Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the only reviews that are written from inside of a life sized replica of an Elimination Chamber pod, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight, as we all collectively get ready for the biggest night of the wrestling year with the very last stop on the Road to Wrestlemania WWE Elimination Chamber 2014! Every February, the main event hopefuls, veterans and new comers all look to the Chamber for their last desperate opportunity to reach the golden ring of a Wrestlemania main event. With the Royal Rumble over and the, (relatively,) easy path to the top closed, it is now up to 6 poor souls to put their bodies through hell in order to claim the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the final spot in the match of immortals. And with Batista looking on smugly, these 6 men will tear each other apart for the right to defend their newly won or freshly retained title against him in one month. And with at least 3 genuine options for a winner going in, it’s truly anyone’s match. But that’s just the main event. On this show we also have legends riding, youngsters feuding, stables clashing, and a whole lot more.
Cewsh: Well here we are again. It’s February, and that means it’s officially time for the last pay per view stop on the Road to Wrestlemania. And while the Royal Rumble was all about obtaining the coveted Sorcerer’s Stone, this installment is all about the dreaded Chamber of Secrets, (I’m looking forward to seeing Nailz redebut at Wrestlemania as the Prisoner of Azkaban.) This year those secrets include answers to questions such as, “Is WWE really pushing Daniel Bryan or what?” and “What the hell is the card for Wrestlemania anyway, nobody seems to have a concrete match yet?” Oh yes, the answers to such secretous secrets are at our fingertips, but only once 6 men enter a giant cage and do battle until one is left standing. Who will that man be? Only one way to find out.
Artie: Hello my beauties, I’m back and ready to review the shit out of the god damn Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View event ma-jig! This one kicks off with one of those good ole kick-ass WWE vidya packages, catching everybody up on what’s been happenin’ since the Royal Rumble. Immediately following that, we hear the theme of the Real Americans (brother) as Jack Swaggah waddles out onto the ramp with Uncle Zeb Colter. Zeb cuts a promo on the newly renamed Big E, claiming that as Intercontinental champion, Big E has done nothing to help the continent of North America. Troof.
The match itself start with some great back and forth banter between the two as they shove and shoulder tackle each other, trying to show who is stronger. Swagger spends a bit of time dicking around and gets his shit rocked by Big E. After rolling to the outside, Colter tries to interfere on behalf of Swagger, but his plan fails, as swagger ends up eating the steal stairs instead. After some light tussling in the ring, Swagger takes control of the match by tossing Big E to the ouside with some absolute brutality. As the two get back into the ring, Big E busts Swagger’s lip open some how, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it seems to legitamately piss Swagger off and I swear he takes up the intensity ten-fold on Big E. After taking a slight beatdown from Swagger, Big E turns the match in his favor as he full-force spears Swagger through the ropes, earning himself a HOLY SHIT chant, from the otherwise dismal crowd.
Cewsh: If I were teaching a course on modern WWE history, then Jack Swagger would make for a fascinating case study. Coming into the WWE, he had great size, tremendous athleticism, a decorated amateur wrestling background, and the hearty endorsement as Jim Ross’ last great find as a talent scout. They pushed him hard right out of the gate, and he had great success, both in kayfabe and non kayfabe terms. But somewhere between the closing of ECW and his ill fated World title reign, something went wrong. WWE started pushing him as a Kurt Angle clone, which just made Swagger pale in comparison, and they started giving him an overabundance of promo time, which he wasn’t prepared for. By the time he won the Money in the Bank briefcase, he was already a let down as a prospect. But, determined to see what they had in him, WWE had him win the title on Smackdown and ran with him for two disastrous months, which exposed every single weakness he had. After that, he drifted aimlessly for years until this Real Americans thing where, despite his pedigree and past success, he found himself quickly being overshadowed by Cesaro.
Now, Swagger’s story is fascinating on its own as a cautionary tale for booking someone too strong too fast and about talent becoming complacent too early in their careers. But it’s also a model that you can place over other up and coming potential stars with all the physical gifts in the world. Like, say, Big E Langston. WWE has seemed very unsure of how fast to push Langston, or even how to use him, as he’s gone from stable enforcer, to midcard job guy, to essentially a carbon copy of Rocky Maivia. All of these gimmicks are completely missing the boat on Langston’s enormous personality, but time will tell if they find a way to let him show it before his momentum fades out and he becomes another Swagger.
But while Swagger may have lost any hope of becoming the talent he was capable of becoming, the man can still turn in a really good match against the right opponent, and these two clicked right away. The fans were into it from start to finish and were very hot for Big E, especially when he came up with a suicide dive/spear out of absolutely fucking nowhere that earned him a well deserved, “Holy Shit” chant.
The finish was terrific too, with Big E reversing the Patriot Lock into a beautiful Enziguri, before dropping Swagger with the Big Ending to the delight of the fans, and to the mustache twirling disbelief of Zeb Coulter.
I’ve been beating the “Big E Langston is the next big thing” drum here at Cewsh Reviews for quite some time now, and matches like this just validate what I saw in him right off the bat. If he can string together a great series of long undercard matches like this, then you’ll have a big guy with a big personality who can have big matches. That’s the dream, man. That’s the dream.
