Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of everybody’s favorite girlfriend, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight as we take the final step on the Road (though considering it has about 2 steps, maybe its more of a path?) to Wrestlemania as we review WWE Elimination Chamber 2011. Ah, its that time of year again, boys and girls as a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of greased up musclemen (and women) vying for the opportunity to see their dreams come true in the main event of Wrestlemania. Tonight, those men that were unlucky enough to not win the Royal Rumble and get the easy road will try to take the hard way to the main event of Wrestlemania, through the ominous Chambers that await them. Locked inside will be their hopes and dreams, and only one man in each chamber match will survive (metaphorically) to see his dream come true. So with bated breath, and a surprise or two along the way, let’s not leave you in suspense.
Cewsh: WWE has promoted a few of these Elimination Chamber dealies, and they’ve clearly gotten to the point where they feel like they have a solid video package for them and they can just reuse it for each Elimination Chamber PPV. It turns out they’re right too, because this video does a great job (as always) at selling the Chamber as a death house, and putting over Wrestlemania as something so incredibly prestigious that people would kill themselves to get there. I’m sure many have said it before, but i’d like to reiterate again that the job WWE has done over the years of making just another monthly PPV seem like wrestling nirvana is nothing short of masterful. Its taken for granted now, and that’s impressive.
Cewsh: First, let’s get this out of the way. Alberto Del Rio is amazing. The speed with which he has won my heart with his complete smarmy dickishness and pitch perfect gimmick is astonishing and I am so much in support of his Royal Rumble victory that I think he must have felt a telepathic pat on the back afterward from sheer enthusiasm.
My support carries into this match, as Alberto and Kofi mix it up as a result of their several weeks long feud that started for absolutely no reason at all and continues for…absolutely no reason at all. The crowd, for their part, is absolutely rabid for Del Rio, chanting loudly for him at every turn while Kofi struggles to get a peep from his Peeps. There are some nice spots here and there (including Alberto reversing a top rope crossbody into a speed date between his knees and Kofi’s ribs) and the match flows well enough, but…well…
But, like most performers really, there are things Alberto Del Rio can do, and there are things that Alberto Del Rio cannot do.
- Make everyone within the sound of his voice hate him, while secretly loving him.
- Style his hair into a perfect fauxhawk.
- Drive expensive cars several feet without harming them.
- Be awesome.
- Not be awesome.
- Keep ass sweat off of the leather interior.
- Style his hair any other way.
- Carry Kofi Kingston to something I could conceivably care about.
I know that we’ve been down on Kofi before in the past, and we’re going to continue to be right up until he finds a version of himself or his character that isn’t so bland that I paint my television beige just to spice things up. But aside from our general dislike for him and his character, there is an important thing that WWE needs to realize about him. He kills people’s momentum. Feuding with Kofi Kingston is like having your kid walk in during an intimate moment with your wife. No matter how hard you try to recover afterwards, all of the heat is gone. I don’t even know what it is about him that causes it, but the list of casualties is long. Randy Orton, Drew McIntyre, Shelton Benjamin, Jack Swagger, and now Alberto Del Rio is struggling mightily to avoid the curse that has been thrust his way.
Do the man a favor, WWE. Have him feud with Primo instead. His odds of staying relevant would be better.
73 out of 100.
Mrs. Cewsh: Del Rio has a World Title shot at Mania, so let’s lead up to that by…!
Not squashing Kofi in the curtain jerker.
I know there’s some backstory, something about Del Rio being a heel and Kofi being a moron, but it’s such a poor choice for this show. The match has no heat, and worse, the crowd is firmly behind Del Rio.
It’s not the worst showing, but it’s boring and sad and Booker’s commentary is the only thing that shines through.
Cewsh: Edge is backstage and he cuts a promo about how no champion has ever retained their championship inside of the Elimination Chamber, but that he is determined to be the first. He is relieved to finally be done with Dolph and Vickie and is turning his eyes to Wrestlemania. Things are hippy skippy until Drew McIntyre lurks into the frame and tells Edge that he is holding him personally responsible for the firing of Kelly Kelly* and that since Edge took something dear away from Drew, Drew will be taking away Edge’s most prized possession tonight, the World title. All of this is delivered by Drew in a way that makes him seem about 8 billion times more dark and dangerous than he has ever even flirted with before, and even Edge seems taken aback by the declaration.
Watch yourself, Edge. Trouble ahead.
* (Check Issue 598, true believers, to see the Edge/Vickie/Kelly saga unfold!)
