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Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Elimination Chamber 2012

February 18, 2013 | Posted by Jack Bramma
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Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Elimination Chamber 2012  

• I have been a big fan of the chamber and its use since they introduced it all the way back at WWE Survivor Series 2002. While I don’t have a review of every chamber match or the DVD compilation, I have reviewed several of them.

WWE New Year’s Revolution 2005

WWE No Way Out 2008

WWE No Way Out 2009

WWE Elimination Chamber 2010

WWE Elimination Chamber 2011

Scheduled Card:
1. Elimination Chamber for the WWE Championship: Chris Jericho vs. The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth vs. Kofi Kingston vs. CM Punk (c).
2. WWE Divas Championship: Tamina vs. Beth Phoenix (c).
3. Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship: The Great Khali vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Santino Morella vs. Wade Barrett vs. Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan (c).
4. Ambulance Match: Kane vs. John Cena.

• Video package obviously plays up how this is the last most unpredictable stop on the Road to Wrestlemania. WELCOME TO THE BELLY OF THE BEAST! NO ONE KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN! CHAMPIONSHIPS AND LEGACIES WILL BE AT STAKE! Awesome stuff as usual.

Elimination Chamber for the WWE Championship: Chris Jericho vs. The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth vs. Kofi Kingston vs. CM Punk (c). Jericho is fresh off coming in second at the RR and only has eyes for Punk and the Best in the World moniker. Cole nicely puts over how Jericho has won a world title in a EC match before. Jericho won a six-pack challenge on RAW to get the last entrant slot. In case, you’re interested.

***Bonus Match: Six Pack Challenge Match: R-Truth vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Chris Jericho vs. The Miz vs. CM Punk.*** RAW 02/06/2012. Winner gets last entrance in the WWE championship EC match at EC. Fresh off declaring the entire roster Jericho-wannabes, Chris is jumped in the corner by everyone except Punk in a funny spot. That ends quickly as Punk sneaks a roll up on Miz that gets broken up. Punk hits a neckbreaker on Miz for a 1 count as Jericho licks his wounds on the floor and Kofi/Truth/Ziggler trade shots in another corner. Punk hits a few kicks on Miz as Jericho sneaks in only to get jumped again and thrown out. Miz and Punk continue their pairing as Punk shitcans himself out whiffing on a step up knee. Truth tosses out Miz and goes for the flip splash but Miz DROPS HIM AND TRUTH HITS THE MAT HEAD-FIRST! Truth is legit concussed and OUT. Dolph slingshots Kofi up to the top rope but Kofi jumps to the floor with a splash on everyone. Dolph gathers up some speed but stops short of a plancha and struts to show he outsmarted the smart. HAHA! WOO! We take a break and we’re back to Punk hitting a hanging vertical suplex on Ziggy but Kofi breaking up the cover. Miz shitcans Kofi out and now it’s just Miz and Jericho together in the ring. Miz goes for a cover but Jericho kicks out. Ziggler joins Miz so they can pound on Jericho together. The crowd tepidly chants for Punk as he flies in with a double clothesline. He covers but Jericho breaks it up and then slinks out to the floor. No commentary since the commercial break I might add.

• We take another break and are back to Truth being helped out because of Miz’s botch that we get about five replays of. Ziggler and Miz are doubleoteaming Punk in the corner. Punk comes back with clotheslines for both as Kofi and Jericho are selling. Punk hits a combo DDT/neckbreaker for 2 on both. He tries the Anaconda Vince on Miz but Ziggler breaks it up. Punk armdrags him over and tries the same hold but Kofi breaks that up as Punk can’t get free. Punk hoists him up for the GTS but Kofi counters so Punk just FU’s him to the floor. Now, it’s Punk-Jericho one-on-one time. Miz and Ziggler sneak both to break it up before we can find out who is the best in the world at calling themselves the best in the world. Jericho apparently was supposed to clothesline Miz but ghosted him so Miz bumps anyway and then no sells his own bump for the double clothesline spot. Ziggler heads up top but Punk cuts him off with chops. He goes for a superplex but Miz and Jericho join them for a Tower of Doom. Stereo covers both get 2 ½ for Miz and Jericho. Miz and Jericho slug it out and Miz goes for SCF but Kofi hits the Trouble in Paradise and Miz sells it to the floor. Jericho hits a missile dropkick on Kofi for 2. Kofi pops up for a crossbody but only gets 2. Kofi follows up with the Steamboat chops and rolls up Jericho for 1, 2, only 2. Jericho goes for the Lionsault but comes up dry. Kofi goes for Trouble in Paradise but Jericho rolls him into the WoJ. Punk breaks it up with a running knee strike and shitcans Jericho out. Ziggler rolls up Punk for 2. Punk catches Ziggler in the G2S. 1, 2, Jericho pulls Punk to the floor and buries him under the announce table. Jericho covers Ziggler for 1, 2, 3 with the feet on the ropes at 11:38. The first few minutes were awkwardly demarcated like a WW1 map of alliances and axises with guys arbitrarily positioned on opposite sides of the ring and just staying there. After Truth went out, it was touch ‘n go until everyone got back on the same page for the typically furious series of false finishes. **3/4. Now, back to the PPV.

