Thursday, March 5, 2015
After making a shocking return at the Royal Rumble, John Cena did something that no man has ever done before. He chose to get his WWE Title shot at No Way Out instead of at WrestleMania, which leads us to a Randy Orton vs. John Cena match on this show. At this time, the feud was still relatively fresh since they had only met twice before this I believe. Of course, No Way Out features two Elimination Chamber matches as well, which should be great as it is one of my favorite gimmick matches ever.
Our opening package is relatively generic in a good way. It doesn’t really mention any Superstar by name but shows clips of how brutal the Elimination Chamber can and has been. The video also shows off the two title matches set for the evening. Commentary is Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler but it moves to Joey Styles and Tazz.
I was never a big Chavo Guerrero fan but the man knows what he’s doing in the ring and I’m a huge CM Punk fan so this should be good. This feud featured the infamous Gulf of Mexico match. Chavo slaps Punk and is instantly kicked in the head. Punk whips Chavo into the corner but is the one who ends up knocked outside. Chavo demands the referee start the count as I guess they’re going with the “champion wants to retain in any possible way” scenario. They trade shots as Chavo gets a near fall with a front flip. He hits a very nice looking suplex and applies the body scissors. Talk about a move that looks like it does NOTHING to the opponent. Punk gets out and hits a slingshot into the corner like it’s the mid-90s. He goes for his signature knee in the corner but it’s stopped and then Chavo also reverses the GTS into a hurricanrana. An impactful tornado DDT earns Chavo two. He stalks Punk but ends up eating an enziguri for tow. Punk channels Eddie Guerrero and tries the Three Amigos to heat. That’s not good. Chavo blocks the third but gets the knee strike/bulldog combo and kicks out. A small “Chavo” chant breaks out as he holds the top rope to avoid the GTS. He ends up on the apron and is kicked hard to the mat. Inside, Punk crotches Chavo on the top and goes for a top rope hurricanrana but Chavo blocks it. After Punk knocks himself out from hitting the mat, Chavo hits the Frog Splash for the surprise clean win. He gets a decent pop as well.
A bit disappointing. Both guys are damn good but it didn’t click. I did like the play of Eddie’s suplexes and that Chavo actually got a clean win.
The incomparable Mike Adamle interviews Rey Mysterio and gets his name right. Rey admits he does have a torn bicep and he shows off the bruise, which looks like it hurts a ton. As he starts speaking Spanish, Floyd Mayweather comes up to him and says what’s up. Mike Adamle looks like a total nerd the whole time. Smackdown commentary, which is Michael Cole and Jonathan Coachman, take over for the next match.
Who the hell thought Big Daddy V should A) wear that outfit and B) be in a Pay-Per-View match? So, Batista and The Undertaker are the two to start. In other words, the only LEGIT threats to win this thing. These two engaged in a fantastic rivalry throughout 2007 and slug it out here. They go outside and Batista is grated against a steel chain but is back in the driver’s seat in the ring. Batista looks really weird with wristbands. Neither guy gets a clear advantage and do a double big boot spot as Big Daddy V enters the fray. Viscera dominates, even hitting a Samoan drop while his boobs flop around. Cole says that Mabel stepping on you is like a minivan being on you. He headbutts Undertaker who falls through the Chamber door. Really? This mass, powerful structure that we hear so much about can’t handle a 299 pound man softly bumping into the door? Vis runs at Batista and I swear my WWE Network went into slow motion. Batista plants Mabel with a spinebuster, tosses him outside and Undertaker DDTs him. Batista covers and Viscera is out at 9:07.
The Great Khali joins us at the ten minute mark. I would be okay with each guy getting eliminated before the next one come sin, leaving Batista and Undertaker alone. Khali gets in his usual offense, even getting near falls on both superior opponents. Vise Grip is applied on Batista and Cole continues with his ridiculous comparisons, calling Khali’s hands “NFL football like”. Batista breaks free and Spears Khali but is taken out by Undertaker, who then makes Khali tap out to the Hell’s Gates submission at 12:38. Maybe my prediction about the eliminations will come true. Finlay is next, so the youngest guy in the match will get the least amount of time. He runs in but eats a big boot instantly. He comes back with the Celtic Cross on Undertaker but doesn’t get the three obviously. Outside, Finlay gets slingshot into the steel chains. Finlay stays strong though and throws Undertaker through the glass chamber in the least memorable spot like that in history. So much for my prediction as Finlay is still in when MVP is supposed to enter. He doesn’t want to join, so Undertaker comes in and beats him down.
