The SmarK DVD Rant for Satan’s Prison: The Complete Anthology of the Elimination Chamber
Setting aside the fact that the title sounds like a bad Tarantino B-movie homage, you had to figure that they’d be coming out with this collection sooner rather than later. This is basically just a collection of the matches in chronological order, hosted by Todd Grisham. A quick word on video presentation, as much of these matches are from the HD era and thus presented in 16×9. However, the older stuff is 4×3, and just like on the Ricky Steamboat DVD, the matches are presented window-boxed with “Elimination Chamber” graphics on the sides of the screen to fill the space. Either leave it black or let the DVD player handle it, production monkeys.
Anyway, I never thought this was such a hot idea for a match in the first place, but they sunk a LOT of money into developing and building the equipment, so you knew it was going to be a yearly thing whether we liked it or not. The one thing that REALLY bugged me, however, was the series of nicknames given to the match, none of which any fan ever has ever called it outside of the WWE marketing offices.
RAW World title: HHH v. Shawn Michaels v. Chris Jericho v. Booker T v. Kane v. Rob Van Dam. (Survivor Series 2002)
I would be remiss in not noting how gay HBK is looking tonight, complete with his girlish haircut, tights-and-cowboy-boots look, and 120 pound frame. I mean, seriously, I’m not one to advocate drug use, but sometimes you need to shoot up with roids in order to give the match SOME degree of cred. I’ve seen Jeff Hardy look more butch than Shawn. HHH and RVD start the match, with five-minute intervals for the other guys. The small bolt holding the main door shut reminds me of the Rhino cages on the Simpsons. Rob gets a leg lariat to start, and kicks away. HHH comes back by USING THE KNEE, and gets backdropped onto the grating while trying the Pedigree. Rob stomps him down and sends him into the main door a couple of times, breaking the high-quality lock clean off. So much for craftsmanship. Rob monkey-flips him onto the grating (it kinda detracts from the intensity when you do three flips before a move), and gets Rolling Thunder onto the grating. Back into the ring, Rob climbs above Jericho’s cage (you have to question THAT wisdom) and of course gets tripped up as a result. They head back down again as Rob gets a sloppy somersault dive off the cage, only making contact in a general sense. HHH eats the cage again and they head back in, as Jericho joins us after the first interval. Rob hits him with a leg lariat and a standing moonsault for two. Springboard dropkick and Rob dumps Jericho, then follows him out with a dive that misses. He grabs the cage like Spider-Man (as noted by JR and King), and follows Jericho back in. HHH nails him with a lariat, however. Jericho hits RVD with a backdrop suplex, but Rob fights back on both heels. Jericho hits him with a senton for two. HHH tosses Rob again and they ram him into the cage and generally beat him down. HHH whips Jericho into Rob, but it misses and Rob hits both of them with kicks to come back. HHH DDTs him as we await the entrance of Booker T to hopefully get this thing moving a little faster. Booker cleans house and stops for a Spinarooni, then does a sequence with RVD that ends with a spinkick that gets two for Booker. Rob spinkicks him for two. Blind charge misses and Booker sidekicks him for two. HHH comes back in, but gets axe kicked. RVD goes up to the top of an empty cage for the frog splash, but physics is NOT his friend, as he runs out of room and blows the move, driving his knee into HHH’s throat as a result. Hebner gives the dreaded “X” sign to indicate legitimate injury, and HHH takes a breather while Booker hits Rob with a missile dropkick for the pin at 13:39. I think RVD blew out his knee on that move, too. Booker covers HHH for two. Jericho chops away on Booker and bulldogs him, but misses the Lionsault and gets hit with a MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER. Booker gets two, and Kane is in next. Weird thing: The order of entrance into the ring is the same as the order of entrance into the match. Kane gives Booker a corner clothesline and tosses Jericho into the cage. Next stop: The plexiglass, which turns out to be less bulletproof than advertised. Kane pounds on HHH and blocks Booker’s sidekick, then chokeslams him. Jericho Lionsaults Booker for the pin at 17:40. Note to everyone still holding out hope for a Booker push: Give it up. Kane and Jericho fight on the cage and Jericho gets slammed back into the ring, while HHH lies around and bleeds. You know, if HHH was injured, he should have just been a professional and bowed out of the match early and actually put someone over rather than waiting to give the Almighty Rub of God to his best friend. Kane slams HHH off the top, but Jericho goes low and gives him a missile dropkick. Shawn arrives on the scene and cleans house (which is a pretty ridiculous visual given the size difference) and hits Kane with the flying forearm. JR’s assessment: “He’s not quick, he’s sudden” Well, that certainly clears it up. Kane chokes Jericho down and chokeslams everyone, but goes for exactly zero pins. A superkick, a Pedigree and a Lionsault later and Kane is gone at 22:52. Poor Kane is always booked to look like an incompetent boob, and they wonder why he never gets over. Jericho sends Shawn into the cage a few times and opens a cut (using verbal encouragement for good measure), and HHH tosses Shawn. Some cheese grater action results. Back in, Jericho abuses Shawn while HHH does nothing, but looks REALLY INTENSE while doing it. Shawn fights back and goes for a piledriver on the grating, but Jericho backdrops out of it. Back in, Shawn hits HHH with his forearm (time to update the moveset, Shawn, it’s the 21st century), but gets Lionsaulted for two. Shawn gets a moonsault press for two. He puts Jericho in a Boston Crab, but HHH DDTs Shawn to break it, and Jericho gets two. The heels fight over the pin and HHH uses the knee for two. Pedigree is reversed to the Walls, but Shawn superkicks him to break it, which was a pretty obvious spot. Jericho is gonzo at 30:44. HHH & Shawn slug it out, and HHH gets the MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER for two. Shawn charges and gets dumped, but they fight over the Pedigree and Shawn gets catapulted into the plexiglass. Back in, HHH gets two. They slug it out again and HHH gets yet another facebuster and dumps Shawn. I think they’re running out of spots to use tonight. Another Pedigree attempt is reversed to yet another catapult, which is like the fifth one in the match. Nice bald spot, Shawn. Back in, Shawn goes up and drops the big elbow off the cage, almost adding his contribution to the “kill HHH fund” in the process, and the band is warming up. He passes a move to HHH via Hebner on-camera, telling him to tell HHH to block the first one. And indeed, HHH blocks it and hits the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but doesn’t go for the pin. He finally gets two. Another try is reversed by Shawn to the superkick, and he wins the title at 39:21. A good first effort, but it didn’t seem like it would be enough to justify the cost of the apparatus in the future. ***1/4
