Oracle Arena – Oakland, CA – Sunday, February 20, 2011
Michael Cole, Josh Mathews, and Booker T are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio
Kingston’s Intercontinental Championship is not on the line here, since Del Rio won the Royal Rumble and is already challenging for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXVII. The Intercontinental Champion fired up from the get-go, taking the first advantage with his high-flying skills. Booker T is being especially hard on Kingston on commentary. Del Rio dumps Kingston to the apron and then shoves him into the ring post. The Mexican aristocrat takes control now, focusing on Kingston’s ribs. Del Rio whips Kingston into the corner but Kingston runs up the ropes and hits a turnaround flying forearm. Kingston is firing back up now, unloading with a series of strikes leading to the Boom Drop. He tries Trouble in Paradise, but Del Rio avoids it. Kingston lands a kick in the corner, and then he goes up to the top rope for a cross body block, but Del Rio gets his knees up for a two-count. Del Rio puts Kingston on the top rope, but Kingston knocks him back down to the mat and hits a missile dropkick for a near-fall. Before Kingston can follow up Del Rio cuts him off with a knee to the gut and then a big gutbuster for two. Kingston comes back with a huge DDT, but Ricardo Rodriguez distracts the referee, allowing Del Rio to kick out. Even with the distraction, Kingston hits the SOS but again only gets two. Kingston misses a charge in the corner and Del Rio hits a big neckbreaker. Del Rio then locks in the Cross Armbreaker and Kingston taps out at 10:28. Both guys had a lot of energy in this one; Del Rio looks good going into WrestleMania and for the life of me I can’t figure out how they haven’t made Kofi Kingston into a bigger deal by now.
MATCH #2: World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match – Edge vs. Big Show vs. Kane vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Wade Barrett
Edge has been the Champion since 2.18.11, and this is his first defense. In qualifying matches, McIntyre beat Kofi Kingston, Mysterio beat Jack Swagger, Kane beat Chavo Guerrero, and Barrett beat the Big Show. Teddy Long announces that since Dolph Ziggler has been fired, he will be replaced by the man who lost to Barrett, the Big Show. Edge has been in the Chamber three times (with one win), Show twice, Kane three times, Mysterio twice, and both McIntyre and Barrett are making their debuts. Mysterio and Edge got the unlucky draws and start the match.
The two most popular men in the match go back and forth, neither man gaining an advantage. Edge drops Mysterio onto the chamber floor, but Mysterio quickly comes back with a hurricanrana off the top rope. The Rated-R Superstar quickly fights back and uses the chamber to his advantage. Five minutes goes by and Barrett is the third man in the match. The pace continues to be rapid, with offense coming from all three men. Barrett uses his power to hurl Mysterio and Edge around the chamber. He tries to hit Mysterio with Waste Land on the steel but Mysterio climbs onto the wall and deliver a rana back into the ring. Mysterio goes for the 619 but Edge cuts him off with a big boot. Next out is the Big Red Monster Kane. The fresh Kane throws all three opponents around as McIntyre and Show watch on. Everyone comes back and starts kicking Kane in the head. That’s a good strategy. All four competitors are starting to look worn down as McIntyre makes his way into the match. The angry Scotsman immediately launches Mysterio into a pod, and then turns his attention to Kane. McIntyre works with Barrett briefly on Kane, but then turns on him and launches him into one of the pods, destroying the glass. Now McIntyre goes after the Champ, trying the Future Shock DDT but Edge reverses it to the Impaler. Edge sets up for a Spear, but Kane catches him by the throat. This leads to a series of reversals and counters which Kane wins by hurling Mysterio into another pod. McIntyre goes for the Future Shock but Kane backdrops him right onto Barrett. Finally Show makes his way into the ring to round out the field without any eliminations thus far. Show cleans house and makes his intentions to hurt Barrett well known. He hurls Barrett into a pod and unloads on him with chops. Back in the ring Show hits the WMD and Barrett is the first man gone at 18:49. Kane drills Show with a clothesline off the top rope and Edge follows with a Macho Elbow for two. McIntyre hits the Future Shock and Show kicks out. Mysterio has climbed to the top of a pod and he hits a seated senton but Show kicks out again! Kane boots Show in the face, Mysterio hits a 619, and Edge hits a Spear. Then Kane takes both Edge and Mysterio down and flattens Show with a Chokeslam to eliminate him at 20:53. McIntyre then jumps right into another Chokeslam and Kane eliminates him at 21:08. Edge and Mysterio try to work together on Kane. Mysterio Drops the Dime but only gets two. He follows with the 619 and tries a seated senton but Kane catches him. Edge comes from out of nowhere with a Spear to eliminate Kane at 22:50.