• Cole, Book, and King put over Ziggler’s performance in the debate on the go-home show. Yes, that’s right, a debate.

• Kofi and Punk to start. Cole: “If you’re Punk, what’s your strategy here?” King: “Well, I don’t think you have a strategy.” Thanks for that. Not done yet, the commentary gets worse. Book: “All week on Twitter, ya know, people been asking me, ‘Book, who you gonna pick? Gimme your estimate, who you gonna call?’ In this match here, the chips will fall where they may.” Cole: “Prediction, King.” King: “Well, I… uh.. don’t know… HA HA! Lemme get into this thing just a little bit.” Terrific, the announcers are afraid to pick a favorite or even make ANY prediction to spice things up. After some reversals, Kofi leapfrogs the top rope to the grating in a cool spot. Cole brings up the tag champ history between Kofi and Punk as Punk goes to the legs. Kofi sunset flips for 2 and now they trade pinning reversals for several twos. Punk wants G2S but Kofi slides out and leap frogs into a back elbow for 2. Kofi goes for the Boom Drop but Punk kicks him to counter. Book: “YOU DON’T NEED THE BOOM DROP IN A MATCH LIKE THIS! KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE, SON!” Punk goes for a suplex on the grating but Kofi lands on him feet and then drops Punk down with a back suplex. Kofi tries a slingshot but Punk counters to one of his own and sends Kofi into Jericho’s chamber. Punk follows up witih a snap suplex on the grating as the crowd gets a CM Punk chant going. Punk with another slam for 2 as the first segment is up and Ziggler is out at 5:00.

• Ziggler jumps Punk and rakes the face across the cage and fireman’s carries him over. Ziggler climbs up the cage. Uh oh, what’s he got in mind?! Ziggler goes for the… hanging leg raises? King: “Are you kidding me?” Book: “GOTTA KEEP THE ABS TIGHTS, MAN!”

• Ziggler stops his workout to legdrop Punk on the way down. Ziggler rolls Punk in the ring and covers for 2 as pinfalls don’t count on the grating. Dolph eyes Kofi with a Stinger Splash and gives him two handfuls of SOUL GLO! WOOOOOOO! Dolph goes for another Soul Glo Splash but Punk moves and he eats turnbuckle. Kofi and Punk now doubleteam Ziggy for some payback. Book: “You can fall one time and you can be taken out in an ambulance, taking you out to a hospital, that’s what this structure is all about.” Cole: “Hey, Book, that’s later on tonight, the ambulance match-up, Cena and Kane. Right now we’re talking about the Elimination Chamber.” Book: “Well, uh… maybe just on an.. uh stretcher.” Cole: “… OK, Great.” Punk with a Bluechipper dropkick and Kofi and Punk cue up stereo springboard splashes but Ziggler ducks and they collide. Triple KO spot. 9:00 and Truth is up to bat.

• Truth hiptosses Dolph over the top and out to the grating. Truth slingshots out with a splash. King: “Not smart, not smart at all. I think Lil Jimmy told him to do that.” Back in, Truth hits the Ax kick for 2 and Book nicely mentions that he used to it. Truth uses the ropes to flip himself up to the top rope but Punk runs in with the step up knee and hits a superplex. HERE’STHECOVER for 1, 2, 2 ½. Kofi goes for Trouble in Paradise but Punk ducks and shitcans him out. Punk hits the Macho elbow and Truth is sent packing at 11:44.