82 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Cewsh: The Uso Brothers have quietly grown into one of the most exciting tag teams in the world over the past year. For whatever reason they never seem to be able to actually get the tag team titles, but they’ve put together such a great bunch of matches, and have gotten crowds so behind him, that I think that keeping them away from the titles is actually intentional, so we can have a great moment when they finally break through and win them.
This was a pretty tame match for them, as the New Age Outlaws are obviously limited in the ring. The Outlaws are also perhaps the worst heels in wrestling at the moment, as their entire spiel is hugely over with the fans, making it impossible for anyone to boo them. But despite all that, this is still a fun undercard match that makes the Usos look good in the loss, and that’s about all you can expect here.
70 out of 100
Artie: The UCE-OHS are pretty god damn over considering they were Main Event (on Ion) main eventers just about 6 months ago. This one starts off slow with some non-sense back-and-forth and a brief dance-off between Jey Uso and Road Dogg. We get a nice spot where Jey EATS the god damn turnbuckles after a hip-toss, but then this match slows to a crawl as Outlaws wrestle a 1998 pace tag team match. The crowd does not care and chants for CM Punk instead. Eventually, we get Jimmy in on a hot tag and this poor boy jumps, ducks, dips, dives, and screams to get the crowd hot again, which works for a bit. Well, at least until Road Dogg distracts him for Billy Gunn to get the pin and the win.
Cewsh: Over the years there have been a number of tag teams who captured the public’s imagination with their great rivalries, terrific matches, and long lived partnership. Sadly, the Prime Time Players are not one of those teams. Don’t get me wrong, I have always enjoyed the antics of these two together, and i’ve noted before that it really seems like Titus O’Neil might have the tools to become a big time star for WWE. But this is one of the most criminally underused acts in WWE history, occasionally getting attention, and then going huge stretches without any television time whatsoever. Every time it looked like they might get their foot in the door, (Darren Young coming out, the brief tag team resurgence in 2011,) they found themselves shut down just as quickly, with no real progress to show for it. So when it came time to split up the team, WWE just did what they always do with these two: they reintroduced them for 5 seconds and then expected people to care. After one squash match loss, Titus turned on Darren, beating the hell out of him and ending their partnership for good. Which leads us directly to this match without ever passing go or collecting $200.
The problem with this match is not what they’re doing, so much as it’s what the crowd is not doing. Which is to say, that the crowd isn’t doing anything, because they don’t give 1/10th of a shit about this match. This breakup wasn’t sold as a big deal on television neither guy was given any real time to sell how devastated they were by it, and so this just becomes a forgotten match taking up space on a card where there’s no chance of it receiving any attention.
Once upon a time, JTG and Shad found themselves up against the same circumstances, and delivered with a shockingly great strap match that still earns praise from me to this day, but for whatever reason, Titus and Darren just don’t bring that same intensity to this. Darren makes for a severely bland babyface in his current role, and Titus is still finding his feet as a solo performer, and there was no heat on this match to begin with. So honestly, with all that working against them, it’s probably a compliment that they got the score that they did.
61 out of 100
Artie: God damn it, I am hard. Straight up, HARD. The crowd is so hyped that they’re chanting THIS IS AWESOME and the match has not even started. These two teams are literally just STARING each other down.
In the ring, we get a classic 3-on-1 beatdown from the Wyatts, but as Bray places Reigns in the sister Abigail, Roman powers out Samoan drops him with authority. Roman Reigns superman punches left and right, as he lays motherfuckers down. Reigns sets up for his big nasty spear on Bray Wyatt, but that rascally Luke Harper jumps in and takes the move instead, allowing his leader to ambush Reigns and hit the Sister Abigail for the 1-2-3.
Cewsh: This match was amazing. AMAZING. If I sat here with you and watched it frame by frame, I would find a hard time picking out any real flaws, as these 6 men descending into a whirlwind of chaos for 20+ minutes, and everyone watching came out as the victors.
Honestly, I don’t even know where to start with the praise. Is it with Roman Reigns, who has set himself up as a near invincible destroyer, and who once again steals this match away from people with years more experience? Is it with Bray Wyatt, who continues to show a grasp of character and ring psychology that is simply out of this world? Is it with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, who have become masterful at playing their roles and highlighting everyone around them? Is it with Seth Rollins, who had the single finest performance of his entire career in this match? Hell, is it with Dean Ambrose, who is putting in the finest work of his career as the jealous and conflicted powder keg of the Shield? Hell, let’s let it be all of them, because as the crowd makes very clear before these two teams even get into the ring, this is completely, completely awesome.
It’s pretty clear that the Shield aren’t going to be around much longer, and despite how deserving each guy is of a singles push, it will be damn sad to see them go. It’s very possible that the Shield are the finest in ring stable in wrestling history, having never, EVER turned out anything short of a jaw dropping match when all three are collected. WWE captured something special in them, and believe me, they know it. Now all that’s left is to watch them all ride it to the top, where they belong.
