WWE: Elimination Chamber 2014 (TAG TEAM REVUE EDITION~!)

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WWE: Elimination Chamber
February 23, 2014
Minneapolis, MN
Target Center

The current WWE champs are as follows:
WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Randy Orton (12/15/2013)
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Big E (11/18/2013)
WWE U.S. Champion: Dean Ambrose (5/19/2013)
WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws (1/26/2014)
WWE Divas Champion: AJ Lee (6/16/2013)

Me and Kyle Fitta are TAG-TEAMIN’ this PPV. No standard recapping tonight. Enjoy.

Your hosts are Michael Cole & JBL.

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  • WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E pinned Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) to retain with the Big Ending in 11:50.

Kyle: An ever so slightly below-average opener. It was a pretty much a by-the-book WWE match. The basic formula for the WWE style does a good job of camouflaging the wrestler’s weaknesses, but it does not really accentuate their strengths. This was also an example of what can happen when something is overly choreographed. After all, the wrestlers were so busy trying to execute every already planned out move, they almost completely ignored the crowd and forgot to inoculate their personas into the bout. To be quite honest, Swagger reminds me of Kurt Angle (and not in a good way). Both of their finishers are the Ankle Lock, but for some reason, they never weaken the ankle before using it. **¼

Matt: There are certain guys you like strictly because of what they can do inside the ring, there are some you like strictly because of what they can do on the mic, and then there are the greatest of all-time wrestlers that are the complete package. Call me crazy, but I like Big E strictly for what he can do inside the ring. I think, down the road, he has potential to be very good. He has the explosive power of a Ron Simmons, for example. In this match, Jack Swagger did a good job of making Big E look really good without compromising himself. Big E took everything he had for him and came out with the win. While you never thought Big E would tap, the anklelock spot came off okay, I thought. The only part that was kind of silly was the enziguri kick from Big E straight into the finish. That came off a little weak to me as it isn’t like Owen Hart doing the enziguri kick in 1996 whereas Big E doing it doesn’t really mean anything, but everything else was perfectly acceptable wrestling. **½

Bad News Barrett appears on his phallic stage and announces that Russia has won more gold medals at the Winter Games than America.

HULK HOGAN IS BACK IN THE WWE AND GOING TO HOST WRESTLEMANIA! $100 says he’ll be world champ at Extreme Rules.

In the back with Byron Saxton, Daniel Bryan tells us that despite his shoulder injury and not being 100%, he will go all out and will head into WrestleMania 30 as the WWE world champion. This gives the audience a chance to say “yes” a lot.

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  • WWE Tag Team Champions the New Age Outlaws defeated the Usos to retain after Gunn pinned Jimmy with a roll up in 8:34.

Kyle: This was pretty bad. I cannot believe WWE is pushing the New Age Outlaws in the year of 2014. They must be lifting weights with HHH or doing something non-PG with him. The NAO’s heat segments came across as directionless due to their plodding and antiquated offense. The Usos tried like hell to make this entertaining with their energy and sick bumps, but NAO’s are honestly not even able to be carried anymore. The finish was anti-climactic to boot. *

Matt: Let’s face it: the New Age Outlaws are transitional champions of getting the titles off the Rhodes brothers and onto the Usos. It was either happening here or at WrestleMania. Some are saying on Raw, but I would love to see their talents rewarded on the biggest stage of the year. I enjoyed this more so than Kyle did. The Usos made the champs look good (which is really the reverse of what should happen) by taking some pretty cool bumps during the major heat segment. The hiptoss to Jey into the corner looked good and was acceptable here. As for the crowd, this is where they start to turn on the show as they chant for other wrestlers. Of course, our esteemed commentators ignore everything. This turned into a little bit of a mess by the end. Billy Gunn just seemed “off” tonight. More so than he did at the Royal Rumble. Anyways, Gunn pins Jimmy with a cheap rollup finish to essentially just prolong the inevitable until WrestleMania. *½

Bad News Barrett appears again to tell us some bad news for Daniel Bryan fans. He’s not going to win the WWE world title tonight, the crowd will turn on Bryan, and the YES movement will cease to exist. We should have listened to him.

Lawler and JBL show us how EASY it is to use the WWE Network.

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  • Titus O’Neil pinned Darren Young with the Clash of the Titus in 6:19.