• Dolph sneaks Punk with a school boy but Punk rolls into his own. 1, 2, Kofi breaks it up with Trouble in Paradise in a cool spot. Dolph and Kofi jockey for position until Kofi shitcans him out and covers Punk for 1, 2, 2 ½. Kofi springobards into the Spiderman spot and then DDTs Dolph into the grating but takes a bad bump himself. At 13:20, Miz is next.

• Miz hits the corner clothesline on Punk and slams him into the ringpost. Kofi eats lexane glass as well and Miz goes to the BLATANTCHOKE. Cole smartly points out that this fury isn’t enough and that Miz needs to start trying to eliminate people. Miz slams Kofi down on the grating to further put him out of commission. Dolph with a head of steam but also gets flapjacked out to the grating and he sells it like the floor is lined with 50,000 volts. Back in, Miz covers for another nearfall. Miz rams Kofi into the ringpost and puts him up top. Out of anger, Miz shoves him off and Kofi eats it to the grating. Miz hits a few pathetic cltoheslines on Punk in the corner. Punk goes for the GTS but Miz slides out for the SCF. Punk slides under for a roll up for 1, 2, 2 ½. Miz comes back with the basement DDT for 2. Book: “YOU CAN’T COVER THE CHAMP LIKE THAT AND EXPECT TO WIN!” Miz goes to a resthold on Punk but Punk takes over with a back suplex. Miz gets the boot up in the corner, but runs out into a powerslam for 1, 2, 2.7. Punk floats over into the Anaconda Vice. Time’s up and Jericho’s the last entrant at 17:40.

• Punk releases the hold to go face to face with Jericho and they slug it out. Jericho clotheslines him in the corner and hits a basement dropkick for 1, 2, 2 ½. Jericho catches a roundhouse and tries to roll Punk into the WoJ but Punk sweeps his way free. Jericho hits a bulldog and the Lionsault for 1, 2, 2.9. Ziggler sneaks Jericho with a school boy for 2. Jericho hits the desperation Codebreaker and Dolph is out at 19:19.

• Jericho gets an inflated sense of self-worth and starts smacking around Kofi and Punk. Punk takes umbrage and slingshots him out to the grating. Punk smashes Jericho’s head into one of the chambers several times. Jericho fights back with the BLATANTTHUMBTOTHEEYE and then barricades himself in one of the pods. Awesome. Cole: “It’s called a breather, buying yourself some time.” Punk gets the door open and hits some MT knees. Jericho takes over and traps Punk’s arm in the door and smashes him a few times. Slick. Jericho eyes Kofi but Kofi hits the Ranhei on the grating and Kofi again takes the brunt of the impact. Jericho tries sliding in the ring to get clear of Kofi but Miz rolls him up for 1, 2, 2 ½. Miz goes to work on Kofi pounding him down in the corner and hitting some MT knees of his own. Kofi hits the corner enzuigiri to avoid a charge. Miz preps a superplex but Punk joins the party and WildBombs Miz for 1, 2, 2.99. Kofi, meanwhile, climbs up the pod and flies off with a HUGE crossbody on both. He covers Miz for 1, 2, 2.9999. Jericho rolls Kofi into the Liontamer and Kofi’s out at 25:34.

• Rather than release the hold, Jericho continues bending Kofi into a pretzel like a boss and then shitcans him out. The refs open the door for Jericho, like a gentleman, to help Kofi to the floor. Punk blindsides Jericho with an enzuigiri and Jericho falls out of the whole structure bumping into a camera man. The refs conduct some field doctoring that would make a Civil War medic proud and declare Jericho incapacitated. This goes on for a few minutes to try and make it believable. Now, it’s just Punk and Miz left as Miz goes for his neckbreaker combo but Punk counters with the same enzuigiri. 1, 2, 2.99. Punk hits the step up knee in the corner again and the bulldog follow-up for another nearfall. Punk springboards in but lands in a SKULL CRUSHING FINALE! 1, 2, KICKOUT! Awesome spot there. Miz pummels Punk out of frustration and then facewashes him but the crowd is kinda dead since the Jericho worked shoot kicked in. Punk avoids a charge and Miz launches himself into the corner pod. Punk hits the G2S and it’s over that simple at 32:37.