RAW World title, Elimination Chamber: HHH v. Randy Orton v. Chris Jericho v. Goldberg v. Kevin Nash v. Shawn Michaels. (Summerslam 2003)
They don’t even bother to explain the rules this time, which is pretty stupid. Goldberg is so pumped that he slips on the way to the ring. Jericho starts with Michaels in the ring while the other four are locked away. Shawn elbows out of a hammerlock to start, but Jericho rolls through a cross body for two. Shawn backslides him for two. They work off a headlock and into a pinfall reversal sequence (possibly for Flair’s benefit at ringside) and Shawn tries a sunset flip, blocked by Jericho for two, and reversed by Michaels for two. They slug it out and Michaels backdrops him, but Jericho goes for the Walls. Shawn reverses for two. Jericho bulldogs him but misses the Lionsault, and recovers with a clothesline. Again with the goofy title lineage, as JR notes that this title has only changed hands once in Arizona – the Halftime Heat match in 1999. But that’s the WWE title, which is the one held by Angle, not HHH’s made-up belt. They’re totally different things. Randy Orton is in next and dropkicks Shawn out, but gets chopped down by Jericho. Orton takes him down with a neckbreaker for two. Jericho with an enzuigiri on Shawn for two. Orton dropkicks him down and stomps away. He sets up for the RKO, but gets backdropped out and Jericho stomps away. JR notes that with flesh on steel, steel wins. I’d like to see Yu-Gi-Oh cards to back that assertion up. Jericho gets the Walls on Shawn as Big Blondie is next in, and he slugs everyone down. Jericho gets speared into the cage a few times and eats COLD, UNFORGIVING STEEL. Sideslam on Orton gets two. Short-arm clothesline on Shawn gets two. Big boot for Jericho sets up a Poochiebomb, but Shawn superkicks him over for the pin at 8:09. Nice to see Big Kev earning his pay out there. However, just because he has to be a role model for children everywhere, he throws a tantrum and powerbombs everyone to keep his nonexistent heat. Next in: HHH, sort of. Shawn immediately superkicks him, and it’s such a powerful one that he ends up unconscious for about 10 minutes. This match is like a grade school primer on how to play political games in wrestling. Everyone is dead and buried from the awesome power of the Poochiebombs, but they manage to crawl back to life and slug it out. I’m surprised they weren’t instructed to stop and cut a promo about how lucky they were to not have Nash in there to beat them up any longer. Goldberg is the last man in and he kills everyone, which shockingly, SHOCKINGLY, gets him over with the crowd. Press spinebuster on Orton, but Jericho and Michaels try a double-team and get clotheslined. Spear for Orton gets rid of him at 13:01. Jericho tries a missile dropkick and gets two, but Goldberg presses him into the cage. Shawn gets in Goldberg’s face and gets whipped into the corner for his troubles. Goldberg then deals with Jericho, spearing him through the mini-chamber, albeit not very cleanly. Shawn tries making a comeback, dropping an elbow and prepping the superkick, but the stomping only gives away his position and the spear and Jackhammer send him back to meet Jesus at 15:21. Jericho is dead and buried already, and the spear and Jackhammer are academic at 16:05. HHH hides in his chamber, as Flair goes nuts trying to prop the door closed and kick him out, but Goldberg kicks in the plexiglass to break him loose. He never learns about punching and kicking glass, does he? Goldberg pounds on him for a bit, but sets up for a spear and falls prey to the SLEDGEHAMMER OF DOOM and gets pinned at 19:15, thus sucking all the life out of a previously-hot crowd. Match was more energetic than the first EC thanks to shorter intervals, but as a match wasn’t as good and didn’t tell as good a story. ***
RAW World title, Elimination Chamber: Chris Jericho v. Chris Benoit v. Batista v. Randy Orton v. HHH v. Edge. (New Year’s Revolution 2005)
So our first two guys are Benoit and Jericho. Benoit takes Jericho into the corner to start and they fight over a lockup, and Jericho takes him down. They trade headlocks and go back to the lockup. Jericho breaks with a knee and pounds on him, but Benoit fires back with a chop or two or ten, and so does Jericho. Benoit takes him down and gets reversed to the Walls, but fires back with the german suplex, and when Jericho blocks that he tries the crossface. Jericho blocks that and Benoit counters by taking him down for a beating, but Jericho escapes. Jericho hits him with the Flashback for two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Jericho goes up and Benoit follows, and the result is a superplex, and 5:00 is up. Next in, it’s HHH, and he lays out Benoit and slugs away in the corner. He whips him into the other corner and then hits Jericho with a high knee and gets two on Benoit from another whip. Jericho starts throwing chops in response, but eats a lariat out of the corner. They head to the outside, where HHH sends Benoit into the chains and then goes after Jericho. Benoit starts an admirable gusher. Well, when in Rome. HHH sends him back into the chain, and gets two. Jericho saves him from a Pedigree, and then backdrops HHH onto the steel surrounding the ring. Out there, he drops HHH backfirst on the steel, and then suplexes him back into the ring again. That gets two. Benoit reappears with a neckbreaker on Jericho for two, and the (late) timer counts Edge into the match. Quick story about Edge: The original plan for the first Chamber match in 2002 was for Edge to get eliminated from the three-way tag title match early, jump to RAW mid-show, and