Oh, and fucking seriously, guys. This was the single greatest moment in wrestling this year.
94 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Cewsh: We go backstage where Christian is getting interviewed, and does everything short of looking into the camera and saying, “Hey guys, i’m a heel now, just so you know.” Sadly, the announcers seem to be playing this up as some kind of ambiguous grey area for the man. That’s probably not the best tactic, since Christian might be the least interesting member of the entire active roster right now, so expecting the audience to care about a subtle change to his character, is like asking someone to care about the O-Zone layer when there’s a badger clamped onto their ball sack. They could, sure, but you’re probably going to need to fix the main problem first.
Cewsh: Let me be clear. Cameron was not ready for this match. I’m not trying to bury her or say that she’s entirely useless, because her tag matches with Naomi have actually been pretty good. But this match made it abundantly clear that she is not ready for a singles match live on PPV. Much less one that has to follow the amazing match that preceded this. Her offense was sloppy and dangerous, her selling was spotty, and she was so out of position for the spot where Tamina kicks AJ by mistake, that everyone but AJ seemed completely confused by what had actually happened. It was a mess from start to finish, despite AJ’s ardent attempts to stir life into it by hamming it up for the crowd and bumping like a maniac. AJ tried throughout this match to sell the story of an arrogant champion who underestimates a babyface underdog. It’s a classic wrestling trope that has worked a million times before; but if your babyface really is as bad as the heel champion suggests that she is, then all you have is misery. And then to have the match end in a fucking disqualification…
I know that WWE was put in a bad spot when Naomi got injured, and I would have been happy to see AJ and Naomi wrestle here, because I happen to like women’s wrestling, and I think both AJ and Naomi are terrific. But this made everyone, from the wrestlers, to the announcers, to the promotion itself look bad for 10 minutes. After a triumph like Shield/Wyatts, it stings all the more.
22 out of 100
Artie: Lol, these poor girls had to follow that six-man with this unhyped match? Yikes. Cameron sucks, AJ is kinda great.
Grade: P for great piss break.
Artie: Del Rio comes out on crutches and ambushes Batista. He still loses. The crowd chants BOO-TISTA. I really don’t care.
Cewsh: This match blew harder than an Alabama steam cleaner. How is your mom by the way?
60 out of 100
Artie: Ok, after the great six-man tag from earlier, this PPV took a serious nose-dive. The Elimination Chamber match could be the only redeeming feature of the final hour of this PPV. Let’s see!
Cewsh: Look, when it comes down to it, Daniel Bryan was the person who got the focus here. It took a ridiculous dose of interference and two RKOs in order to put him down, and the last thing we were left with on the broadcast was Michael Cole channeling his very best Jim Ross and screaming about how Bryan had this one and about how unfair it all is to Bryan. In past months it hasn’t always been clear where exactly WWE has been going with this Bryan thing, but after this show it has actually become very clear. Daniel Bryan is the next top guy. They have made that so clear that it’s almost painful by pushing him in the most segments, mentioning him on every program, and by putting him in high profile matches time and time again. The only issue is WHEN, and it looks like their timing is working against them, as waiting until next Wrestlemania would be waiting far too long, but giving him his moment at Extreme Rules, or something similar, just wouldn’t feel right. WWE booked themselves into a corner with this and they have a limited amount of time to book themselves out. But either way, the moment IS coming, and WWE seems more and more sure of that with each show that goes by.
But just having that knowledge isn’t enough, is it? Because WWE has tapped into something interesting within internet wrestling fans. Daniel Bryan isn’t just the choice of smarks, he has come to represent them. He’s a powerful symbol for that section of the fanbase in the opposite way that Cena used to be. His success would represent validation from WWE both for Bryan and for those internet fans who have felt voiceless for years, even while their voices were the loudest. Those people do not seem to feel inclined to wait for this storyline to play out, and people like Rey Mysterio and Batista are just casualties of of this mass hysteria of impatience that has gripped a wide swath of the fanbase. Whether you think that phenomena is hurting the product or helping it is something truly subjective but, if nothing else, it’s a fascinating thing to watch.
86 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Cewsh: Well we’re one step closer to Wrestlemania, and yet I still have no clear idea of where we’re going. This show really didn’t clear any of that up at all, except to solidify that Randy Orton and Batista would be having a match for the title. But even if this wasn’t the edifying experience that I was hoping it would be, this is still a solid show with one fantastic, sparkling match on it that will be remembered fondly for years to come. Considering the history of this show is strewn with throw away nonsense, this might actually be one of the better ones in recent memory. Not that that’s saying a ton.
Artie: Gah, this is a tough one to grade. On one hand, there were 4 matche on this PPV that range from OK to just flat-out uninteresting. Of the 3 other matches, 2 were good and 1 was GREAT. Due to these factors I give this PPV a SOLID…
Well that’ll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed our coverage of one of the many shows where half nude men wrestle in a cage on PPV. Next up we have one of the many long delayed reviews that we have been keeping from you due to our cruel, sadistic nature, and there’s no way to know which one it’ll be until showtime. Savor the mystery! But until then, remember as always to keep reading and be good to one another.