Cewsh: Okay kids, for those of you unacquainted, here’s how the Elimination Chamber works. The ring is surrounded by a huge steel and chain monstrosity with 4 chambers behind the four turnbuckles. 4 of the 6 entrants will be locked in the chambers to start the match, with 2 dudes going at it right away. Every few minutes a chamber is randomly selected and will open letting another person into the match until all have entered. Pinfalls and submissions count at any time and anywhere in the structure, and the match continues until everyone has been eliminated and we have a winner. Make sense? Damn straight.
Mrs. Cewsh: I don’t know why I have such a problem suspending my disbelief of the Chamber match and not other cage matches, but there you go. I think it’s the “random” entrants and how silly the boxes look. But, there is good talent here, and I hope they can make me enjoy this
Kane, Drew McIntrye, Wade Barrett, and a mystery entrant will all start in the little cryogenic boxes. The mystery entrant is the Big Show. He’s always a fun wrecking ball, but he kinds of fulfills the same role as Kane.
Edge and Mysterio start the match. It’s not all that exciting, despite what Booker tries to sell me. Once Wade enters, it picks up a little, but it just isn’t all that fun to watch.
Cewsh: Well Mysterio and Edge are pacing themselves, as people tend to do when they start a Chamber match because either or both could wind up being in this painful ass match for a long long time. They do their bit for awhile, and as they do I start to notice that Booker T, who has had some growing pains as a commentator to this point on Smackdown, has shed those entirely tonight and has become incredibly good at his job, getting me more into the match and breaking things down well, and showing particularly good chemistry with Josh Matthews which gives me a lot of hope for the future with those two.
Cewsh: Wade shows up and doesn’t do a whole lot. He pushes Rey around, punches Edge a bit.
For a guy that held WWE by the balls all last year, he certainly does blend right into the white noise here. The highlight for him is grabbing Mysterio and sliding him under the top rope into the cage. Of course this involves Rey playing slip and slide on steel grating and getting a face full of cage at the end so he probably didn’t yell “Wheeee!”
Cewsh: Kane is wicked mean to people. And, um, yeah, that’s pretty much it.
Cewsh: Now, it is important to mention that starting with his entrance where he mocked Kane inside a chamber, Drew has been acting like a wild beast all match long. Whenever anybody got close to his chamber he would punch and headbutt the chamber like a caged animal, and now the second he is released he runs over, grabs Rey Mysterio and immediately lawn darts him head first into his chamber. KLUNK. Rey’s head is not having a good day.
Then Drew and Wade team up on Kane temporarily and form an alliance, but as Wade tries to step through the ropes, Drew kicks them into his Welsh Grapes and transports him backwards headfirst into another chamber, essentially detonating it with the impact as the fans yell holy shit.
Then he pounces on Edge and beats him half to death.
Where the fuck did this lion disguised as the soppy Drew McIntyre come from?
Mrs. Cewsh: McIntrye actually stands out in his short time. He’s never seemed all that dangerous, but first he lawn darts Rey and then delivers the most wicked bump of the night to Wade. Barrett isn’t a small guy, so tossing him across the ring, through the pod? Pretty impressive.
Cewsh: OH SNAP.
The next few minutes are total destruction with Show just merking everything he beholds in his domain. He even takes the time out of his busy schedule to put Wade through ANOTHER chamber before chopping him about 67 times and punching him directly in the jaw, making Wade Barrett officially the unluckiest man in elimination chamber history and giving us our first elimination.
Cewsh: After seeing Wade Barrett treated like a Chinese buffet after a hockey game, everyone else sees it in their best interests to team up, so with a monumental effort they hit every finisher they have and finally put the big man away.
Cewsh: Drew McIntyre wants him some. One chokeslam later and he meets the same fate.
Cewsh: Now Rey and Edge (former tag team champions back through the mists of time) have to team up to take out the dangerous Kane. Kane takes them both out until Rey goes for a top rope hurracanrana. Kane catches him, and Rey hangs down to avoid being powerbombed. This allows Edge to copme plowing out of nowhere, spearing BOTH of them and to pin Kane to end his reign of terror.
Cewsh: Kane, ever the poor sport, doesn’t leave after being pinned, but instead sticks around to chokeslam both men, leaving them equally battered. Then he wanders off with a smirk. Edge and Rey stir and manage to crank out 10 more minutes of back and forth wrestling showing that old chemistry that they’ve always had. Finally Edge gets the better of his old friend, nails the Spear and clinches his berth into the (semi) main event of Wrestlemania.
MichaelC Factoid: Edge was the first Champion to retain in a chamber since 2006.