Kyle: I don’t even understand why these two broke up. The PTP were a serviceable tag team. I hope WWE isn’t serious about pushing O’Neil, because he isn’t going to get over. Even if they put a rocket launcher on his back, he will end up like Ryback because WWE won’t put him over their top-tier stars. The match was as bad as you likely expected. ¾*

Matt: This, sadly, is not a match that is necessary for a PPV. The feud wasn’t hot to begin with and didn’t seem like it even needed to happen. Being the guy who was stabbed in the back, Darren Young needed to have way more fire that he just didn’t show here, and the crowd turned on the match as a result. Some guys are just mid-level tag team wrestlers, and that is what these two are. While they may have been the Primetime Players, they are not ready for PPV. ½*

AGAIN, we are interrupted by Bad News Barrett. Hulk Hogan is returning to WWE, but his once red-hot spotlight will forever be dimmed by the extraordinary charisma and athletic skills of Bad News Barrett. Well with all of Hulk’s surgeries, the “athletic” part is probably true.

We go over to the expert panel of Josh Mathews, Mark Henry, The Miz, and Rey Mysterio. They make ordinary comments on what we’ve seen thus far.

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  • The Wyatt Family defeated the Shield after Bray pinned Reigns with Sister Abigail in 22:42.

Kyle: Thankfully, this was on this PPV because the fans were on the verge of completely turning on it. The slow build at the start was smart, as it allowed them to dictate the match (not the fans). The Wyatt Family was good during the heat segments and at cutting off potential comebacks at the appropriate times. Everyone did an A-1 job at creating suspense for the hot-tag to Reigns. And I must say: his energetic offense made it worth the wait.

After the Wyatt family took Ambrose and Rollins, the match transitioned into a different story, which was whether or not Reigns could overcome the three-on-one odds. I kind of thought that Reigns should’ve put up a more courageous fight since WWE are planting the seeds for him to huge monster babyface run. He should at least him kicked out of one Sister Abigail. However, aside from that small nitpick, this was a well-done NWA southern tag match, except with state-of-the-art moves and modern-day characters. ****

Matt: The crowd was chanting “this is awesome” before the bell even sounded. This match is exactly what wrestling is all about: building two teams up separately and having them meet at the top for one big fight that everyone wants to see. While the Wyatts are booked as what the Shield once was, each member of the Shield had their own role to play here. Ambrose has been seen lately as the weak link of the crew, Reigns believe he will be the breakout star of the group and his partners are just holding him back, and Rollins is just trying to keep everything together. Ambrose and Rollins work as faces in peril and Reigns tries to get the match back on track for his team. The Wyatts do a great job of controlling their opponents, but I find those parts of the match being a tad boring. They don’t do enough to make the wrestler being controlled really work for that hot tag. While their control segments might be a little slow, they do a good job of taking the crowd up and down thinking a comeback is soon. Rollins was the unsung hero of this match. He did an awesome back flip to avoid a Super German Suplex from Harper and then blasts him out on the floor with a follow-up suicide dive. Once Reigns gets the hot tag and the match breaks down, he takes out Harper again this time with a great somersault plancha. What happens from there is Bray Wyatt brawls with Ambrose out into the audience and we never hear from Ambrose again. When Bray comes back to ringside, he orchestrates Rowan and Harper to double-chokeslam poor Rollins through the announce table. That leaves Reigns all by himself with the Wyatts. Just as it looks like the end is near, Reigns avoids Sister Abigail and cleans house. He sets up Bray for the Spear, but Harper sacrifices himself and takes the Spear instead. Bray seizes the moment and runs down Reigns to set up Sister Abigail for real this time for the win. This just had an amazing amount of action, great storytelling, and the right atmosphere for me. Match of the night. ****¼

In the back, Christian tells Renee Young that he’s a desperate man who will do desperate things to win the WWE world title tonight.

  • Cameron defeated WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee (w/Tamina Snuka) by DQ after Tamina clotheslined Cameron at 3:57.

Kyle: The fans needed a ‘get your popcorn, take a piss break match’ after seeing the Wyatts vs. Shield. The work-rate was very piss-poor, but at least kept short. DUD

Matt: A cool down match, for sure. AJ tries to get some heel heat by making fun of Naomi “breaking her face”. Cameron comes out to her friend’s defense. Paint by numbers match here until Tamina superkicks AJ by accident. At that point, Tamina has to get AJ DQ’ed by clotheslining Cameron to prevent AJ from losing the Divas title. Hey, I like seeing AJ Lee, so I didn’t mind that this match happened. This was no worse than the Divas title matches we see every week. ½*

ANOTHER Bad News Barrett appearance to tell us that the launch of the WWE Network will be the downfall of American society.

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  • Batista pinned Alberto Del Rio with the Batista Bomb in 7:05.

