1 and a half... 2.. you're getting closer. THAT is a prime example why he is so valuable to help a feud reach the next level. He has done that for Punk and did that for Lesnar, and his value to them are unquestioned. The match was more technical, and the excitement came when the last few minutes came about. After a Rock Bottom that did not break the table, Punk was able to get in the ring and the count to 10 began. The Rock came back firing, and was able to get his offense going. He would hit a People's Elbow, but only a two count this time. The referee that "twisted" his ankle was a complete joke. It was frustrating at times where they could not let Punk and Rock tell the story, and more outside pieces told us the end. Both men deserved better, but the match did what it needed to do. It made Rock look like Superman, while Punk came so close to beating the Hollywood star. It will separate them, but where does Punk go from here? Please give us Taker vs. Punk.
Elimination Chamber Grade: C+
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