replace Shawn Michaels (who would be injured by HHH) to win the title from HHH in his place. Anyway, Edge cleans house on everyone, but gets dropkicked by Jericho, and Jericho chooses to cover HHH for two. Why he’d do that, I dunno. He hits Edge with a springboard dropkick and goes back to Benoit, hitting him with a knee to the gut. HHH lays out Edge with a knee of his own and tries a Pedigree on the steel, but Edge reverses to a catapult into the steel and goes up with a flying clothesline on Benoit that gets two. Jericho starts bleeding elsewhere as Benoit takes Edge down with a crossface attempt that gets blocked. Jericho comes back in with an enzuigiri on Edge for two. HHH hits Jericho with a spinebuster for two. Benoit gets a northern lights suplex on Edge for two. HHH hits Jericho with a KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but Randy Orton is in to save before he can make the pin. Orton goes up with a high cross on HHH and hammers away, and then stomps a mudhole in the corner. He dumps HHH and tosses him into the chain, as everyone else lays around. Jericho tries to intervene and gets RKO’d, but Benoit goes for the crossface to counter another attempt. HHH taunts Orton, so Benoit releases and puts HHH in the Sharpshooter instead. Man, there’s a time and place for the badmouth, and we just learned what it WASN’T. Orton breaks that up by RKO’ing Benoit. Edge, still fresh, sets up Orton for the spear, but misses and hits Shawn instead. He gets another one on Orton, but there’s no ref. He probably lost his smile. Edge argues with him and gets superkicked. That doesn’t seem legal. Lionsault gets rid of Edge at 19:21. Next victim looks to be Jericho, but Benoit breaks up the Pedigree with the rolling germans (en Espanola) and he climbs to the top of the cage and hits the diving headbutt on HHH. Jericho then puts HHH in the Walls and Benoit adds the crossface for the MOST AWESOME SUBMISSION MOVE EVER, but Batista is in last. HHH hangs on until he can be saved by Batista, and Dave is ON FIRE. He tosses everyone with a pulse and hits Orton with the MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER, and then the crowd goes nuts when HHH is the only one left standing. However, it gets broken up by Benoit and Jericho, so he kicks their asses. Then, in the coolest spot I’ve seen all year (sure, it’s only 10 days old, but…) he press-slams Jericho into the CAMERAMAN. Now that’s badass. He chokes out Orton until Benoit clips him to save, and the faces all work Batista over until Jericho rolls up Orton for two. HHH sends Orton into the chain, but then gets bulldogged by Jericho while Batista makes Benoit his bitch. Figuratively speaking. Benoit fights back and sends Batista into the cage, and HHH starts bleeding next. Things really slow down at this point, as Batista then saves things by getting the spinebuster on Benoit, then a spinebuster on Jericho, ON BENOIT, and pins Benoit at 26:17. That’s two unique power moves from Big Dave tonight. Jericho is game to fight back, but gets powerslammed, powerbombed, and powerpinned at 27:39 to leave Batista, Orton and HHH, aka the Wrestlemania main event. Batista’s next victim is Randy Orton, and he sends him into the cage, and HHH catapults him into it as well. Orton does a girlie blade job (it’s PUERTO FUCKING RICO, you wuss) and Evolution starts working him over. Batista gets a powerslam for two. HHH adds a spinebuster for two. HHH stands him up and knocks him down with a nasty lariat for two. Batista hammers away as the match kind of grinds to a halt again, but Orton fights back on his own. He tries the RKO, but HHH shoves him into Batista. Orton goes low and gets the RKO for the pin at 32:33, however. Beating Batista is a really bad idea right now. The crowd totally turns on Orton for that, in fact, since Dave’s the guy they believe in right now. Orton and HHH battle by the cage and HHH eats cage a few times before eating an RKO, but Batista is still in the ring and kills Orton dead with a lariat before KICK WHAM PEDIGREE gives HHH World title #10 at 34:57. Orton is booked like such a loser now it’s not even funny. Well, kind of funny. Match was lots of fun and the best of the series thus far, but needs about 10 minutes of dead spots shaved off it to achieve the kind of instant classic status that the WarGames matches all had until the 90s killed them off. ****
RAW World title: John Cena v. Kurt Angle v. Shawn Michaels v. Kane v. Carlito v. Chris Masters. (New Year’s Revolution 2006)
Joey Styles endears himself to his core audience, I’m sure, as he declares that this match is more hardcore and brutal than anything he’s seen in 7 years as ECW’s voice. He must be a ventriloquist, because otherwise it’d be impossible to talk with Vince’s cock wedged down his throat all the time. Michaels is course the first guy in, and he starts with Cena, who gets an amazingly bitter reaction. Shawn works the arm to start, but gets slugged down, which draws MEAN boos. Not even good-natured jeering, but real hatred. That’s cold, man. It takes some specific hatred to even boo individual punches. Shawn whips him into the corner for two. Shawn then calls a reverse into the corner, while standing in front of the camera, and lo and behold that’s what happens. You’d think he would stop doing that after all these years. Cena clotheslines Shawn out of the ring, as Carlito is next into this thing. He attacks Cena to a babyface reaction, but dives at Shawn and misses. He comes back with a Flatliner on Cena for two, and slams Shawn off the top for two. Carlito suplexes both guys to control things by himself, but Shawn rolls him up for two. Cena slugs away and now I think the crowd is just booing him because everyone else is doing it. Cena & Shawn double-team Carlito with a flapjack, giving Cena two. Another double-team and now it’s Angle time! German suplexes for everyone! It’s a Boxing day sale! Do Americans get that reference? Anyway, Shawn gets suplexed onto the steel, as does Carlito, and Angle catapults Shawn into the cage. Blood results. Angle sends him into the plexiglass for good measure, but Cena makes the comeback. Angle suplexes him to the delight of the crowd, and then goes after Carlito. The Angle Slam is reversed, but the anklelock is not, and Carlito has to hang on until Chris Masters enters the match to save him. He cleans house and tries the Masterlock on Angle, but that’s not smart. Anklelock time, but Cena breaks, so Angle puts HIM in