Kyle: WWE is trying so badly to get Batista over as a sympathetic babyface, but he wouldn’t be cheered right now even if he saved a bunch of children and puppies from a house fire. This was a generic undercard Raw match. Nothing special. They are going to have to do something with the WWE title match at WrestleMania because the crowd is going to shit all over Batista vs. Orton. **

Matt: WWE gets exactly what they deserve for this debacle. You spend the three years building up new talent only to bring back freaking Batista to win the Royal Rumble and go straight to the main event of WrestleMania expecting no one to mind. Alberto Del Rio wears street clothes, walks out on a crutch, and wears a cervical collar to try and weasel out of this match. Of course it’s all a ruse and he attacks Batista with the crutch. This match really never gets off the ground because the crowd accepts only Del Rio as the face despite working as the heel. They chant everything to try and let WWE know that they do not want to see Batista. At one point, they call him “BOO-TIS-TA” for the most memorable chant of the night. I don’t know how long this was supposed to go, but it only goes seven minutes as Batista finishes off ADR with the Batista Bomb. *½

Over at the expert panel, they make their Elimination Chamber picks. Henry thinks Sheamus, Miz goes with Bryan, and Mysterio believes Cesaro will win.

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  • Elimination Chamber: WWE World Champion Randy Orton defeated Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Sheamus, Christian, and Cesaro to retain the title after pinning Bryan with an RKO in 37:33.

Kyle: This was good, but not particularly memorable until John Cena entered. Then, the energy and intensity quickly elevated, as there was a feeling of urgency and desperation. The wrestlers began trying to deliver the deathblow to each other. Orton had a target on his back because everyone wanted to eliminate him. However, overcame that in a heelish manner by taking every shortcut he could. The whole thing was a nice story-arc.

Even in defeat, Bryan came across courageous and resilient. He almost won despite of the injured shoulder, Wyatts’ beatdown, and Kane interference. Orton and Bryan had a great sequence at the end there. Even though Orton winning was almost a foregone conclusion, there were moments where I thought Bryan was possibly going to win (especially after he kicked out of the RKO). This, overall, was a very satisfying main event. ***¾

Matt: I’ve always been a fan of Elimination Chamber matches. Getting a bunch of guys together in a match inside a cage has endless possibilities. Cesaro and Sheamus beat the heck out of each other for the first five minutes to start. Bryan explodes into the chamber next doing his usual shtick. Christian comes in next and works over Bryan’s shoulder. Cena enters next and he’s immediately ambushed by Bryan with a headscissors off the top, which was odd. Neat spot as Cena crossbody blocks Cesaro when he goes for the Giant Swing on Christian, which causes Christian to be catapulted into the corner. Some creative multi-man spots appear that look awesome. Orton comes in as the last entrant only to be retreat back into his pod. This pisses off Sheamus the most as he Brogue Kicks through the pod, which might be the best moment of the match. Now everybody takes turns on Orton. Christian climbs up to the top of a pod and splashes Sheamus for our first elimination in over 25 minutes. Next up, Bryan lands the Busaiku Knee Kick on Christian to send him to the showers. Some great stuff between Cesaro, Cena, and Bryan follow. Cesaro taps to the STF to eliminate him. Now here is where the match goes off the rails for me. Orton gets put in the STF as well by Cena. Just as that happens, the Wyatt family appear inside the Elimination Chamber to attack Cena again. Orton jumps on the pin after Sister Abigail to get rid of Cena. When Corporate Kane comes down to shake his finger at the Wyatts, Bryan gives him a flying knee. Well, that ultimately sets up his own demise as Kane prevents Bryan from winning as Orton pins Bryan with an RKO. The wrestling was fantastic, but the moment the Wyatts appeared, the match never left you thinking Bryan was leaving Minneapolis with the WWE title. That doesn’t mean I think Bryan SHOULD HAVE won the WWE title. With the amount of love Bryan has received over the past year and to make up for the short and embarrassing loss he suffered to Sheamus two WrestleManias ago, he deserves to win the WWE title once and for all at WrestleMania 30 and the fans who have stuck behind him deserve it as well. ****

FINAL THOUGHTS

Kyle: The undercard was a giant snooze fest. WWE’s undercard wrestlers really do not know how to tell a story or get the crowd invested into what they are doing. Their matches come across as if they just wrote a bunch spots on a napkin before the match, as there is not any emotion behind the moves. It also does not help one bit that most of the undercard wrestlers are going through the motions because they do not want to botch any of the spots. Frankly, both the Shield vs. Wyatt’s Family and Elimination Chamber matches saved this from being another lackluster PPV.

Although this PPV did end with a few intriguing questions heading forward, such as: What are the motives behind the Wyatt Family’s attack on Cena? Did the Authority put them up to it? Is Daniel Bryan going to get another crack at the title, or is this all building towards Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania? And if so, are they really going to book a title match that nobody wants to see?

I am giving this PPV a mild thumbs up. Even though the undercard was bad, the main events delivered.

Matt: No surprises here. The matches that sold the PPV were awesome, but the rest is hardly significant. I believe Kyle said all that needed to be said here. Two four-star matches makes Elimination Chamber 2014 an automatic “thumbs up”.

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Posted on February 24, 2014, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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