Mrs. Cewsh: Edge wins, Del Rio runs in, Christian returns and beats him up. It’s cool to see Christian, and I’m sure EC fans were excited.
I forgot it was Del Rio who put him out, so I was a little confused.
Cewsh: Honestly, this Chamber match was more than a little lackluster after last year’s, simply because there wasn’t anybody here but Edge that the fans actually cared about. Still, though, Drew really made a name for himself in my mind here, and I am earmarking him for some serious future success. Everybody else was, well, who they are. We get Christian back (and looking spry too) and we have an interesting three way dynamic as we head for the big show (sorry Big Show).
82 out of 100.
Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval.
Cewsh: Yeah, its Trish Stratus.
Booker T comes to the ring and introduces Trish as the final judge for Tough Enough, making the three people in charge Steve Austin, Booker T and Trish Stratus, which is probably the best lineup of trainers possibly imaginable. Trish and Booker have some awkward back and forth, and Trish thanks everyone, tells them to watch and mashes up Booker and Rock’s catchphrases in the most awkward way imaginable. Then they all sheepishly get back to their jobs.
MichaelC Thought: I still prefer Molly Holly. When is her return happening? Trish fans get all the luck.
Mrs. Cewsh: I feel like we’ve had this match a lot. I know there’s not a lot of diversity in the tag division, but having rematches three or four times isn’t going to save tag wrestling.
The match is utterly forgettable. The belt is thankfully off Koztino.
Cewsh: Many times, as I watch these shows, I take notes during them on paper as I watch. Its a tip I picked up from Roger Ebert that when you type while watching something, you may be inclined to write down everything that happens, but when you hand write it you tend to only write down the important things. I’m not sure why that is, but it certainly works, and it helps me document the way i’m feeling as the match progresses like save points that I can reference later.
For this entire match all I wrote down was this:
“Welp, I guess filler is good too.”
That is not a good thing.
Basically, this match was just purely harmless, but it had no air of importance or significance to it. This was a title match with less interest to it than the opening match of an episode of Superstars, and everyone is to blame for that. The performers tried, especially Slater and Gabriel, but this was just here, and there wasn’t anything that anyone could do about it.
60 out of 100.
Cewsh: I like the Miz. Like a lot.
But this was exactly the same as every promo he does on PPV. He stands talking into a microphone held by someone off screen in a locker room while Alex Riley lurks in the background nodding and he talks about how nobody appreciates him.
Its a template. So if he does the same one next month, I am going to copy and paste this in there too.
Cewsh: Vickie Guerrero comes to the ring to talk about how her boyfriend, Dolph Ziggler, got fired on Smackdown the previous Friday when it was revealed that he was the one who had assaulted Teddy Long, putting him out for months and allowing Vickie to take over. She pleads with Teddy to reconsider and to hire Dolph back. Teddy comes out and says that he is in a rehiring mood, but not for Dolph, but instead for Miss Kelly Kelly*
Kelly comes charging out and gets right up in Vickie’s face, about to lay waste to her nemesis when Laycool jump her from behind, saving Vickie. They rough her up pretty bad until none other than Trish Stratus comes streaking (metaphorically) down to ringside and runs them off. They attack her too, though, and she seems in trouble until she turns the tables on them with a Chick Kick, a Stratusfaction, and an (admittedly botched) Stratusphere. They run off looking perturbed as Trish raises Kelly’s hand in the ring.
A lot of people seem to have been critical of Trish here, saying she looked sloppy. Which is fair since she had one bad botch, but she was also wearing SIX INCH HEELS and hasn’t wrestled regularly in 5 years. So, you know, perspective. Haters to the left.
* (Did you see Issue 598? Well didja?)
Cewsh: The first time I saw Jerry Lawler was sometime in the early 90s when I was a little baby Cewsh . He was managing Dr. Issac Yankem against my beloved Bret Hart and my redneck wrestling buddy Cody told me that he heard that Lawler used to be wrestler as well. This, of course, seemed preposterous to me, what with him looking like a giant demented baby that had eaten too many Twinkies. As time went on I saw him wrestle a bit (and I thought he was awful) and then move to commentary where he always made fun of my beloved Ahmed Johnson. As a result, I thought the guy was completely awful well into my teenage years. Later, as I was exploring what wrestling history had to offer, I stumbled across some of Jerry Lawler’s matches in Memphis and his immortal feud with actor Andy Kaufman and I was blown to smithereens. THIS was the portly meanyface that I had hated all those years? This Jerry Lawler was a master at getting the crowd behind them, and engaged in incredibly brutal matches where he always someone came out of top to enormous cheers from his adoring fans.