the move instead. The crowd goes apeshit for that, but Shawn superkicks Angle to break…and pins him at 13:39? What’s up with that bullshit? Carlito and Masters work Cena & Michaels over with their lame offense, and Shawn eats cage as the Shitty Wrestler Alliance beats on Cena. The match is definitely feeling a gaping void already without Angle. Kane is last into the match and cleans house, but gets caught by Masters on the top. He gets the clothesline anyway and chokeslams both victims. Carlito and Masters continue their guerrilla warfare and overwhelm him, but he no-sells it. Finally Masters presses Carlito onto Kane, and they dogpile him for the pin at 19:26, beyond even Kane’s zombie powers to save himself. I should note that most of Shawn’s output thus far has been lying around and bleeding, which is why the match isn’t great or anything. Carlito & Masters work Shawn over, but he comes back with the flying forearm and fights them off. Flying elbow for Cena, but he’s got nothing left. And indeed, hitting the superkick takes the last out of him, and Carlito & Masters again jump him and quickly hit Carlito’s finisher on him for the pin at 23:36. Interesting strategy there, actually. Sadly, it leaves John Cena against Carlito and Chris Masters for a major title. Cena comes back against all odds, as usual, and now the crowd is cheering Chris Masters to win the WWE title. Think about THAT. Cena tries the FU on Carlito, but Masters breaks. He DDTs Cena on the steel and they go to work on him with a double suplex and double backdrop suplex off the middle rope. It appears to be Masterlock time, but Carlito turns on his partner with a low blow for the pin, and then Cena rolls up Carlito for the pin to retain at 28:27. I hate rollup finishes in major matches, especially when there’s TWO of them. Shawn did nothing here and Angle didn’t have a chance to do anything, so the results weren’t great. **3/4
Speaking of not great…
ECW World title / EXTREME Elimination Chamber: Big Show v. Rob Van Dam v. Bob Holly v. Test v. Lashley v. CM Punk (“ECW” December to Dismember 2006)
So we start with RVD v. Holly, and Rob clotheslines him before walking into one of Holly’s. Rob slugs away, but gets whipped onto the STEEL walkway, where he does the Spider-Man spot by clinging onto the chains, before missing a dive at Holly and clotheslining himself on the ropes. Holly sends him into the chains and goes up, as though anyone would expect him to hit a splash onto the steel like that. And indeed, Rob gets his foot up in the spot I hate so much. Rob follows with a nice Rolling Thunder over the top and onto the steel, but Holly suplexes him back into the ring. That gets two. Holly gets the dropkick for two, but CM Punk is the next guy into the ring. He springboards in with a clothesline on RVD to wake up the crowd, but Rob hits him with the chair and monkey-flips him onto it. Punk ducks a spinkick and legdrops RVD onto the chair, albeit in an awkward spot. He puts the chair in the corner and sends Rob into it, but goes after Holly and gets sent into the chains outside. That gets two for Holly. Back in, sideslam gets two for Holly. Holly suplexes Punk on the top rope and turns his attention back to RVD, but then superplexes Punk, which allows RVD to sneak in and get two. And Holly gets two as well. Punk isn’t exactly getting much offense here.
Next into the trainwreck: Test and his crowbar. Punk takes more abuse as a result and Test works on Rob’s cut with it, but Rob keeps fighting. He superkicks Holly and gives Test an EXTREMEly protected chairshot, then dropkicks the chair at Punk, who is looking like the extreme jobber. Frog splash gets rid of Punk, and the crowd is PISSED. Test boots Holly for two, but Holly disappears so I guess that was a pin. Rob hits Test with a dropkick and goes up on top of Big Show’s pod, which allows Test to hit him with a chair and bring him down the hard way. Test also goes up onto the pod and drops an elbow to finish Rob at 13:58. And if you thought the crowd was pissed before, that’s nothing. Who booked this crap? I guess the idea is supposed to be Lashley fighting against all odds against Heyman’s goons, but C’MON.
Next up, it’s Lashley and his table, but Heyman’s hired goons prevent him from coming in. Fine by me. Lashley comes in via the top of the pod and goes after Test, and he’s a house of fire! He whips Test into the pods, but Test comes back with the choke in the corner. Lashley boots a chair back at him and throws his dizzying array of clotheslines, then grabs a crowbar. Uh oh, black guy with a crowbar. Spear finishes at 19:46, and we’re left with everyone standing around while we wait for Show’s pod to open. Why even wait for the rest of the minute? It’s not like it’s some big shock who’s coming out last.
And yes, Big Show is the last guy out, and he’s got a barbed wire baseball bat. Lashley blocks the BAT OF RAGE with a chair, but Show gets his bat caught in the chains and loses it. Lashley sends him through the pod’s “glass” and Show starts bleeding, but he tosses Lashley back into the ring to take over. Clothesline and AAAAAAAAAAAAHchokeslam, but Lashley reverses into the DDT. They slug it out and Show misses a charge, and Lashley spears him for the pin and the title at 24:47. *1/2
Show could barely even move out there, and Lashley was never really put in any peril, as all the work was done for him by the other guys. Even worse, the rest of the match was disorganized and poorly booked, with people that the crowd had no interest in seeing. This was supposed to be a big deal, but the crowd is so burned out that they barely even pop for it.
Undertaker v. Batista v. Finlay v. MVP v. Big Daddy V v. The Great Khali (No Way Out 2008)
Sadly, I never saw this PPV, so this is my first exposure to this match. It doesn’t look promising. Winner faces Edge at Wrestlemania for the Smackdown World title. Or ECW World title if an ECW guy happens to win. Yeah, I know. Batista starts with Undertaker and pounds him with shoulders in the corner, but Taker tosses him over the top and into the cold unforgiving forged steel fence. Or, as those of us who aren’t Michael Cole would say, the chains. Back in, they slug it out and Taker puts him down with a big boot and chokes away in the corner. Batista fights back and wins a slugfest, then puts Taker down with an elbow for two. They knock each other out with a big boot as the first 5:00 period comes to an end, and Big Daddy V is next in.
