December 17, 2012
Doctor's Orders: December 17, 2012 - Satan's Structure and the Seven Deadly Sins
By The Doc
Sep 26, 2012 - 7:05:32 PM
"Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with…Some men just want to watch the world burn."
The sight should be familiar to you by now. There have been enough Elimination Chamber matches over the course of the last ten years that one look at all those chain links ought to invoke some memories. December 2012’s version might have jumped to the top of your list.
After last night, that match is no longer about the look of the gimmick. It has evolved. The imposing nature of the structure remains, but it needed something of greater substance to sustain itself for another ten years. Much like a relationship, the physical attraction wore off a long time ago and a deeper connection was warranted or else there may not have been a tie that bound. The WWE tried to do what they’ve done with the Royal Rumble and simply make the Chamber synonymous with Wrestlemania, but the experiment was only marginally successful. The logic of having your top stars compete in arguably your most dangerous and physically taxing match just 6 weeks prior to Mania was faulty at best, so moving it to December was branded a sound business decision. Perhaps they should continually move it, depending upon when a logical reason comes about for its use.
An Elimination Chamber, in theory, was the best way possible to have a match for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship without interference from the man stripped of the title six weeks ago: Cody Rhodes. The disgruntled ex-champ has found ways to prevent anyone and everyone from claiming that which he did not lose. Neither banning him from ringside, threatening to fire him, nor making steel cage matches could keep Rhodes – or someone willing to do his bidding – from crashing the World Championship party. They considered bringing back Hell in a Cell, but what would’ve been the point? He already proved that his savvy far overrides the confines of what amounts to merely a large, linked fence. The Chamber was, thus, welcomed back and, though it did not keep him away, it did accomplish the goal of keeping him out; there was a new World Champion crowned.
Satan’s Structure returned on the same night of the resurrected PPV named Armageddon, which took place just five days prior to the Mayan calendar’s date for the end of the world. A maniacal man’s mental masochism has, according to some pundits, ended the WWE as we knew it in the PG era. Last night, his actions were representative of but one of the seven deadly sins. The other six took shape in the forms of CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett, Sheamus, Sin Cara, and Daniel Bryan. A half dozen men set their goal to capture the ultimate prize, but at the cost of an objectionable vice. And what of the dastardly Cody Rhodes? Well, it made for a fascinating story…
Sin Cara vs. Dolph Ziggler
Sin Cara’s participation in a match of such importance was questioned from the start, but one could not deny the roll that he has been on since Rey Mysterio took him under his wing. Mysterio has taken the time to teach Cara some of the basic things necessary to succeed outside of Mexico. For starters, he has instilled in him a quiet confidence in his ability that had been missing for much of the sensation’s first 18 months in the WWE. Mysterio taught Cara that the lucha libre style will thrill the American audience as long as it is smooth and at least 90% well-timed. Cara has, subsequently, cut down on many of the mistakes that earned him ridicule from critics and fans. Speculation has run wild that Mysterio intends to retire and wants to leave the Latino fan base with a masked superstar to carry on the legacy that he has built in his ten years in the WWE, but he insists that such claims are premature. He says that he just saw a guy in need that could use his help.
The thing about Sin Cara, though, is that he never felt like he needed the help. He felt like, all along, he should’ve begun the transition toward replacing Mysterio – that he was the draw that the Mexican fans wanted to see and that he was the luchador whose masks the kids should be wearing. Mysterio, an obstacle standing in the way of his success and his millions of dollars to be made, stepped directly into his spotlight when he asked the WWE to start teaming with him. So, not only is he still around, but he’s there no matter where Cara goes. He even asked if Cara wanted him to come down to ringside for support during the Chamber match. Under the guise of “needing to go this one alone,” Cara managed to nix that idea. He wants Rey’s spot, though. He covets thy fellow masked superstar’s position in the company and the best way he can make that happen is to win the World title.
Cara’s envy immediately clashed with Dolph Ziggler’s lust for the main-event. It was once passion that drove the Show Stealer to achieve great things. That was before he tasted success in the wrestling business. In any sport, there is an inescapable “what have you done for me lately” mindset that prevents young stars such as himself from having much time to appreciate what goals they do achieve. Unfortunately, winning the WWE’s “Olympic” gold medal and defeating CM Punk in a thrilling, critically acclaimed series of matches were not enough to prevent the fear of immediately failing to achieve more from taking hold of him. Philosophers have long thought fear to be the negative balance in the world and that society ebbs and flows based on whether the positive wins out or not. Religion has referred to it as the devil at work trying to bring out the worst in us. Fear is a force in the universe that holds us hostage and keeps us stuck unless we rise above it.