When MVP does come in, he kicks both Batista and Undertaker, gaining a near fall before choking Finlay with his chain. The Deadman is bleeding as MVP fires away with the chain but he won’t fall down. Since he won’t fall, MVP runs away to the top of a pod. Undertaker grabs him and choke tosses him off! Finlay covers and MVP is unfortunately gone at 22:31. With all three remaining men down, Hornswoggle pops his head up from under the chamber and hands Finlay the shillelagh! He hit both guys with it, even blocking a Batista Bomb with a shot but Batista kicks out. Undertaker grabs Finlay and Chokeslams him onto the steel outside to eliminate him around 24:11. As expected, it comes down to Batista and The Undertaker. They get up on opposite sides outside of the ring and get into a slugfest inside. Batista nails the Batista Bomb but is too hurt to cover quickly, so Undertaker gets his shoulder up! Batista must not have watched Undertaker matches because he goes for ten punches in the corner, hitting about twelve, but Undertaker powers up with the Last Ride. He is also too weary to cover quickly and can garner two only. Undertaker signals for the end but Batista counters the Tombstone and sends him outside. As Batista drives Undertaker’s face into the chamber, Cole points out that he’s targeting the left arm. Umm, no he’s not. Batista has Undertaker on his shoulder and goes to drive him headfirst into the chamber again but it’s blocked and they use the top rope so Undertaker can slip over and hit a creative Tombstone for the finish.
Not one of the best Elimination Chamber matches but still damn good. They did their best with the talent involved as Undertaker and Batista should be commended for their performance. I wish we got more from MVP though as that could have helped for sure.
Edge is in the back with the Edgeheads, and he’s nervous about facing The Undertaker at WrestleMania, however he doesn’t want to look past Rey Mysterio. Theodore Long comes in, PLAYA, and bans Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder from ringside. YA FEEL ME? HOLLA.
After a WrestleMania commercial featuring Kelly Kelly and Mae Young, we go to highlights of Maria Kanellis and Ashley Massaro at the Playboy mansion. Maria decides to pose for Playboy, which is up there as maybe my second favorite WWE Playboy ever.
Lil’ Naitch, Charles Robinson is the referee here so I just can’t see him counting the three that ends Ric Flair’s career. Mr. Kennedy hits a shoulder block early on and struts, taunting Flair. A hard knife edge chop allows Flair to strut back. Kennedy gets in his offense now, and goes with a half Boston crab because Flair has a bandage on his knee. Kennedy must have watched some heel Bret Hart as he uses the ring post Figure Four. HOW DARE HE? He’s stealing from all the greats when he locks in Flair’s own Figure Four. Flair reaches the ropes and Kennedy hits the Green Bay Plunge for two. He goes to the well again but Flair slips free and uses a chop block. Kennedy tries to win with a handful of tights and his feet on the ropes but is caught because he’s heeling wrong. After kicking out a small package, Flair uses the Figure Four to make Kennedy submit.
I liked Mr. Kennedy going after the knee and trying to steal all of Ric Flair’s signature stuff. The cocky heel was too brash and it cost him. The crowd didn’t believe Kennedy would win though and that hurt.
Backstage, Mr. McMahon mocks Finlay as he’s being checked on by doctors. He tells Finlay that there’s nothing he can do to help Hornswoggle tomorrow when Vince steps into a Steel Cage with him tomorrow night on Raw!
Even though these are two guys who have really good chemistry, I don’t expect to this be much since Rey is going with a torn bicep. It’s clear very early that Rey is in a ton of pain. Even a flying head scissors causes him a lot of discomfort. Edge uses a big boot to take control and Rey regroups outside. Coachman “you have to wonder if Rey’s ever competed with a torn bicep before”. I doubt it Coach, that’s serious business. Edge throws Rey into the steel steps and taunts inside the ring. Rey is asked if he wants to call the match but he declines, so Edge tries an arm submission but it’s blocked. He hangs Rey up in the tree of woe and goes for a baseball slide but Rey moves and Edge hits the ring post. Moonsault from Rey gets him two and a tornado DDT leads Edge to putting his foot on the bottom rope, breaking a pin. Rey connects with the 619 but can’t capitalize. He tries a springboard but eats a midair Spear to end this.
Not much here, but I have to give credit for Rey Mysterio’s gutsy performance.
Officials and medical personnel check on Rey Mysterio when Big Show’s theme hits. He comes out and reveals that he is a MUCH slimmer Big Show, having dropped some sixty pounds since he was last seen. He cuts a promo about being happy to be back and that he will be a champion again. I was wrong as he has lost 108 pounds. Show goes outside and starts to bully Rey Mysterio. There goes that seemingly face appearance. He mocks Floyd Mayweather at ringside causing Floyd to jump the barricade! All of his entourage/security get in with him, making this seem like a big deal. Show continues to mock him, dropping down to one knee so Mayweather socks him, breaking his nose. Show gives chase but Mayweather escapes and Shane McMahon has to try and restrain him. The angle was greatly done, Show looked legit, Mayweather looked legit, commentary was silent to help sell it and it led to a surprisingly good WrestleMania match. Show would later say that he told Floyd not to hit him in the nose and that’s exactly what Floyd did, so Show was actually seeing red somewhat as he chased him down.