He hits both guys with chops and samoan drops Taker, but doesn’t go for a pin. Instead, he decides to chops at Batista in the corner as Cole questions the conditioning of V. I hope they pay him well for insight like that. V headbutts Taker on the apron and the sell is so dramatic that Taker goes right through the door. I question the physics of that. Avalanche on Batista in the corner as this boring segment continues, but Batista gets a spinebuster out of nowhere in a visually impressive spot. He clotheslines Big Daddy out of the ring and pins him at 9:00. He tries the same thing on Taker, but only gets two. And next in is Great Khali, as the crowd groans again. So it’s the same story again, with the monster beating on both Batista & Undertaker and giving UT the tree slam for two. Same deal with Batista. He follows with the KONA KRUSH on Batista, but the Animal goes low and spears him to escape. Taker makes the comeback and finishes Khali with the Gobot Ladder. So it’s back to UT & Batista again. Taker gives him a boot on the apron and gets two. Nice spot as he drags Batista across the steel apron. That’s slightly uncomfortable!
Finlay is the next cannon fodder into the match, but he manages to dodge a charging Undertaker and tosses Batista to the apron again. Celtic Cross gets two on Undertaker. Another Cole-ism: The steel grating around the apron is “concrete-like”. I’d say it’s more like steel. Back in, Undertaker clotheslines Batista and Finlay sneaks in for two. He fights with Taker out to the apron and rams him into the fence, and that gets two. He runs Taker into the unbreakable plexiglass, which breaks, but Batista suplexes Finlay back into the ring for two. MVP is the next guy in, and Undertaker immediately destroys him, before he even gets out of the pod. Batista pounds on Taker in the corner, but MVP sneaks in with the running kicks on both of them and gets two on Undertaker. He chokes Finlay out for two. Coachman’s turn for stupidity: “Even though everything is legal, I don’t think anyone expected MVP to use that chain!” Yeah, that’d be CRAZY for him to choke a guy out with the giant gold chain around his neck. MVP gets arrogant and jumps to the top of the pod, but Taker chokeslams him off the top and Finlay pins him to get rid of him.
Undertaker misses an elbow off the top, which allows Hornswaggle to throw the shillelagh in for Finlay, and that gets two on Batista. Taker has had enough of these Irish shenanigans, however, and chokeslams Finlay for the pin. So that leaves Undertaker and Batista, and they slug it out until Batista is able to get the Batistabomb for two. But then he stupidly hammers away in the corner, and it’s Last Ride for two. Undertaker uses some ground-and-pound on Batista, but Batista tosses him and then drives his head into the chain. However, in a spectacular reversal, Taker pulls himself back into the ring from Batista’s shoulders and reverses into the chokeslam for the pin at 30:00. I’d have much rather just seen an Undertaker-Batista match than have the four dead weights in there, so this kind of fell in into the middle of the road for me. ***
HHH v. Umaga v. JBL v. Jeff Hardy v. Chris Jericho v. Shawn Michaels (No Way Out 2008)
This would be the RAW half of the Chamber matches for this show, and the potential looks much better here. Jericho starts with HBK, back when Jericho was a babyface with long tights and referees still had names. How times have changed. They trade chops and Shawn gets a sunset flip for two, which turns into a cool series of reversals and a northern lights suplex from Jericho for two. Shawn bridges out of that and into the backslide for two. They trade chops and a chunk of commentary is edited out for some reason, before a slugfest leads to Shawn going up with a flying elbow that hits knee. Jericho with a Lionsault that is blocked by knees in turn, but Jericho one-ups Shawn with a Lionsault attempt. Shawn reverses to a Sharpshooter, and Jericho reverses that into a small package for two. Hey, they should put these two together in a program, it might win Feud of the Year and produce some **** matches. The first period is up, and Umaga is the next guy in.
He runs through both Y2J and HBK, hitting them with a double clothesline, but Shawn saves Jericho from the samoan drop by diving on top. But then Umaga just hits both of them with the samoan drop, which is pretty awesome. Umaga gets rid of Shawn and concentrates on Jericho, beating him down before going outside to buttdrop Michaels on the steel. Back in, Umaga slugs Jericho down, but misses a splash, and Shawn goes up with the flying elbow on him. Jericho tries to capitalize with the Walls, but Umaga threatens to power out, so Michaels puts the crossface on the other end of Umaga, and how does that not get the submission? More importantly, how do you not immediately make Shawn and Jericho a tag team and have that be their finisher? Either way, JBL is the next one in. JBL was feuding with Jericho in a totally forgettable program at that point, so he goes right after him, while Umaga beats on Shawn outside. And there’s blood! Quick, someone make a Youtube video and use it against Linda McMahon! Call Mattel! So the heels are absolutely kicking the shit out of the babyfaces as HHH is the next one in.
He hits JBL with a facecrusher and runs Umaga into him, then it’s a spinebuster for anyone standing and a DDT on JBL for two. He runs Umaga into the corner and up into the pod, but Jericho hits HHH with a bulldog. Lionsault misses, but JBL hits HHH with the clothesline from hell. Codebreaker on JBL finishes him, however. That was a great sequence. JBL is nothing if not reasonable and fair, however, and returns with a chair to murder everyone in the match with shots to the head. Everyone bleeds, as we get blood AND chairshots to the head in the same match. Umaga was the only one dumb enough not to protect himself, though. After all that, Jeff Hardy is the last one in and he goes on the offensive with all his stuff on everyone. Umaga ends the run with a thrust kick, and hits Jericho with that stupid spinning uranage that was all the rage a few years ago. He hangs HHH in the Tree of Woe and whips Shawn into him. Jericho is recovering against the pod, so Umaga hits him with the running butt splash and breaks the plexiglass. Again. That would be much cooler had they not wasted that spot in the Smackdown match. Umaga rages in the ring, but superkick, Codebreaker, Pedigree, and Swanton Bomb in sequence all combine to give Jericho the pin. Shawn superkicks Jericho and Hardy pins him in turn. Hardy hits Shawn with the Twist of Fate and finishes Shawn with KICK WHAM PEDIGREE. So that leaves Hardy v. HHH.