Unity tends to bring about the peace that most often breeds happier times with less fear, but Ziggler is on an island. He is running out of allies. With every show stealing performance, he distances himself just a little bit further from the rest of the roster. Expectations rise and so does the company’s investment in the skills that bring a guy like him to the top of the mountain, earning him comparisons to Michaels and Hennig. His insatiable thirst for success was once grounded by such motivations as fulfilling a dream or proving the naysayers wrong, but the fear is like a swarm of bees looking for an opening small enough to penetrate and take over his mind. He must produce not just at a high level, but at the highest level imaginable and he must do it because, if he does not, then he may lose the chance of a lifetime. Just a few months ago, he would have been happy wrestling for 15-minutes on a PPV, but now he feels the need to push his limits further than anyone else can.
5-4-3-2-1...Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sin Cara
Many expect Ziggler to win this match; to become champion. That has become the quiet expectation. Yet, if Daniel Bryan can direct his anger in a constructive manner, he may push his Elimination Chamber record to 2-0 in 2012. If the events of the last few months are any indication, though, then it may prove difficult for Daniel to keep his energy focused. How would you feel if you thought you were in love with someone, only to find out that the person you thought you loved really did not exist? The Beth Phoenix that Daniel fell for was some made up imitation created by a combination of desperation and psychotherapeutic medication, while the real Beth Phoenix turned out to be a master manipulator, almost admirable in her cunning to gain the way out that she apparently so desired. Now just five months away from being a father, Daniel has made a heartbreaking decision.
He is angry that he has been put in this predicament in the first place. His child was not so much conceived as deceived. It was born not out of love or commitment but out of dishonesty and false pretenses. Daniel will struggle until his dying day to forgive Beth and it may never happen. Is there a more treacherous act that a woman can commit to a man than lying her way into pregnancy? In taking something sacred and special and turning it into a nightmare? Every time Daniel thinks of the child, he sees nothing but Beth. That is the part they do not tell you about in the stories on TV. Daniel is angry that he feels the need to, for the sake of his child and himself, stay away. Being in Beth’s life is so toxic that it literally rips him apart from the inside out. Daniel + Beth equals a life of pain and agony for all involved.
Five other men will feel his wrath – his anger at Beth, at himself, at having to defend an unpopular decision, that his child has to grow up in a pit of snakes, and at the critics, however unimportant in the grand scheme, who won’t even try to understand. Maybe the World Heavyweight Championship will make him feel better….maybe…..
Making Sin Cara tap out felt good…
Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler
Fans likely expected a similarly aggressive approach from Sheamus. He’s a fighter. Fighting has always been his refuge; his means to stand up against bullies. Even when he was just a little fella, he would earn respect from those bigger than him by not backing down when they tried to proverbially put his back against the wall. That mindset has served him well in the WWE, as he climbed the ladder of success en route to multiple World Championships. He learned it from years of trial and error growing up in Ireland and it endeared him to the WWE audience and management. However, his trials against Wade Barrett and the rest of the “Union” have tested him in ways he’s unfamiliar with. It is not as simple as physically battling this time.
He has every right to be upset at Barrett for several months’ worth of aggravation, but the Celtic Warrior cannot allow himself to be mentally defeated. Wade's crusade cost Sheamus the World Heavyweight Championship six months ago. Never in a million years would the Irishman have thought that it would take him this long to get another shot at the title, but Barrett has been there standing in his way at every turn. Barrett has become the Isaiah Thomas-led Detroit Pistons to the Great White’s Jordan-led Chicago Bulls; or, even better, the England to his Ireland. Sheamus has simply not yet found a way to get past Barrett, who has pushed his buttons in ways that he has not experienced since those early years of his life. Even when he thinks he has him beat, like he did at Survivor Series, Wade has found a way to get him to make a mistake. Last month, in a five-on-five elimination tag match in London, when it came down to Barrett vs. Sheamus as the final two – when he finally got his hands on the man that has tormented him relentlessly for months – he still lost by disqualification.
If he wants to be the face of the company’s international initiative, he has to persevere. His sluggish attitude – his general malaise and lethargy toward his plight will not serve him well. Sloth is an enemy of progress for a man who seeks redemption.
CM Punk vs. Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan
CM Punk is in a similar position as Sheamus…
Six months ago, CM Punk was on top of the word. He was the face of the WWE’s new direction for their product, the champion of the world and unquestionable hero to the new target audience. Damn, though, has it been a long time since he has come out on the winning end of a rivalry. First, he lost the WWE Championship to perhaps the one guy on the planet that he least wanted to lose it to in John Cena. Second, when he attempted to find redemption by doing one of the few things that Cena has never done by becoming the first WWE heavyweight gold medalist, Dolph Ziggler swooped in and yanked the rug out from under him. Finally, when he tried to avenge the loss to Ziggler and put the kid’s mettle to the test in a best-of-seven series, he lost the deciding match. So, after all that upward momentum that he had going, starting with the infamous promo in June 2011, Punk finds himself on the wrong end of another, all too familiar, losing streak. It is a pattern unbecoming of anyone that is supposed to be the face of anything.