• The WWE tried way too hard to book themselves out of gimmick corners at the beginning of the year to keep Jericho fresh as a challenger but still not have him, ya know, win anything. But it’s their own fault – they have built up the EC match as their balls-to-the-wall answer to WarGames, a violent spectacle where the booking makes the match, a match that has clean finishes and clear winners and title changes. This, on the other hand, is a midcard logjam and the only clear cut main eventers, Punk and Jericho, don’t have a fall between the two. As a match, it’s fine, good even, but standard issue – no memorable spots or exchanges other than Jericho trying to hide from Punk and that wouldn’t fully be fleshed out until the weeks and months to come. ***1/2

• Meanwhile, after Punk’s celebration and a recap, Cole plays some footage of DB attacking Showster and Orton from behind with the World HW belt and giving Orton a concussion thus taking him out of the other EC match. Instead, there was a battle royal on Smackdown to determine the last participant. In fact, let’s include that match.

***Bonus Match: Battle Royal to determine the last entrant in the World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber.*** Smackdown 02/17/2012. The entire jobber roster is in this thing. We start with everyone in the ring except Ace’s hand-picked favorite, David Otunga, who gets his own entrance. Lots of punching and rope hugging. Bateman from NXT is first one out. Camacho hangs on. Zeke and Tyler Reks slug it out. Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater battle as Nexus implodes. Percy Watson hits the showers next. Primo is dumped but lands on the apron, but Titus O’Neill is not so lucky. Jey Uso is out as Booker spotlights Drew McIntyre who he prognosticates will have a GREAT 2012, SUCKA! Santino and Otunga battle in the corner with neither getting an advantage. Drew press slams out Tyson Kidd. Zeke works over Heath Slater on the apron and Slater’s out after a kick from Jinder Mahal. DY tries to toss out Ted Dibiase but they bother skin the cat until Ted boots DY off the ropes. Nice. Hunico dumps out Yoshi. Hunico and Santino hook it up as Ted dropkicks Camacho to the floor. McGillicutty is tossed out by Gabriel. We take a break and are back to Otunga and Alex Riley tossing each other into turnbuckles. Santino fires up on Tyler Reks and Primo chops Ted Dibiase. Curt Hawkins gets caught by Gabriel and thrown out. Alex Riley is thrown out by Primo and Epico together. We’re down to a manageable 15 guys or so in the ring. Primo and Epico hang Tyler Reks out to dry and then dump he and Johnny Curtis out. The other Uso is tossed out. BUT WAIT! PRIMO DUMPS OUT EPICO! So much for brotherly love. Otunga continues to work on Santino but he’s still in there. Hunico reverse ranas Ted Dibiase out in a cool spot. Teddy’s pissed and pulls Hunico to the floor and LARIATOS him down. Primo tosses Gabriel but he hangs on. They redo it it the other way around and then again the other way. One more time with the reversal before Primo springboards in only to get back on the apron and then pull Gabriel back out there. Awesome stuff here. Gabriel hits a gamengiri and Primo’s out. Zeke tosses out Gabriel before he can celebrate. Zeke tosses out Jinder as well.

Final Four: Zeke, Santino, Otunga, and Drew McIntyre.Santino immediately pulls out the Cobra but Drew and Otunga jump him promptly to boos. Zeke jumps them in kind with the CLUBBINGBLOWS. Zeke with a terrible charge so Drew boots him down and another BOOT OF FEAR for Otunga. Santino rolls behind Drew and tosses him out to a pop. Otunga grabs Santino but Santino lands on the apron. Zeke goes for the powerslam but Santino lowers the bridge and Zeke is out. THE UNIVERSE IS ON ITS FEET FOR SANTINO! Otunga clubs him down. Book: “You gotta be kidding me, David Otunga actually having a chance to pull this thing off?” The crowd chants for Santino as he Cobras up and hits the fists of fury. Santino hiptosses him and goes for the Cobra Drop but comes up dry. Otunga poses. Book: “THIS IS NOT A POSEDOWN! THIS IS NOT THE OLYMPIA, KID!” Otunga goes for the shitcan but Santino counters and tosses him out to win it at 12:15. Cool moment and crowd pop for Santino but other than a few minor interesting moments – Primo and Epico working together, Justin Gabriel and Primo countering several times – there’s nothing to see here. **

• Back on Elimination Chamber, we have some Rocky promos of Santino drinking raw eggs.