HHH tosses him to the apron, but Hardy comes back with a DDT out there and rams HHH into the chain a bunch of times. He dives at HHH and gets caught, but backdrops HHH into the ring again and goes up. Swanton misses, and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE and HHH gets…two? So he grabs a chair and tries again, but Jeff reverses out. HHH reverses again and KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finishes to give us yet another HHH v. Randy Orton match at Wrestlemania, albeit with John Cena thrown in. And that was it for Hardy’s main event push until late in the year, when they suddenly pulled the trigger and put the belt on him out of nowhere. This was a hell of a deal, the first real example of a Chamber match that lived up to the potential. ****1/2
Smackdown World title, Elimination Chamber: Edge v. Undertaker v. HHH v. Jeff Hardy v. Vladimir Kozlov v. Big Show
So we have Edge and Jeff Hardy starting as JR stumbles all over explaining the rules. It’s been 7 years, you’d think they would have it down by now. Jeff gets a pair of clotheslines, but Edge puts him down with a big boot for two. A splash on the ropes gets two. Edge smacks Jeff around in the corner and mocks Big Show, but Hardy takes him down with an atomic drop into the low dropkick. Twist of Fate and Jeff goes up already, but misses the swanton. Edge sets up for the spear, but Hardy rolls him up for the pin at 3:05. Huh. Surprised we’ve never seen that finish before. Edge is shocked at losing his title, but given all the title changes I’m sure he’ll get it back soon anyway.
So next in is Kozlov and he pounds away on Hardy in the corner and puts him down with a headbutt. He runs Hardy into the cage a few times in the gentlest manner possible, then tosses him into the ring for two. Headbutts in the corner and he follows with a blockbuster slam for two. Note to Kozlov: Sneering before every move isn’t the same as charisma or ring psychology. Backbreaker gets two. Kozlov bearhugs him on the mat and elbows him down, but Hardy dropkicks him into the corner and follows with the mule kick. Whisper in the Wind and finally it’s time for someone who isn’t awful to come in. Oh, wait, it’s Big Show, never mind. Show and Kozlov double-team Jeff and pound him down, giving us cute series where they each try to abuse Hardy with more impressive stuff. Finally Kozlov takes his moment and puts Show down with the headbutt, and they slug it out. HHH is next in and he fires away on Show and puts Kozlov down with the high knee, then hits the spinebuster on Show. Hardy tries to sneak in with a Twist of Fate, but HHH puts him down again with a clothesline. 3-on-1 is NOTHING to HHH! He runs Kozlov into the cage and tries the Pedigree out there, but Show breaks it up. I agree with JR — why bother stopping him? Back in the ring, Show gets a sideslam for two. Meanwhile, Kozlov drops elbows on Hardy. HHH escapes a chokeslam, but walks into a press slam instead. Show runs him into the cage and splashes him against it, then runs Hardy into HHH as well. Sadly, he misses another charge and puts himself down.
Back in the ring, HHH and Hardy team up with a double-team suplex on Kozlov, and it’s Undertaker time. He drops Kozlov with Snake Eyes and follows with the big boot, then hits Hardy and HHH with corner clotheslines. Show attacks him from behind, however, and Taker comes back with a DDT on the steel outside the ring. Finally Kozlov puts him down with a headbutt and pounds him in the corner with elbows, but it’s Last Ride from there and Vlad is done at 23:00. OK, he’s been pinned, he’s not undefeated, so shut up about it announcers. HHH recovers and tries to Pedigree Show again, but he gets backdropped to the steel. Show tosses Hardy onto HHH for good measure. Hardy climbs to the top of the pod to escape and Show follows, but you have to think that’s a bad idea. And indeed Undertaker brings Show down with a superplex. Show’s still moving, so KICK WHAM PEDIGREE and a swanton from the pod put him out at 26:12.
Hardy misses a Whisper on Undertaker, so HHH and UT slug it out in the corner and HHH bumps to the steel as a result. Taker goes Old School on Hardy, but HHH brings him down to break it up. Hardy catapults himself off the recovering Undertaker and hits HHH with a plancha, but Undertaker is having none of that shit and tombstones Hardy out of it at 28:35. Note to self: Never launch off Undertaker when he’s laying on the mat. Apparently it upsets him. So we’re down to HHH v. Undertaker, which we actually haven’t seen in so long that it’s interesting again. Taker boots him down as JR dubs this match “Satan’s vacation house in Hell.” That’s uh, quite the metaphor. Taker charges and crotches himself in the corner, allowing HHH to ram him into the cage, but Taker comes back with the chokeslam. That gets two. Taker follows with Snake Eyes, but runs into the spinebuster and HHH gets two. HHH sends him into the cage and tries a Pedigree, but Taker catapults him into the cage to counter and they trade tombstone attempts before Taker gets it. But HHH’s foot is on the ropes at two. From a kayfabe perspective, you have to have huge balls to do that. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE gets two. They slug it out in the corner and the crowd doesn’t really know what to do here. Taker puts him down, but HHH fires away in the corner. Don’t people KNOW not to do that? Last Ride, but HHH escapes and KICK WHAM PEDIGREE wins him the title at 35:58. I kinda want to see HHH v. Undertaker at Wrestlemania now. Without the Kozlov stuff it’s an easy Match of the Year, but it’s still excellent even with it, especially once it was down to the last four guys. ****1/2
Elimination Chamber, RAW World title: John Cena v. Chris Jericho v. Rey Mysterio v. Kane v. Mike Knox v. Edge
Edge attacked Kofi Kingston and took his place during the ring entrance, which actually draws a good reaction from the fans. Probably because he’s smarter and cooler than everyone else right now. So the match starts with Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio. Jericho takes Rey down with a headlock, but Rey monkey-flips him and sets up for the 619. Jericho escapes that, but Rey somersaults into him and they go into the cage. Rey slugs away in the corner, but misses a blind charge and hits the post. Jericho with a suplex for two and goes to a chinlock, but Rey fights up. Jericho tries to catapult him into the cage, but Rey grabs on in the Spider-Man spot and hits Jericho with a rana from there. Butt splash gets two. Bulldog and Kane is the next man in. Kane puts both guys down and hits Rey with a sideslam for two. Low dropkick gets two. Kane goes after Jericho and clotheslines him to the steel outside, then rams his knee into the floor. Rey attacks Kane from behind and baseball slides him, but Kane pounds him down again. Rey fights off both Kane and Jericho, but Kane sets up for a chokeslam on Rey. Rey reverses that to a 619 on Kane and Jericho hits Kane with the Codebreaker, allowing Rey to hit the flying butt splash and pin him at 9:47.