False bravado is in the very nature of someone like Punk. He did not have it easy growing up, but he was used to acting like he was fine, bottling up the doubts, and moving forward with a full head of steam. That is all well and good until so many of the proverbial bricks pile up on top of you that the walls come crashing down around the figurative house built to keep all the doubting protected inside. Punk is a strong guy but when things keep going the other guy’s way enough times in succession, the doubt starts coming to the forefront. You can try to attack it head on, but unless you get some personal victories, it gets harder and harder to fight it. Twice the pride, double the fall?
Simply put, Punk needs to win this match. He is not the type that wants his legacy to be based on performance. He would much rather be the Undertaker than Shawn Michaels. Winning is winning and Punk wants to win. He knows he cannot get there with doubts in his mind. Doubts about his ability and doubts about his place in the company damn sure did not get him to the top and they are damn sure not going to help him stay at the top. “The best wrestler in the world should be the World Heavyweight Champion.” There is no room for doubt; pride wins out again.
What the hell is Cody Rhodes doing?
Would it not be interesting to spend a minute inside the mind of a brilliant sociopath?
Despite the guarantee that there would be no way that he could prevent a new World Champion from being crowned, there was Cody Rhodes (and three unknowns) climbing the chains of the Chamber from four directions. Each equipped with burlaps sacks attached to belts on their hips, Rhodes and his cohorts brought the in-ring action to a standstill as the competitors and the rest of the world waited. Ensuring coverage of almost each square inch of the canvas, the delicately positioned climbers perched high above the ring removed the tie from the top of the sacks and prepared to empty their contents onto the ring below.
To study the faces of the wrestlers in the ring provided a unique dichotomy of emotions. The scowl and annoyance of CM Punk; the apathy of Sheamus; the puzzlement of Dolph Ziggler; and the wild-eyed gaze of Daniel Bryan. To see each of their individual expressions shift from separate to equal was fascinating. One moment, each man was staring up at Rhodes and, the next, each was simultaneously covering up and crouching into a protective position, hiding their faces as not to show their new feelings. Fans watching on PPV needed only to glance at the ringside audience members’ bewildered looks to see what likely was going through the minds of the four men in the ring.
Raining down upon them were thousands of thumb tacks, some bouncing off and some cutting inch deep holes into the wrestlers' bodies. The rare “Holy Shit” chant made an auditory appearance as Cody and company descended from the Chamber and walked away.
Damn, the breaks just aren’t going CM Punk’s way. Ziggler took advantage of the odd situation and pinned him again…
“Stone Cold” would adequately describe Rhodes as he exited stage left to a massive chorus of boos.
Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan
Wade Barrett should consider himself a lucky man. Through an ongoing legal battle, Barrett and the Union have made life difficult for the WWE these last several months and, as the leader, he has received a great deal of media attention. Though the situation has been twisted beyond layperson understanding, Barrett and company continue to receive opportunities. He knows that he has the WWE by the you know whats and that he has put them in a difficult position. They were in the main-event at Survivor Series, held on foreign soil. Barrett emerged as the sole survivor for his team and, as such, has set his sights on the World Heavyweight Championship. He considers it his for the taking. His luck continued when he got to walk into a ring of fallen men, brought to their knees by a mad man.
Wade Barrett has developed a propitious streak a mile long; almost like a mob boss dodging hit after hit. Daniel Bryan appeared to have him beat, but Barrett took advantage of the Celtic Warrior’s mistake once again, ducking the Brogue Kick and sending Sheamus’ boot into Bryan’s forehead.
In many ways, Barrett has been above the title. Critics have argued that he doesn’t need it, considering that he has repeatedly emerged victorious in battles against Vince McMahon and the corporation’s legal structure. Barrett, however, will stop at nothing to achieve the status to which he feels entitled. He wants money. Every main-event, every championship match, every international tour poster – every little dime that he can squeeze out of the WWE is what he wants. Greed has been the downfall of lesser men and the Elimination Chamber may not be the right place for his ravenous intentions to fulfill their master’s destiny. He has threatened the livelihood of each participant, whether he cares to realize it or not. It is the natural consequence of disrupting the status quo. Sacrifices must be made when a new order in the world of professional wrestling is established. The corollary for Barrett is that no shortage exists of men in this match willing to put down the champion of the changing tides.
Wade Barrett owns Sheamus. It’s that simple…
Fitting that it came down to the two men on the greatest upward arcs in their careers in Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler. The crowd found an innate quality in the Showstealer that made them want to see him wrap the gold around his waist and, though Barrett provided a potential preview for a future rivalry, it was Ziggler who did, indeed, emerge victorious. On a night that was about more than just a championship, Ziggler closed the show reminding us all that nothing is more important. Many questions will be answered in the coming weeks regarding the other challengers and one huge question needs to be answered about the former champion, Rhodes, but the Show Stealer is the new World Heavyweight Champion and how he handles the pressure heaped upon him to succeed will continue to be one of the more engaging stories to follow as we head toward the Road to Wrestlemania.