Before leaving the chamber, Kane hits both Edge and Mysterio with Chokeslams. We’re down to two men, and it’s the two men who started the match. They recover and Edge tries a Spear but Mysterio avoids it and almost pins the Champion with a schoolboy rollup. They continue countering each other and Mysterio hits a bulldog for two. Mysterio goes up top for a seated senton but Edge catches him in a sit-out powerbomb for a near-fall. Edge goes for another powerbomb but Mysterio reverses to a rana. Mysterio tries the 619 but Edge catches him and locks on the Edgecution, which Mysterio counters to a cradle for two. This is awesome. Edge signals for a Spear and Mysterio avoids the first one but can’t avoid the second one. Amazingly Mysterio kicks out at two! Back on their feet Mysterio dropkicks Edge into position to hit the 619. Mysterio follows up with a springboard splash for a two-count! He hits another 619 and goes to the top rope but Edge Spears him out of the air to finally get the pin at 31:28! That may be the best Elimination Chamber match ever. It was great leading up to the final two, and then Edge and Mysterio absolutely killed it with amazing performances. Did this get much talk in the Match of the Year discussion? It should have.
Alberto Del Rio comes running out to attack Edge, the man he will face for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. He locks on the Cross Armbreaker and Christian makes his return from injury to save his former tag team partner and gets revenge on the man who took him out. Edge hits Del Rio with a Spear for good measure.
Booker T gets in the ring to introduce Trish Stratus, who will be one of the trainers along with Booker and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin on the upcoming return of Tough Enough. Trish says she has a new catch phrase, but it’s just an imitation of The Rock. She then says she wants to see Jerry Lawler win the WWE Championship tonight. What a waste of perfectly good pay-per-view time.
MATCH #3: WWE Tag Team Championship Match – Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov vs. The Corre (Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater)
Santino and Kozlov have been the Champions since 12.6.10, and this is their fifth defense. They’re accompanied by Tamina. The challengers are accompanied by Ezekiel Jackson. Slater and Kozlov start it off. Santino quickly tags in and Slater takes him to the mat. Slater takes control and tags Gabriel, who continues the attack. Santino fights back and tags Kozlov, who throws Gabriel around. Kozlov delivers the Battering Ram and Gabriel rolls to the floor. Back on the apron Gabriel kicks Kozlov in the head and makes the tag. This is quite the international incident, with an American, South African, Italian, and Russian in the match, with a girl from Fiji and a guy from Guyana on the floor. Slater tries to keep Kozlov on the mat, but he can’t do it and Santino tags back in. Santino is a house afire, handling both members of the Corre. He hits Gabriel with the Cobra, but Slater is legal, so he covers him for two. Slater takes Santino down and makes the tag. Santino avoids a slingshot splash and tags his partner. Kozlov is all over Gabriel, throwing him around. Slater makes a blind tag and hits Kozlov with the inverted DDT. Gabriel follows with the 450 Splash and the Corre win the titles at 5:09. That was fine but much more suited to Raw than pay-per-view. Booker T won’t get over Ezekiel Jackson being out there, which is annoying. Even Mathews is trying to reason with him but to no avail.
Vickie Guerrero comes out to beg for Dolph Ziggler’s job back. She apologizes profusely for a while and then Teddy Long comes out to have a chat with her. Instead of hiring Ziggler back, Teddy has rehired Kelly Kelly. I don’t really remember the circumstances of this angle. Kelly chases Vickie around the ring and finally catches up to her in the middle of the ring. She beats on Vickie until Michelle McCool and Layla come out to the rescue. Trish Stratus then returns to save Kelly, but Lay-Cool is up for a fight. She hits Michelle with the Chick Kick, and then badly blows Stratusphere on Layla. Fortunately, Trish recovers and hit both of them with the Stratusfaction at the same time.