Next in, Mike Knox. He goes after both Jericho and Rey and drops a knee on Jericho for two. Jericho backdrops him out of the ring, but tries a bodypress and gets rammed into the cage as a result. Rey sneaks up and dives at Knox, but he goes into the cage too. Back into the ring and Knox uses the clubbing forearms on Rey, but walks into a Codebreaker to thankfully get rid of him at 14:40. So next in is Edge, and Rey attacks him before he can even leave the pod. Rey with the high kicks, but he runs into a Jericho clothesline. Jericho puts Edge down with a bulldog and elbows Rey down, but Lionsault misses. Edge-o-Matic gets two on Jericho. Edge tries the spear on Rey, but misses, and Jericho’s attempt at another sneak Codebreaker misses this time. Rey and Jericho fight to the top, and Edge follows, giving us a Tower of Doom spot that doesn’t get over as well as they were probably hoping. And finally John Cena is the last man in and he hits Edge with a belly to belly suplex and Jericho with a fisherman’s suplex. Backdrop suplex for Edge sets up the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but a Codebreaker breaks up the FU, and Edge pins Cena with a spear at 22:22. HUGE face pop for that.
Rey fights off both heels and gets a rana on Jericho, then hits a 619 on Jericho and runs Edge into the post. West Coast Pop is blocked by the Walls, but Rey rolls up Jericho for the pin at 23:55. So it’s Edge v. Rey Rey, and Rey dodges a spear and gets a rollup for two. Bodypress gets two. Low kick gets two. Tornado DDT gets two. Edge puts him down with a big boot and tries a powerbomb on the steel, but Rey reverses to a facebuster and gets a rare inverted 619, hitting the move on the back of Edge’s head. He charges again, however, and Edge launches him into the pod, and that should about do it. Spear, new champion at 29:45. First 20 minutes were shit, but everything past Cena’s entrance made up for it. ****
RAW World title: Sheamus v. John Cena v. Ted Dibiase v. Kofi Kingston v. Randy Orton v. HHH (Elimination Chamber 2010)
Kofi starts with Sheamus and gets a crossbody for two, and a dropkick for two. Kofi slugs away in the corner with forearms, but gets put down with a shoulderblock. Sheamus hiptosses him onto the apron, but Kofi lands on his feet and comes back with a high cross for two. He tries a sunset flip, but Sheamus blocks it and pounds him down for two. They fight onto the apron and Sheamus rams Kofi into a pod, and back into the ring for a backbreaker that gets two. Sheamus chokes him down as HHH is the next one in. He slugs it out with Sheamus and puts him down with the high knee, and the kneedrop gets two. Corner clothesline for two as Lawler reminds us that you can only pin someone inside the ring. Since when? Sheamus comes back and tries the Razor’s Edge, but HHH escapes with a neckbreaker for two. Kofi, who was apparently dead all this time, returns with a high cross on Sheamus for two. He pounds on Sheamus in the corner and follows with a clothesline, then hits HHH with the springboard boomdrop on the apron. “Not the BOOMDROP!” declares Cole. He hurts himself in the process and Sheamus gets two. Randy Orton is the next one in and goes right after Kofi, then adds a Garvin Stomp on Sheamus. DDT on HHH gets two. Quick question: Randy Orton and Junior Dos Santos are twin brothers split up and sent to different families at birth, right?
Orton pounds on Sheamus outside the ring, and blocks a Kofi springboard dropkick with a dropkick of his own. HHH comes back with a facecrusher, but Orton catches him with the powerslam and sets up for the RKO. That misses, and Kofi kicks Orton into a Pedigree attempt. Orton backdrops out of it and then backdrops Kofi to the apron, but Sheamus runs him into the post. Next guy in is Ted Dibiase, and he hits HHH with the family fistdrop and then goes to Orton…and helps him up. So Legacy works together and goes after HHH in the corner, then they tie Kofi into the fence by his dreads. That’s unique. They ram HHH into the fence and Orton gives him the middle rope DDT onto the apron, then they go trash-talk Cena until he enters the match. He cleans house on Legacy and FU’s Dibiase onto the steel, but Orton saves and attacks from behind. Should someone get an EMT to check on Sheamus? He’s been gone forever. Cena slaps the STFU on Dibiase, but Orton saves and sets up for the RKO. Cody heads out and gives Dibiase a steel pipe, but he hits Orton by mistake and then decides to pin him, because why not? That ended up being a whole big steaming pile of nothing when all was said and done, which is a shame because the pop for Dibiase turning on Orton was pretty good. Kofi recovers and hits the wacky kick on Dibiase to eliminate him right after.
Sheamus puts Kofi down with the bicycle kick and finishes with the Razor’s Edge. He goes after Cena next, but walks into an FU, which he reverses into a backbreaker for two. He hangs Cena in the Tree of Woe and pounds him with knees, but HHH goes low on him. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE and the champ is done, leaving us with Cena v. HHH for the title. Yes, again. Cena puts the STFU on HHH, and he taps to give Cena the title yet again. Kind of slow in the middle, but generally enjoyable. ***1/2
BUT WAIT! One last twist, as Vince McMahon offers congratulations, but makes an immediate title defense against Batista. I don’t like Cena’s chances here.