As the years went on I appreciated him as a commentator, but admittedly took him for granted as i’m sure we all did. As the years went on further, we all began to note his decline as a commentator, some with sadness, other with frustration. Then came the Miz. Now Jerry Lawler is standing in the ring in a WWE Championship match right in front of my eyes, and when I search my feelings to find how I feel about this, the only word that comes to mind is “grateful”. Grateful that he got this chance to be recognized and to have one final run before he inevitably hangs up not only his wrestling boots but his commentary headset in the near future. After all the years of my life spent knowing him, hating him and respecting him, this is a match I am grateful to have the opportunity to see.
They don’t disappoint either, as they wrestle a match that is very conscious of their limitations. Miz does a ton of bumping, Jerry beats him around and gets the crowd fired up, and they weave a believably tale of an athletic champion tiring out a legendary veteran and at the last taking advantage of a mistake with his greater quickness to get the win. It works, it helps everyone, and everybody goes home, if not happy, than at least satisfied.
Thanks for this one last gift to us, Jerry. I hope its not the last, but if it is, then i’m happy. Career well done.
78 out of 100.
Mrs. Cewsh: The match wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.
King is clearly from another era of wrestling. He’s not bad but his big moves don’t really look impressive next to, say, the Skull Crushing Finale. He did still play a sympathetic face and God knows I’d love to see Miz/A Ry/Cole get theirs at his hands.
In the ring isn’t really anything to write home about, but everyone plays their part well and Cole is the greatest smarmy manager since Bisch left us.
And Santino wasn’t in it.
Cewsh: Remember when I told you how Elimination Chamber matches work like 5 minutes ago? Yeah, they still work that way.
Mrs. Cewsh: My beloved Randy is in pod one; R-Truth, busting out some epically bad moves is in pod two; CM Gecko in pod three; and Cena will round us out in pod four. That means we’re starting the match with Sheamus and…Morrison. I don’t envy his chances.
Cewsh: The entrances to this match were pretty intense, as every single new person that entered antagonized everybody who was already there. Though, naturally, Punk made them all look like antagonizing amateurs with his psychopathic prowess. Punk and Randy’s interaction with Randy in the Chamber is especially incredibly, as the tension between these two is just white fucking hot.
Mrs. Cewsh: The match starts and Morrison and Sheamus brawl and Morrison thinks he’s Spiderman and whatever.
Mrs. Cewsh: Randy comes in and just cleans house. Scoop slams for everyone and Morrison goes through a pod, (what was that about world’s strongest glass?) and Sheamus gets DDTd off the rope onto the steel.
Cewsh: Uh oh, Randy is ready for him.
Mrs. Cewsh: Next entrant, CM Punk, who’s been chomping at the bit. Unfortunately the ref can’t get his pod unlocked, which is fine since it’s not really closed anyway. Punk gets wedged in between the door and the pod, Randy beats him half to death, then drags him into the middle of the ring for an RKO.
Cewsh: Honestly, I loved this as it keeps their feud from having been decided in any kind of meaningful way while still giving Randy and the fans a happy moment in the match. Punk gets screwed, he’ll get to complain about it. Great stuff.
Mrs. Cewsh: Orton gloats, Punk crawls to the door, and the GM buzzes in. CM Punk is back in the match because his pod malfunctioned. Oh lovely.
Mrs. Cewsh: He gets locked back in his pod, and the match continues with Sheamus, Morrison, and Randy. And a completely dead and deflated crowd.
Cewsh: As much as I loved the way things had gone before, that’s how much I hated this. The whole GM schtick takes like 5 full minutes and derails the whole match, and it completely invalidates the great moment the fans had just had for no reason. If Punk isn’t winning this then there was absolutely no point in doing this. Just a waste. Like Mrs. Cewsh said, the crowd is now silent.
Mrs. Cewsh: John Cena enters third. (Second?) Sheamus rushes into the pod to beat him.
Cewsh: John Cena. Now part of a balanced chamber.
Mrs. Cewsh: R-Truth enters. He traps Sheamus in the pod when Sheamus tries to repeat the beating he gave Cena. Truth takes control and Morrison sells like there’s no tomorrow.
Cewsh: It must be said at this point that John Morrison is doing one helluva job in this match. R-Truth…eh…not so much.
Mrs. Cewsh: Truth hits a Lie Detector and turns into a Brogue Kick.
MichaelC Thought: R-Truth is as good at Chamber matches as he is at winning me over. My leading candidate for Midcard Release of the Year.