John Cena won the Royal Rumble a month prior and decided to cash in his title shot tonight instead of at WrestleMania, which was something that I completely hated. I’m not a fan of how this starts because the video package built it up as Cena lost his WWE Title because of an injury that Orton caused, so he should have wanted his hands on him badly. Instead, we get them trying to out wrestle one another. Cena gets some early near falls with a bulldog and elbow drop. He goes to the top and connects with the leg drop bulldog for another two count. He goes for the FU but Orton elbows out and starts to pick Cena apart. VINTAGE Orton as he locks in a rest hold to slow things down. Cena rallies and hits the shoulder block combo before the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Orton slips free of the FU. They fight outside and both guys run in just before the count of ten, but Orton looked dumb here. He is all about retaining the belt by any means, so a countout loss is something he should have been okay with. Orton goes for the RKO but Cena counters and puts on the STFU! Orton slips outside and starts to shout “COUNT ME OUT” at the referee. See what I mean? Saving himself from being counted out earlier is an inconsistency. Cena tries to get Orton but is hit with an RKO FROM OUTTA NOWHERE! Cena beats the countout once again. Orton decides to strike the referee, getting himself disqualified.
This was just like most other John Cena vs. Randy Orton matches in the fact that it was kind of dull. They’ve never had great chemistry and this had serious storytelling mistakes.
John Cena, in his frustrated state, attacks Randy Orton after the match with an FU and STFU. Unlike other situations, the referee just leaves and doesn’t call for anyone to break this up. Triple H and Shawn Michaels have a bit of a serious talk backstage before the Chamber. We also see the poll results for who the fans think will win the main event and Jeff Hardy just edges out Triple H 38%-31%. That says a lot about where Jeff would be headed from here until he left in August 2009.
Lillian Garcia totally botches announcing the rules for the match. Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels start the match, but if I were booking, I’d have had Jeff start and last until the end in a great performance. This is a review, not a fantasy booking though. The Shawn/Jericho stuff is their usual goodness. Jericho goes for the Walls but Shawn counters and tries a Sharpshooter, only for Jericho to pull him into a small package for two. I recently watched these two at WrestleMania XIX and that was fantastic. They would go on to have another fantastic rivalry later in this year. They collide and are both down when the buzzer goes off, bringing in Umaga. THE SAMOAN BULLDOZER! He does instant damage and Lawler says it’s similar to what Viscera did earlier. His name is Big Daddy V dammit! Umaga, in a great show of strength, hits a double Samoan drop on both guys. Shawn gets a big kick that knocks him outside, which Jim Ross calls “an impactful kick where you could hear the impact.” No kidding. After missing a splash, Umaga eats Shawn’s elbow drop. Jericho applies the Walls and, since he won’t submit, Shawn adds the Crossface! The buzzer sounds and in comes JBL, to make the save.
JBL pounds away on Chris Jericho in the corner, as they are coming off of a feud at the Royal Rumble for some strange reason. A DOUBLE FEATURE shows us that Shawn took an elbow earlier and is busted open. Everyone is outside now but that doesn’t last long. Our fifth entrant arrives and it is Triple H. The Game, who had returned from his second quad injury a few months prior, is on fire. Double A spinebusters all around until Jericho stops him. He misses the Lionsault though. JBL hits the Clothesline from Hell on Hunter but turns right into a Codebreaker for our first elimination at 13:46. JBL is pissed so he gets a chair and lays out Jericho, HBK and Umaga. The chair shot has bused Jericho open, Shawn is bleeding like Ric Flair an all four men are down as Jeff Hardy joins the fray. He goes after everyone, even using Jericho for Poetry in Motion and taking out DX with Whisper in the Wind. Umaga stops him and dominates for a bit with the biggest move being his running ASS SMASH to Jericho through the chamber glass. Holy shit! When they get back in the ring, Umaga eats Sweet Chin Music, a Codebreaker, a Pedigree and then a Swanton Bomb from the top of a pod! That is clearly enough to do him in at 19:46.
Chris Jericho got the cover and gets up right into Sweet Chin Music, so Jeff Hardy pins and eliminates him at 19:54. Rapid fire stuff here. Shawn is a mess and he gets hit with the Swanton Bomb. Triple H throws Jeff outside and hits the Pedigree on his best friend to eliminate Shawn at the 20:28 mark. Trips and Jeff slug it out outside and Jeff connects with a DDT on the steel. He busts Hunter open by throwing him into the steel a few times. Jeff takes a risk and it nearly costs him but he reverses a Pedigree. He misses a Swanton though and gets the Pedigree but somehow kicks out! The crowd looks legit stunned. He tries it again but Jeff low blows him and hits the Twist of Fate on a steel chair. Or does he? Triple H countered it I guess and nails the Pedigree on the chair to win.
Better than the previous Elimination Chamber. My main issue was the quick barrage of eliminations and that I wish we got a bit more time between Jeff and Hunter. Besides that, this was really good and I especially loved how Umaga looked like a total monster.
Overall: About half of the show is good. The two Chambers are the best part of the show and the ECW Title match is solid. Besides that, Randy Orton/John Cena underwhelmed, the World Title was lackluster because of Rey’s injury and Kennedy/Flair was there. The main issue was that everything was predictable on the show with the exception of Orton keeping the belt. Anyway, middle of the pack show. Next on is