MATCH #4: WWE Championship Match – The Miz vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler
Miz has been the Champion since 11.22.10, and this is his fifth defense. Many scoffed at Lawler getting such a high-profile match at this point in his career, but I think they did a solid job building up this feud and Lawler is as over as just about anyone. Miz is accompanied by his apprentice Alex Riley. Lawler gets a couple of quick pinning moves but can’t put Miz away. He lands a big clothesline for another two-count. Moments later another clothesline sends Miz to the floor. Riley distracts Lawler, allowing Miz to push him into the steel ring post. Now the champion is in control, working Lawler over with the help of Riley from the floor. They battle up on the top rope and Lawler hits the world’s most awkward looking superplex for a two-count. Just as Lawler starts building momentum, Riley interferes again. This time he gets caught though and the referee sends him to the back. Lawler goes for the Piledriver but Miz blocks it and boots Lawler in the face. Miz covers but Lawler rolls him over and almost gets a three-count. Lawler low bridges the top rope and Miz crashes to the floor. Cole tries to distract Lawler on commentary to no avail, and Lawler hurls Miz into the table, wiping out the world’s most obnoxious announcer. Back in the ring Lawler hits a punch off the top rope for another near-fall. A series of reversals ends with Lawler hitting a DDT. Lawler goes up to the second rope for the big fist drop and Miz luckily gets his foot on the bottom rope. Miz blocks another piledriver attempt and kicks Lawler right in the back of the head. Second later Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale to put Lawler away at 12:08. For Lawler’s limitations at this point they did a great job laying the match out and the crowd was with them.
MATCH #5: Number One Contender Elimination Chamber Match – John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. John Morrison vs. R-Truth vs. CM Punk vs. King Sheamus
Cena has been in the Chamber three times (with two wins), Orton has been in it three times, Morrison once before, Truth once, Punk twice, and Sheamus once. Morrison and Sheamus get to start the match. They had an awesome series of matches in late 2010, so they’re a good choice to start, as they pick up right where they left off. Morrison flies all over the Chamber while Sheamus tries to ground him with his impressive power. Orton is the first man out of a pod, and he unloads on both Sheamus and Morrison. He grabs Sheamus and hits the Orton DDT onto the Chamber floor, which is a great spot. The Viper continues the offense, hitting a superplex on Morrison before turning his attention back to Sheamus. Punk is next out of the pod, but they’re having trouble opening it for him. Orton is frothing at the mouth to get at his rival, so he just doesn’t wait, slugging away at Punk while he’s stuck in the pod. Unfortunately for Punk, Orton hits him with the RKO to eliminate him at 9:00. The anonymous Raw General Manager pipes in though and notes that since Punk couldn’t get out of his pod, that elimination doesn’t count so he’s back in the match. In fact, he’s back in his pod and the door is locked and everything. Sheamus, Orton, and Morrison are still full of energy though, tearing into each other. Net out is Cena, to mostly boos from the crowd. Sheamus goes right after the man he’s twice won the WWE Championship from. The pace all four men are keeping up is impressive. R-Truth comes out of the pod next and Sheamus tries to immediately attack him as well, but Truth is ready for him. Unfortunately for Truth, after an early onslaught Sheamus catches him with the Brogue Kick for the real first elimination at 17:30. The action continues coming from every angle, as Cena tries an Attitude Adjustment on Orton on the floor, but Orton reverses it to the RKO. Sheamus hits Orton with the Brogue Kick and Punk finally comes out of his pod. Punk tries to cover Orton on the chamber floor, so I guess that’s allowed now. Back in the ring Punk hits Orton with the Go 2 Sleep and Orton is gone at 21:32! That’s great booking right there. The fresh Punk attacks everyone now, but Sheamus catches him and throws him into a pod. Morrison and Sheamus fight up on top of a pod now and this looks dangerous. Sheamus goes for the High Cross but Morrison knocks him down and scales the chamber ceiling all the way to the top of the dome and takes Sheamus out with a flying forearm at 25:16. Cena goes after Punk now and picks up the pace. He goes for the Attitude Adjustment on the floor, but Morrison breaks it up and all three men crash and burn. Morrison goes for a running knee, but Cena moves and Morrison’s knee crashes into the pod. Amazingly Morrison makes his way back into the match, but Cena hits him with the Attitude Adjustment. Punk kicks Cena in the head and follows up with a springboard clothesline out on the floor. He catapults Cena into a pod and Cena looks out. Morrison jumps all over the chamber to hit Punk with a knee to the skull. He goes for Starship Pain, but Punk avoids it and hits Morrison with Go 2 Sleep to eliminate him at 32:49. Cena has recovered enough to grab Punk in the Attitude Adjustment to win the match at 33:09. That lacked the amazing finishing sequence of the earlier Chamber match, but the booking was great with Punk, Morrison looked amazing, the action was pretty much non-stop.
Top to bottom, this is a very good card, with two outstanding Chamber matches, an enjoyable opener, and a surprisingly good WWE Title match. The only bummer is the Tag Team Title match, but it only lasts five minutes so it’s no big deal.
Tags: CM Punk, Edge, Elimination Chamber, John Cena, WWE