WWE’s Elimination Chamber usually provides fans with two exciting, brutal matches where top stars from each brand step up and challenge for the WWE and World Heavyweight Titles. They are matches full of exciting spots where the superstars pull out all the stops. It’s rare that a chamber match fails to entertain, or at least, make the pay-per-view worth watching.
Last year’s Elimination Chamber matches saw Wade Barrett, Big Show, Drew McIntyre, Kane, Rey Mysterio and Edge from Smackdown and R-Truth, Randy Orton, Sheamus, John Morrison, CM Punk and John Cena from Raw. Pretty big names and fairly exciting matches, certainly entertaining and worth putting fifty dollars down.
2012 proves to be much less promising. The Raw chamber match will involve WWE Champion CM Punk defending against Chris Jericho, The Miz, R-Truth, Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston. This isn’t a bad lineup, although it is lacking somewhat in star power. Punk and Jericho are the two big names. The Miz, despite his previous run with the WWE title has been relegated to little more than a midcard jobber, for the time being. Dolph Ziggler was in the midst of a hot run when he lost to CM Punk at the Royal Rumble in a burial and then came into the Royal Rumble match to get his ass handed to him by Kharma, he hasn’t been the same since. R-Truth is clearly a mid-card comedy act. Sure, Truth has skill in the ring and can probably make it look good, but he certainly isn’t treated that way. Kofi, well Kofi has been branded a midcarder ever since his potential feud with Randy Orton was put on the back burner, Kofi has never full rebounded.
This match could be great and exciting, but does anyone truly believe that anyone other than Punk or Jericho has any chance of winning this match? If you’re constructing a match where the point is supposed to be that anyone could win, you might want to either fill the chamber with people the fans could believe might actually win, or actually push some of your participants so they feel like more of a threat! (I know, WWE, pushing is a sin for young talent.)
The match will probably still be great, but a lot of the fun is wondering who could walk out with the title. There’s always one or two people you know won’t win, but usually the chamber has three or four guys you think could take it. This match lacks that probability of a surprise finish.
So, the Raw chamber is looking all right and shows some potential. Turning our attention the Smackdown Chamber, it doesn’t take long before the head shaking begins. The Smackdown chamber consists of: World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan, Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Big Show, Great Khali and Santino. That’s right, Santino. Daniel Bryan has been booked as the run-away, scared heel who wins through nefarious means. Wade Barrett was receiving a nice push, but Randy Orton pretty much put an end to that. Big Show is.. well who knows what is going on with him from week to week? He went from feuding with Daniel Bryan to performing in random matches. Great Khali and Santino. A giant joke and a normal sized joke. Putting these two in the match immediately eliminates two participants as being likely to win. More on this later. Cody Rhodes has been extremely impressive in his Intercontinental Title run, but it seems incredibly unlikely that he gets the belt. Ultimately we’re left with a high probability that Bryan retains, and the rest of the guys just bounce around. There isn’t even anyone in there who is known for showing the flash and flare that comes along with Chamber matches. Is the Smackdown roster truly this shallow?
Khali and Santino. Here are two guys who haven’t been taken seriously in years and have been relegated to being jokes, literally jokes. These guys being in the Chamber match is not only an insult to people who are going to put their hard earned money down to buy this PPV, but also to other people on the roster who don’t get the opportunity to step up in their place. I can’t, for the life of me, understand the logic behind this. I could, however, see this being a curveball where something reminiscent of Edge occurs with a different wrestler (A returning Alberto Del Rio or Christian, maybe Mark Henry) assaults one of these guys on his way to the ring and takes his place. That, I could buy.
Either way, this years Elimination Chamber seems to be lacking something that they have had in previous years. Aside from the chamber matches, we’ve got John Cena feuding with Kane in an Ambulance match. As much as I enjoy Kane, this storyline has been so silly and full of so much overacting that it’s hard to take it seriously. Simultaneously, it’s hard to imagine Cena losing on his way into his Wrestlemania match with the Rock. Ultimately, does anyone really care what happens in this match?
There is a Diva’s title match on this show with Beth Phoenix defending the title against Tamina Snuka. This could really be an entertaining match, assuming WWE is willing to give it more than five minutes of time. This seems unlikely, but a guy can hope.
So that’s Elimination Chamber, 2012. It really speaks volumes about the current state of WWE. Nothing feels as special or important as it should, nothing feels like it is must-see TV. Nothing feels like it is at a place where it will blow your mind. The Royal Fumble started the year off on a slow step and if Elimination Chamber fails to deliver, the Road to Wrestlemania could be a detour.
Winning Predictions: RAW Chamber: Chris Jericho. Smackdown Chamber: Daniel Bryan. Cena vs Kane: Cena. Beth Phoenix vs Tamina: Beth Phoenix.