RAW World title: John Cena v. Batista
This was the proper start of an awesome heel run for Batista. Cena acts like he’s half-dead, but you just don’t buy Cena’s selling, especially with the announcers upping the elapsed time of the Chamber match with every sentence. But indeed, Batista spears him and finishes with the Batista Bomb to reclaim the WWE title and set up a damn good rematch at Wrestlemania.
Smackdown World title: Undertaker v. Rey Mysterio v. John Morrison v. Chris Jericho v. R-Truth v. CM Punk (Elimination Chamber 2010)
So we’ve got Punk and Truth starting out here. Punk gets a quick backdrop suplex for two. Truth comes back with the flipping high kick to put Punk onto the apron, and he follows with a somersault plancha off the top. Not really much room to move there, but still nice. Punk eats the cold, unforgiving steel and they head back in, but Truth misses a spinning body attack of some sort, and Goes 2 Sleep. Please let Punk cut a promo now! And yes indeed, that’s what he does, talking shit to everyone who is locked behind the glass. Rey Mysterio is the next one in, and he immediately flies in with a springboard bodypress for two. Low kick gets two. Punk misses a blind charge and Rey sets up for the 619, but Punk counters into a powerslam for two. Rey reverses the GTS into a rollup for two, and Punk bails to the apron. Rey follows with an attempted rana, but Punk swings him into the fence in one of those Wargames-style spots. That gets two back in the ring.
Punk continues abusing Rey by running him into the pod, and they fight for the superplex on top. Rey brings him down and climbs to the top of the pod, but Punk tries for a GTS from the top. Rey escapes from that and takes Punk down to the apron with a rana instead, then eliminates him with the flying splash. So it’s over to Jericho, who clotheslines Rey for two. Faceplant sets up the Lionsault, but it misses and Rey gets the 619. Jericho escapes to the apron and Rey dives out for the Spider-Man spot on the fence, but Jericho hauls him down facefirst. It’s kind of a boring heat segment on Rey as Jericho works him over, but Rey spins into a guillotine choke (which Matt Striker calls a “dragon sleeper”) and Jericho reverses into the Walls with John Morrison in to make the save. Quick rant: Morrison is one of the most clear-cut recent cases of a guy who I was starting to get invested in as a character completely getting lost in the shuffle and seemingly losing all focus. And yeah, a lot was the fault of the booking, but there was also something to be said about his stupid finisher and terrible interviews. Anyway, Morrison gets his highspots in to mostly silence from the crowd, but he misses a charge and ends up on the apron. He hits both Rey & Jericho with a diving clothesline and back in for a standing shooting star press that gets two. There’s another example of my disappointment in him – something that even 10 years ago would have been a killer finish has become nothing more than a lame spot for a near-fall. He does a freakin’ SHOOTING STAR PRESS and can barely get the crowd to pop for it. By contrast, Miz took a severely limited toolset (to be diplomatic) and is on the verge of being a major star.
OK, enough on that. Rey sets Morrison up for the 619, but walks into a backbreaker from Jericho that gets two. Morrison hits Jericho with his springboard kick (another killer finish 10 years ago that means nothing now) and follows with Starship Pain on Mysterio to eliminate him. I would not have guessed that. Morrison gets distracted by the Undertaker, however, and Jericho puts him in the Walls as a result. Undertaker is the last man in, and makes the save, going right for Jericho. Snake Eyes and big boot set up the legdrop for two. Jericho and Morrison come back with a double suplex on UT, then team up to clothesline him out of the ring. Morrison turns on Jericho and rolls him up for two, but gets backdropped onto the grating. Jericho slaps the groggy Undertaker around , and then runs like hell for a pod to hide. What a great coward heel spot. So with Jericho hiding, Taker goes after Morrison exclusively, only to walk into the springboard kick. Morrison follows with Starship Pain, but lands on the knees because he’s a MORON who should have gone for the pin.
Taker comes back and runs Morrison into the pod so as to prove a point to Jericho, and then tries to powerbomb him on the grating, but Jericho chooses to leave the pod now and save, running Undertaker into another pod. In the ring, Morrison hits a Shining Wizard on Jericho for two, but walks into a chokeslam on the grating from Undertaker. And that about does it for Morrison. And here I thought he might be going to Wrestlemania to defend the World title. So that leaves Undertaker v. Jericho, which the crowd is surprisingly subdued about. Taker pounds away in the corner, but misses a blind charge, allowing Jericho to superplex him. That gets two. Another quick rant since this is boring: Matt Striker really is as terrible as advertised. The whole match he’s trying to get himself over as some kind of Gordon Solie and it gets increasingly obnoxious. Jericho reverses a chokeslam into the Walls, then fights off a LadyGaga attempt into the Walls, which Undertaker fights out of again. Jericho bails and Taker hauls him back in for a tombstone attempt, but Jericho turns it into the codebreaker for two. Jericho stupidly pounds away in the corner and falls victim to the Last Ride. Undertaker goes for the finish, but Shawn Michaels pops in from under the ring, superkicks Undertaker, and Jericho pins him to win the World title. That reign proved to be disappointingly short and uneventful. I was also pretty disappointed with this match because the crowd was dead and the elimination of Mysterio kind of sucked the life out of things, but the finish proved to be the best one for business. ***1/2
So not a great DVD set, but it’s one where the quality is strictly limited by the quality of the original matches. It promises a complete collection of Chamber matches, and that’s what you get. I’m pretty indifferent to the gimmick as it really only produces great matches if there’s great workers, and you can generally say that about most wrestling matches in general. The only two un-screw-up-able gimmick matches remain the Royal Rumble (unless you’re Vince Russo) and WarGames, and hopefully we get an anthology of the latter. As for this one, much like the Hell in the Cell set, 9 hours is a LOT of Elimination Chamber to take, so buyer beware. Mildly recommended.
The SmarK DVD Rant for Satan’s Prison: The Complete Anthology of the Elimination Chamber