WWE Divas Championship: Tamina vs. Beth Phoenix (c). Beth is wearing some plaid in her gear to pay homage to Piper who last laid a coconut and bad loss to a Snuka. Beth gives Tamina a sporting chance to Tamina and tells her to get out of the ring. Beth: “WHAT’S A MATTER, COCONUT-HEAD?! CAN YOU NOT HEAR ME?!” Tamina no sells a nickname and smacks Beth around and chops her down for 2. After Cole had been putting over how much tape Phoenix watched to get ready for the match, Beth tries a headbutt to complete negate all of that. Tamina no sells and headbutts her back down. Tamina heads up top but Beth knocks her off the apron and Beth wants her to get medical attention. Beth comes back by going into full mount and smacking her around. Beth awesomely mocks the SUPERFLY taunt as the count gets to 8 but Tamina rolls her. Beth drops some elbows to the back for a 2 count. Beth hits the chinlock early and then pounds her down. Now, Dragonsleeper as they chat about some spots. This goes on for a while as Beth tells some invisible boo-birds to SHADDUP. She talks Tamina through her comeback as Tamina elbows free and hits a Samoan drop. She heads up for the Superfly splash but Beth cuts her off with a superplex. Tamina sells the lower back a bit. They slug it out and Tamina hits the Snuka chops and a splash in the corner. Superkick and Tamina heads up again for the splash. She hits it for 1, 2, 2.9999. Welp, she’s losing. Tamina tries to regroup but Beth rolls to the floor. Back in, Beth throws her into the turnbuckle and hits the Glam Slam to retain at 7:22. Good enough with the hero face getting her one shining moment only to lose to a superior heel. **1/4

• Back to Santino punching some deli meat to get pumped.

• Meanwhile, Johnny Ace and Otunga are out next to make an important announcement. Ace pitches his campaign to be GM of both RAW and Smackdown. Alberto Del Rio interrupts to endorse him and call Teddy Long a piece of trash. Mark Henry follows out to talk about what a bully Teddy is. Christian is last and he too is in Camp anti-Teddy. This would be quite the stable and did produce quite the epic photo tweet from Otunga.

• Including all the Be-A-Star vignettes, promos for Wrestlemania, and cheap plugs for Nickelback doing the PPV theme, we’re at TWENTY MINUTES since there was a match. Quite the star studded line up for this.

• Meanwhile, Santino is STILL aping Rocky by run some stairs. ENOUGH ALREADY!

• Josh Matthews is in the back with Showster. Matthews says that since Show sucks at Mania, is he worried about achieving victory tonight. Show admits that Josh is right but tonight, he’ll win the strap and move on to Mania and prove his immortality. The last several segments have been a double heaping of dogshit. Yes, the photo was awesome, but it’s a damn PPV.

Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship: The Great Khali vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Santino Morella vs. Wade Barrett vs. Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan (c). DB cashed in on Show at TLC immediately after Show pinned Mizark to win the WHW belt. Dragon would go on to rub it in Show’s face, use AJ as a bodyguard, and generally escape with the title by the skin of his teeth for a few months including an underwhelming triple threat cage match at RR. So, in the interest of justice and RAW Roulette wheels and Battlebowl lotteries everywhere, we get this. Khali is out first to complete and utter apathy as even Lillian botches trying to call him the “Punjabi Playboy” before giving up in disgust. Awesomely, Cole tries to cover by saying that “everyone is choked up over the chamber, tonight.” I don’t have the visceral hatred or disdain for Khali that others have, but considering the list of former and future world champs we just had in the ring that AREN’T ON THE CARD, it’s embarrassing that Khali is in this match. Cody is IC champ and Cole puts over how Cody wants to hold both belts at the same time. Cole also recounts Bryan’s victory laden reign and Lawler loving his SlamBurgers and being no fan of soy, declares that Cole is on the “vegan bandwagon.”

• Show and Wade to start. Show throws Barrett down and hits a few chops and shots to the gut. Wade tries to get something going and gets headbutted down as the crowd is bored already. Cole starts talking about Show’s WM record as Barrett clips the knee and Batista kicks him down a few times. Barrett covers for nothing so he sends Show into the cage a couple times. Barrett chokes away as now Lawler decides to rant about how upset Orton must be watching this at home from his Barcalounger. Barrett works the leg before Show overpowers him and suplexes Barrett back in. Show goes through the usual and shitcans Barrett out to the grating. FINALLY! The segment’s over as the clock counts down. ANYBODY BUT KHALI! ABK! ABK! ABK! IT’S CODY RHODES….to indifference at 5:00. But at least Cody can work.