Mrs. Cewsh: Morri goes through another pod. You know, that was a cool spot, the first time. The forth, he just sort of stumbled into it.
Mrs. Cewsh: CM Punk enters the match. Again. Randy is waiting for him, but Cena sneaks up on Randy. Randy hits an RKO on Cena. Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick on Orton. Punk sneaks in and covers, Orton kicks out. Punk throws Orton into the ring and does the RKO dance and hits the Go To Sleep.
Cewsh: Not only was that a great exchange, but after he pins Orton, Punk gives us one of the most evil expressions in the history of faces.
Mrs. Cewsh: Brawl brawl brawl, looked away to check email. Sheamus and Morrison are on top of the pod. Sheamus tries for a Celtic Cross off the pod, Morrison kicks him to the ground. Morrison reaches up and grabs the top of the cage. He climbs, like Spiderman or Homicide, to the center of the roof, reaches down and flops onto Sheamus.
Cewsh: And it one leap he springs into the permanent highlight reel for yet another WWE institution. With his performance here and in the Royal Rumble, as well as the phenomenal matches he has been having where he is showing off an ability to sell second to none, John Morrison is as close as it gets to a sure thing main eventer.
Mrs. Cewsh: Cena comes charging in, taking out Punk. Morrison comes flying in and breaks up a pin attempt. Then Morrison tries to take out Cena and puts himself through ANOTHER pod. And, uh, that one looked like it hurt.
Morrison nurses his knee on the outside, Cena and Punk go at it in the middle of the ring. Punk locks in a choke, but Cena fights to his feet, Punk still around his neck. Suddenly, Morrison! Off the top rope onto Punk. Morrison gets an AA for his trouble.
Punk slingshots Morrison across the chamber, but he catches a pod and pulls himself up. He hits Punk with a Flying Chuck and goes up for Starship Pain, but miss. Kayfabe miss, not the usual kind. His knee is blown and Punk catches him with a GTS.
Cewsh: Good god what a showing.
If Vince was watching, as you know he was, John just made himself a star tonight. I mean look at this clip:
Now John Morrison has had his right knee thrashed all match long, and has just gambled on a Starship Pain that landed him directly onto his damaged knee. As a result he is easy prey for Punk’s Go 2 Sleep. But the key here is that both WHILE UP IN THE MOVE and immediately after Punk’s weight is off of him, he is selling his knee like it has been stolen by the Hamburglar. In an age where good selling tends to be shaking the limb 5 minutes after the injury, it is downright impressive to see that level of commitment to a sell.
Mrs. Cewsh: Cena runs in, AA onto the steel and Cena grabs the pin.
Cewsh: Well that was quick.
Mrs. Cewsh: Pretty badass match, and it was more than a little due to Morrison. I know he’s spotty and can’t hit his finisher and more contrived than a Mysterio/Kofi finisher-off. But he made the match fun to watch, especially after it could have fallen apart.
I’m officially over the Mystery GM, though.
Cewsh: John Morrison and CM Punk put this match on theirs backs and carried it from simply being pretty good, to being something exceptional. I know my whole review of this match has just been nothing but singing the praises of those two, but truly that is the impression I got from watching it. These are two special, special talents and we’re lucky to have them.
The star power helped this match a lot too, compared to the one earlier in the night. Add that to the good to great performances from everyone and you have a damn good main event.
90 out of 100.
Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval.
Cewsh: For a show with so few matches, this one certainly had a lot to talk about. The title matches are set, he feuds have been pushed forward, and a WWE Hall of Famer got his moment in the sun. Along the way there were surprises and matches of varying quality, and not much downtime.
Sounds like my kind of show.
Mrs. Cewsh: The show felt really short with so few matches, I don’t like long segments on PPV, (looking at you Trish,) and there weren’t any surprises in the ring. It was just average. I understand why, but it’s always disappointing when there’s nothing to stick with you or keep you talking.
MichaelC Elaboration: It was a throwaway show and the winners were meant to be predictable, but there’s predictable and still making people – like the 2008 Elimination Chambers, as an example – and there’s reinforcing the Status Quo, which is what it felt like. Deflating experience.
Alright, that’ll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed the metaphorical bathroom stop on the Road to Wrestlemania (metaphorically). Next time you see us we’ll be reviewing the now totally irrelevant, but nonetheless significant TNA Against All Odds 2011. What happened on the show? How good were the matches? Yeah, yeah, yeah we’ll get to that. How awesome were takerson’s Cewsh Reviews signs on the show?! We’ll visit that thoroughly, as well as that other stuff later this week. In the meantime, be sure to keep reading and be good to one another.