WWE Elimination Chamber 2011 Review

The Road to WrestleMania 27 has one pay-per-view stop between the Royal Rumble and the Granddaddy of them all. At WWE Elimination Chamber, both world titles are on the line and the final WrestleMania title shot would be decided. WrestleMania dreams would be fulfilled for some and shattered for others. So who’s going to the biggest stage in wrestling and how did they look getting there? Find out after the jump.

Alberto del Rio defeats Kofi Kingston
Del Rio cut a pre-match promo but was easily topped by his personal ring announce Ricardo Rodriguez. I didn’t understand Rodriguez because he only speaks Spanish but he did take a pot shot at the Oakland Raiders. Despite his valet upsetting the crowd, del Rio was surprisingly over with the crowd. The match seemed to be mostly a showcase for del Rio in the run up to WrestleMania but Kingston get in a good shot or two. Del Rio won with his armbar submission. That’s all well and good in a non-title match but I have to wonder how he would be booked to win a title against a face champion. Anyway, this didn’t quite have the energy I expected from an opening but it was a fun little match.
Rating: 6.5/10

World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match – Edge defeats Rey Mysterio, Kane, Drew McIntyre, Big Show and Wade Barrett
This was the sort of match that gave everyone a little showcase. When a wrestler came out of their elimination chamber pod, they get a couple of minutes to dominate the match and throw some big impact moves. As a result, the big star of this match might have been McIntyre. He came out of his chamber pod on fire by throwing Mysterio like a javelin into a pod and Barrett through the lexan side of a pod. Mind you, just about everyone got a big shot in on Mysterio, including Kane torpedoing Rey into a pod. Kane also had a unique spot with Edge where they took each other out with simultaneous big boots in a play on the old simultaneous clotheslines. The match ended as it started with Edge and Mysterio in the ring. At the end, they powered and countered out of every move the other could muster. The finish came when Mysterio tried for a top rope leg drop on Edge but got hit by a massive spear for the win. After the match, Alberto Del Rio jumped Edge to soften him up but Christian made the save. Triple threat coming at WrestleMania, perhaps? As for the match, I don’t think anyone really came out of this looking weak save for Barrett and Big Show who never really got as big a spotlight as the other four.
Rating: 8/10

WWE Tag Team Title Match – The Corre (Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel) defeats Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov
This was a short tag match that was used as filler and a bathroom/concessions break for the folks at the arena. Marella and Kozlov have this odd dynamic of comic relief and serious wrestler. It probably would have come across better if the match had been 10 minutes long instead of just five. Instead, this felt like a rushed TV match. The Corre won with a Gabriel 450 Splash. At least that was interesting.
Rating: 5/10

WWE Title Match – The Miz defeats Jerry “The King” Lawler
Well, I don’t think the outcome of this match was ever in doubt. However, Lawler wasn’t as outclassed as I thought he might be at his age. The King still wrestles for Memphis Wrestling so he didn’t have any ring rust to work out. Sure, he wasn’t as fast or as crisp with his offense as The Miz. Lawler did look like he belonged thanks to offense that was a touch on the stiff side which looked good against Miz’s lighter WWE-style offense. But you have to give Miz credit for doing a believable job of selling. It might have been a bit over the top at times but you need both good offense and good selling to make a good match. Lawler got a lot of near falls thanks to roll-ups and counters and you always thought he might shock his way to a win. The Miz won with his Skull Crushing Finale but it was Lawler that left to a well-deserved standing ovation. Considering I expected to rate this match 4/10 at best, this was a very good match. It wasn’t too much better than I’d expect as a Raw main event but it was at least as good as Del Rio/Kingston.
Rating: 6.5/10

#1 Contender Elimination Chamber Match – John Cena defeats CM Punk, John Morrison, Sheamus, Randy Orton and R-Truth
Like SmackDown’s Elimination Chamber match, this one tried to showcase everyone. The odd man out was R-Truth who got more time dancing to the ring than in the match. Morrison was the designated whipping boy in this match. He was put through lexan pods by Orton twice and ran through one after missing a running knee on Cena. He did get some time in the spotlight with some moves off the side of the chamber and a splash on Sheamus hanging from the top of the cage. Punk got a unique spot early in the match. He got stuck in the door of his pod which allowed Orton to capitalize and eliminate Punk only for the anonymous Raw GM to reinstate him into the match. The finish came when Cena threw Punk on to the metal floor of the chamber with the Attitude Adjustment. And despite Cena winning, I think Punk and Morrison looked far stronger coming out of this match than Cena. The difference between Cena and the other two is that Cena is over with the crowd. Whether you love him or hate him, he generates a strong reaction. That’s why he gets the title shot at WrestleMania.
Rating: 8.5/10

When I average out the ratings from the show’s five matches, I get a 7 out of 10. I think that’s a pretty accurate rating. There weren’t any bad matches but there were some fairly ordinary matches on the card. Perhaps one of the more interesting parts of the night was the commentary team of Michael Cole, Josh Matthews and Booker T. None of the three had a solidly defined role such as one a definite heel for example. They were allowed to act like people rather than characters with Matthews mostly face, Cole mostly heel and Booker playing the role of the guy you’re watching the show with. That was a pretty fun dynamic but the WWE is still lacking a play-by-play man that elevates what’s happening in the ring.

Final Rating: 7/10

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