• However, since he’s been talking trash about Show’s lackluster WM career, he tries keeping his distance. Cole hilariously says that Cody called Show the “anti-Undertaker.” Show no sells and shitcans Cody out. Cole compliments Cody’s strong performance in the RR of lasting over half an hour and eliminating six men and yeah, that’d be great, if it lead somewhere other than being just another rung on the endless midcard stairstepper. Show goes for a Ho Train but Cody avoids and Show eats cage. Sensing things might pick up, Show no sells to give Cody Snake Eyes into the cage. Wade slides out of a ChokeSlam and clips the knee again to chop Show down. Show boots his way out of a submission but falls prey to Total Elimination which Book calls “great tag team work.” Show shits on the Pit Bulls by kicking out at 1. Barrett turns on Cody and throws him out and into the cage a few times. Wade sends Cody into the pod a few times but Cody comes back by ramming him a few times. Santino is out at 10:30.

• He fires up for his go home on Wade and drops the headbutt. Show cuts him off and chops him to decent boos. Show hiptosses him across the ring. Cody chop blocks Show from behind. Showster: “AHHHHHHH! JESUS!” Cody pauses for a brief pop surprisingly. Show decides he’ll take over again with his assortment of chops and liver punches. The crowd chants for Santino as Cody and Wade both give Show a suplex on the grating. They try dragging Show back to the ring before imploding again so Cody can hit a moonsault off the top for 1, 2, only 2. Cody INSTANTLY wins the world by taunting Khali and then ramming Santino’s arm into the cage so he can stop Santino’s finisher. Cody: “STUPID-ASS COBRA!” [email protected]@@! Khali is next at 15:30.

• He clotheslines everyone and botches a big boot on Cody as the crowd tells him that he can’t wrestle. He hits a few choke tosses and a Brain chop on Santino. Show Spears him and Khali’s eliminated at 16:32.

• Show sets his sights on DB but will have to wait a few more minutes. Santino bails out into a chamber and tries to call a timeout. Show tries pulling DB out of his chamber from the top. Show fires up and punches his way through the chains. Show kicks the rest of the way through the roof to a pop and starts pummeling DB as he’s in the match at 19:10.

• Show chokes him for the remainder of the interval until Dragon escapes only to get thrown back through the pod plexiglass. The fans pop legitimately though it’s been seen a few times. Show pounds down DB from pillar to post to post to ropes back to post and shoulderblocks him into oblivious. Show hits the ChokeSlam WITH A1 SAUCE ON IT! According to Book. Before he can cover, Barrett cuts him off with the MT knees and yakuza kicks Show onto the grating. Santino school boys Barrett for a quick 2 count before getting dismissed back to the grating. BEAUTIFUL DISASTER ON SHOW! ANOTHER! DDT ON SHOW! Barrett with a big elbow off the top. Cody covers for 1, 2, 3 and Show’s sent packing at 22:38.

• Cody’s emphatic celebration is great but of course, a heel can’t look superior or be happy or else kids everywhere will be bullies and then get breast cancer from going to Harvard law school and wanting ice cream bars…. or something. ANYWAY. Santino school boys Cody for 1, 2, 3 and he’s out too at 23:05.

• The crowd takes great delight in that. Book: “GET YOUR HEELS TO CLICKIN’, SON!” But Cody’s all AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT and attacks Santino with the Crossroads to big jeers after his elimination. Barrett covers Santino for 1, 2, KICKOUT! Fans light up for that so Barrett throws out him to the grating and into the cage. The crowd starts a raucous SANTINOSANTINOSANTINO chant. Barrett ties up Santino in the cage and goes to work to boos. Back in, DB goes for the flip up and over but slips and yes, he is mortal and can botch. DB comes back by crucifixing Barrett for 1, 2, nearfall. DB wants the Yes Lock but Barrett counters so DB boots him into the turnbuckle. DB goes to work with the kicks. He mounts in the corner so Wade crotches him and hits the NIGEL-LINE off the top. Wade gathers up DB for the CAGE BOMB! Barrett now BLATANTLYCHOKES DB in the chamber and rams the sliding door back on his head. That was BRUTAL. Barrett covers for 1, 2, 2.99. Santino recovers. He blocks a Wasteland attempt only to get booted back onto the grating. This is dragging just a tad here. DB fires up for a top rope BUSAIKU knee and slams Barrett into the chamber a few times. Barrett cuts him off and smashes DB’s head back into the pod on the top turnbuckle. Wade goes for the Super Wasteland but Santino cuts him off and goes for a superplex. Wade blocks and shoves him off. Wade goes for a Macho elbow but whiffs. DB follows up with a diving headbutt. Santino covers Wade for 1, 2, 3 at 31:39.

