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Fallout From Elimination Chamber Opens The Road To Wrestlemania

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What a perfect time for me to write my very first wrestling review, as every year the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view and the subsequent episode of WWE Raw are amongst the most exciting for wrestling fans. It was this period five years ago that really reignited my passion for wrestling.

Let’s start with a review of the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, one of my personal favourite events every year. Following the recent tradition of big pay-per-views, our opening contest was for the World Heavyweight Championship. In a decent but predictable opener Big Show continued his trend of having entertaining albeit not particularly technical title matches against reigning champion Alberto Del Rio. It proved a lot more conservative than their previous two last man standing matches and it was a tough challenge living up to the emotion of the prior matches. Del Rio continues to impress me with his recent face turn and new vibrant arsenal of moves. Del Rio picks up the win after a botched uranage kick and what must have been his fourth attempt at the cross arm-breaker.

Next came another of the many rematches from the Royal Rumble with the United States championship match featuring Antonio Cesaro defending against The Miz. This has been one of the more personal mid card feuds we have seen in quite some time, fitting Wrestlemania season. This was a competitive back and forth affair with the result unpredictable until the closing bell. Typical of Cesaro he showed us innovative spins on classic moves and that great technical ability which has lead to his ascension in WWE. The Miz couldn’t capture his third United States championship on this occasion however the questionable finish and his victory over the champion the next night ON Raw suggests that the awesome one may get another opportunity on the most awesome PPV of the year.

The next matchup was the Elimination Chamber, an intimidating callous and menacing structure, however we were first presented with another uncomfortable yet interesting “real American” promo from Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter (wrestling genius and former member of the TNA creative team Dutch Mantell). This non-American tirade should have been a real omen as to who would be facing the Mexican Alberto Del Rio at wrestlemania. I am personally enjoying this new tandem as it’s something different and both men play their parts very well. After being a fan of his in his early days, it’s nice to be interested in Jack Swagger again. This match started with a real nod to the wrestling purists out there as arguably the WWE’s top two workers Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan kicked things off. These two delivered just as they did in Daniel Bryan’s first WWE match nearly 3 years to the day. The next entrant was Swagger who introduced some brutality into the matchup and really got things heated up. Kane, Randy Orton and Mark Henry entered in that order as for only the second time in history all six entrants in the Elimination Chamber were in the ring at the same time. Team Hell No introduced a little comedy into the matchup and Daniel even tried to pull off what I can only assume would be the first hug in Elimination Chamber history. When Kane rejected the team continued their dissension with some intense back and forth action before they were both eliminated by the world’s strongest man Mark Henry. Henry looked as dominant as Paul O’Connell would be playing under 12′s rugby, and like that situation Henry’s attack was very entertaining. Eventually teamwork from the three remaining participants led to Henry’s elimination but he would not leave before delivering the world’s strongest slam to all remaining participants. With the final three now on level terms they engaged in very exciting exchanges until Orton eliminated Jericho with an RKO before Swagger rolled him up for the victory. A surprising result considering where Swagger was before his hiatus. Also another pay-per-view loss followed by another desperate stare continues to feed speculation that Randy Orton may turn heel in the very near future. This match was the match of the night for me.

Next up was the incredibly impressive tandem of The Shield taking on the dream team of John Cena, Ryback and Ireland’s own Sheamus. A match most people expected to be turned into an Elimination Chamber contest proved it didn’t need the stipulation as both teams exchanged physical and exhilarating back and forth action. Sheamus took what must have been the most painful move of the night as he was speared through the barrier. Towards the end of the contest Cena and Ryback had Ambrose and Rollins up to deliver their respective finishers however Reigns speared Ryback and a quick pin resulted in one hell of an upset. All three members of this unique faction are in my opinion big-time future stars for this company especially the devious and demented Dean Ambrose. Picking up this big win shows that creative feels the same way as myself and also that they have learned from their mistakes when booking the Nexus.

Jumping from fourth gear back down to first we had the Diva’s Championship match. Watching the highlights of future Hall of Famer Trish Stratus have only magnified my disappointment with the state of women’s wrestling at the moment. If my father learned that I was complaining about boredom during a tussle between two half naked women he would surely disown me but I digress.

The main event featured the self proclaimed best in the world CM Punk going one-on-one with the great one, the People’s Champion The Rock. Building on the match from the Royal Rumble and adding the stipulation that if The Rock was disqualified he would lose his title, these two had a match which in its style and tone took me back to the attitude era. CM Punk tried everything from a Rock Bottom on the table to spitting into Rock’s Hollywood smile to get the job done. Punk even hit the Go To Sleep and had The Rock down for what must have been a 10 count but unfortunately for us Punk fans the ref was incapacitated outside the ring. Eventually the People’s Elbow was hit, the three count was made and the Wrestlemania main event was set. It was going to be a rematch from last year’s epic encounter, it went from once-in-a-lifetime to twice in 12 months, John Cena versus The Rock.

Or so we thought! The following night on Raw CM Punk and Cena engaged in another one of their heated verbal showdowns and the result was that next week on Raw CM Punk will challenge John Cena for his Wrestlemania title opportunity. A dramatic way to open the show and what I assume would be the biggest announcement of the night, but it wasn’t by a long shot.

Some of the less noteworthy events of Raw included the escalation of Kane and Daniel Bryan’s problems, the return of R-truth and The Shield continuing their winning streak. Dolph Ziggler had my heart in my mouth once again as he almost cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase. WWE are being bigger teasers than the girl who isn’t ready to go “all the way” just yet.

The night ended with The Rock’s championship celebration. I thought it was quite odd that they would have a championship celebration nearly a month after he won the title. However when he reached the ring it was clear to anyone who can recognise the shape of a championship belt that the Rock was about debut a new title and we were finally going to be rid of the “spinner” belt. I have to admit I wasn’t taken by the new title immediately. I’m going to wait until I see a few different superstars hold it before casting judgement on whether or not it’s appropriate. Of course the designer of the previous belt, John Cena, came out with the intention of confronting the Rock. Then every hipster’s favourite wrestler CM Punk attacked Cena from behind with the old belt before discarding it with a look of disdain. The show ended with CM Punk and the Rock staring each other down once again.

These 24 hours, with the exception of wrestlemania and its subsequent Raw, are consistently the most entertaining and newsworthy in a calendar year for the WWE. They are the first 2 chocolates on the wrestlemania Advent calendar. The gran-daddy of them all is beginning to take shape and with the returns of Brock Lesnar, triple H and the undertaker expected in the coming weeks WWE are about to put the Pedal to the Metal on the Road to wrestlemania!

PPV rating: 7/10

Match of the PPV: The Elimination Chamber

Moment of the PPV: The Shield beating the dream team

Our Wrestlemania coverage is brought to you in association with our friends at WWE Parties Ireland. Stay tuned to our Twitter page to be in with a chance of winning tickets to their Wrestlemania party. 

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