• Now it’s Santino vs. Dragon one-on-one as the crowd comes to life for Santino. DB mocks his chances as Santino fires up for the devastating SAMBO THROW! DB shakes it off to hit the IED in the corner. DB hits a few stiff DR FG’s. And another DR FG enzuigiri. DR covers for 1, 2, 2.999999. Dragon goes for another IED but comes up dry. Santino goes to a school boy for 1, 2, 2.999. Crowd bought that as a finish. DB suplexes him over and goes for the diving headbutt to boos but whiffs. Santino hits the Cobra for 1, 2, 2.999999999999999999999! Book: “NOOOOO!!!!” DB rolls Santino in the Yes Lock. Santino comes to life and the crowd is with him. Santino tries to get out but collapses and taps out at 34:05.

• This is the epitome of a match being less than the sum of its part. There are fantastic and entertaining sequences with Show getting his hands on Dragon, Cody eliminating Show, Santino’s underdog story and false finishes with DB, etc. But it’s massively padded with several minutes of boring heat from Show and not much better from Wade. If they lopped off 10 minutes and streamlined this miniseries, they’d have a very very very very good EC, but with the PPV already stretched too thin with roughly half an hour of white noise in-between matches, they had to slow things down some. ***1/2

• Post-match, the celebration is on. YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! BUT WAIT! Remember that thing about heels not being allowed to look good? Well, Sheamus comes out for no reason after DB had a hard-fought victory in the chamber and hits him with White Noise! Cole plays this as Sheamus announcing who he’ll challenge at WM for the belt which is nice and everything except that’s something that could be accomplished with a tweet, promo, email, text message, bull horn, anything other than attacking the champ after a 30 minute cage match. The crowd is pretty quiet about the whole thing and we’re moving on.

• Meanwhile, Hornswoggle is in the back with Natayla making fart jokes about cutting the cheese. She high tails it out of there before Jack Swagger and Vickie Guerrero show up to bully him. Justin Gabriel stands up for Hornswoggle and Teddy Long, because he’s got nothing better to do, strolls in to call Vickie ugly and set up a match. Swagger is pissed off about Teddy trying to crash his cheese party and tells Teddy that he also supports Ace for permanent GM.

WWE United States Championship: Justin Gabriel vs. Jack Swagger (c). Swagger with a quick TD but Gabriel gets a rope break. Swagger goes to the kidneys a few times with CLUBBINGBLOWS. Gabriel baseball slides through and tries a superkick but Swagger catches him in a Low Down Bomb. Swagger steps on Gabriel as he passes by him to hit a VaderBomb and rather than cover goes BACKTOTHEKIDNEYS! That’s pretty sweet heelification from Swagger. Swagger than uses Gabriel as a springboard for some pushups. Swagger goes to a resthold before Gabriel elbows out and comes back with a Sling Blade for 2. Gabriel comes back with a burrito and a handspring back elbow in the corner. He springboards in with a splash for 1, 2, only 2. Gabriel with a basement dropkick that sends Swagger reeling. Gabriel follows out to the floor with a 360 body press. Gabriel goes for another kick but Swagger catches the leg and tosses it into the ringpost. Back in, Swagger clips the knee and applies the PATRIOT ACT OF WIRETAPPING AND INDEFINITE GITMO DETENTION and Gabriel taps out at 3:05. That was pretty damn good for 3 minutes. **

Ambulance Match: Kane vs. John Cena. This was all about Kane returning in his old gear and mask to get Cena to EMBRACE! THE! HATE! He did that by attacking the pre-hoeski Eve and planting a wedge between the friendship of Cena and a wheelchair-bound Zack Ryder. The video package of this is set to some nightmarish keyboard lullaby with lots of slow motion in case you’re into that sort of thing.

• They slug it out and Kane ignores that to shitcan Cena out after a throat thrust. Fans get the dueling chants going early as they brawl up the aisle. Cena fights back and meekly sends Kane into the guardrail as King says he wants some of Cena’s haters to go lift weights with him to gain a respect for his work ethic. Cena sends Kane into the barricade again and says it’s over and calls for the ambulance inside of 90 seconds. Well, that’s just a tad overconfident as even Book questions that decision and calls it “premature.” Cole: “That ambulance is a fully outfitted, 4T7! IT WEIGHS 9,000 LBS!” Did he think Alberto Del Rio was driving or something? He doesn’t have to hock the paramedic swag. Kane opens the door himself and tosses the stretcher into Cena. Cena no sells to waffle Kane with the backboard a few times for a nice sound effect. Cena pauses to embrace the crowd’s hate and that allows Kane to come back with an uppercut and a few more haymakers. They brawl back to ringside so Kane can eat a shoulder-shot into the stairs.

• Back in, Kane with the FOOT TO THE FACE and covers for some GnP. Kane rolls to the floor for nothing as Cena fights him off but Kane rolls right back in. King and Book drift off talking about whether Kane was in the gym and I hope for Cole to bring up King’s hypocrisy in admiring Cena’s gym feats but not Kane’s but no such luck. Kane with a clothesline and Cena is toast as this is SLOOOOOOWWWWWWW. Cena fights back as they slug it out for the fifth time or so but Kane takes over with the VINTAGE SIDESLAM! Kane comes flying off with the flying clothesline but Cena cuts him off with a not so Bluechipper dropkick and a Proto-bomb to mostly jeers. He hits the 5KS and wants the FU but Kane slides out and goes to THE CLAW! Kane suffocates him as everyone involved including the fans pass out. Kane pulls Cena to the floor and then pulls out a wheelchair because it’s his weapon of choice according to Cole since he used it to attack Ryder. Not actually, but who cares.

• Kane tries choking Cena back into unconsciousness but Cena fights back. Book: “HE’S NO STRANGER TO A GUY IN THE GYM!” Cena sends Kane back into the barricade and kinda awesomely sells oxygen deprivation. He throws Kane into the ambulance and now WITH WHEELCHAIR-IN-HAND gives Kane a “complimentary ride” according to King by waffling him in the face. You can’t have two hosses out there half-assing it trying not to leave a mark on each other in the main event of the go-home PPV before Mania. Cena holds Kane down long enough to get a running start and shove Kane into a production table. Kane cuts Cena off by waffling him with a laptop and the wheelchair. I can’t believe they put this on last. It’s like these guys have anti-charisma together as none of their matches together are worth a damn. Cena fights back with a chairshot and then botches throwing Kane into some roadie trunks.

• They take turns letting each other lead through this tango across the arena before Cena whips Kane over the barricade and cuts a flip. Cena waffles him with the mic for a decent sound effect and preps the SAT. Instead, he waffles Kane with a monitor and then the stairs. Book: “THE EYES NEVER LIE, DAWG!” Cena: “YOU STILL WANNA HATE?!?” Cena blasts him with the stairs again and preps the FU. At least, they’re finally doing something. Cena hoists up Kane and then walks up the stairs before Kane slides out and ChokeSlams Cena through the table. Cena sells for a while so Kane can wheel over the stretcher. Kane slowly brings him over to the ambulance and tosses him in but Cena cuts him off before he can shut the door. Cena fights back and slams part of the door on Kane a few times. Cena climbs up on top of the ambulance and Kane joins him just to get FU’ed off the edge onto some off-camera padding. Cena throws him into the back of the ambulance and slams the door for the win at 21:25.

• Another bloated, overlong match on a bloated show. Just as boring and vanilla as their “brawl” at the RR. This isn’t that bad, but it’s just so lifeless and going-through-the-motions of a blood feud without any blood or overt animosity that it lacks any momentum forward or backward and just kind of exists for 20 minutes. If this match happened in the woods and no one including the participants were around to see it or hear it and care about it, I don’t think it actually happened. *1/2

The 411: Normally, I talk myself into a positive rating for a borderline WWE PPV, but not this time. Two underwhelming elimination chambers (and yes ***1/2 is underwhelming for those matches) and a dire straits, lethargic main event don't equal a satisfactory viewing experience. The whole thing is puffed up like it's a Larry Zbyszko production.
Final Score:  5.0   [ Not So Good ]  legend

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