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Posted in: Doctor's Orders
Doctor's Orders: Elimination Chamber Review & Suggestion for Brock Lesnar vs. Floyd Mayweather
By The Doc
Feb 18, 2013 - 12:25:17 PM

The Road to Wrestlemania can be a long and arduous journey for a fan. I was admittedly feeling a bit jaded this year, as of 24 hours ago. The projected card for April 7th has been rumored to feature rematches and the potential lack of an epic storyline for CM Punk who, while not my favorite, is the only reason I’ve had much interest in the product since last year’s Wrestlemania. Rematches have to earn my interest via an engaging television storyline. And since there has not been any hype toward the rumored rematches, I’ve sat back in a trance watching Raw the last few weeks, waiting for something interesting to happen. The absence of any sort of Elimination Chamber Preview column might have alerted you to the fact that, as Saturday night, nothing interesting had happened, in my opinion.

Yet, nothing helps reinvigorate interest, for me, like a good PPV. I decided to tune in at the last minute, mainly to see how they would book the CM Punk vs. Rock rematch and out of sheer curiosity to see what would become of the World Heavyweight Championship situation. After what I thought was a very good PPV well worth the money spent, I’m dialed back in to the product and ready to see how the various Wrestlemania storylines will get started. Enjoy tonight and next week before we get back to “coast mode” through most of the month of March.

Match 1: Alberto Del Rio defeated the Big Show in 13-minutes - (***) (May I start off by stating that despite my complete lack of interest in Big Show’s character, I have really enjoyed his matches over the last four months? Since the Hell in a Cell match with Sheamus, Show has been doing his best John Cena impression. I have not cared for Cena’s persona, with rare exception, in a long time, but I always look forward to his payoff matches because he usually delivers when it matters. Do I wish that I could get more invested in the same old schtick? Sure, but I’m content with him boring me to tears on the mic and stepping up to the plate when I pay money for it. Show has done the same. I was a huge supporter of his bouts with the Celtic Warrior and I’ll gladly state that I was, again, impressed with his work against Alberto Del Rio. Despite the obvious slip at the end of the match by the World Champ, that was a helluva match between those two. Most Show matches, gimmick or no, suffer from a long, dull middle section with the giant dominating until a comeback is made. That was absent last night, replaced by a few extra minutes of faster pacing and a nice early false finish with the first cross armbreaker. Had they connected on that final, bucket-kicking on the initial attempt, then I would’ve loved this match. As such, as I was still happy with it.

They are bound and determined to push Del Rio, aren’t they? A clean, tap out victory over the Show? Damn)

Match 2: Antonio Cesaro defeated Miz via DQ in 8-minutes (**) (There are a lot of mid-card feuds going that could make it all the way to Wrestlemania, but the fact that a lot of mid-card matches taking place at Mania has not happened in years suggests that some sort of multi-man cluster you-know-what is on the horizon. One such storyline involves The Miz and Antonio Cesaro. I was thoroughly enjoying their match last night until it was abruptly cut short to clearly keep the saga continuing. I hope that people have noticed that Miz has become a much better, crisper in-ring performer over the last year. It’s OK to get caught up in Cesaro’s excellent workrate, but Miz is working his butt off, too. Could that make it to Mania? It’s possible, but I’m expecting some sort of larger storyline to develop in the coming weeks. Booker T has been getting blasted on Smackdown by several top heels, so maybe that could lead somewhere)

Jack Swagger won the Elimination Chamber in 31-minutes (****) (I’d like to step up and defend the decision to make Jack Swagger the World title challenger at Wrestlemania. It is not as random as you think. Swagger, in the last three Manias, has won Money in the Bank, been a key component in the third biggest match two years ago, and been on the winning team of last year’s 14-man tag with both GM positions up for grabs. That’s a lot more than one can say for a lot of the talented young heels on the roster. I was surprised to see him get the win last night, but pleasantly so. His new gimmick with Dutch Mantel is going to hit home with a lot of different people. It’ll push the right buttons with one group, while garnering quiet support from others. It may seem cookie cutter, but it’s got him in a headlining spot at Mania; you can bet he’s not complaining. The World title, as we discussed in the “New Approach to WWE Business” column a few weeks ago, really isn’t all that important, in the grand scheme of things, to the Wrestlemania machine right now. It isn’t going to be counted on to sell a huge sum of tickets, so they can afford to put the guy they’re desperately trying to get over as the next great Latin star up against the angry Caucasian All-American who largely has been a ghost over the last year and it be OK.

I have always been a Swagger fan, personally. I can sit here and easily remember back to the latter part of 2008, watching a random episode of ECW and seeing him beat Matt Hardy to win their title. Immediately after reading the amateur credentials, I pegged him as a future World Champion. When he won the title in 2010, I thought he did a great job with the opportunity, especially as a character. Matches with Randy Orton - my how the mighty Viper has fallen - and Rey Mysterio - my how the WWE’s once second-biggest merchandise seller has also fallen - were quite good by my scale, but when he got on the microphone and was given substantial time to get over, he got over. It was shocking, to me, to see him so significantly depushed after dropping the strap. I’m happy for Swagger and so is my wife, who would like to see the Jack Swagger Screaming Eagle, or as she called it “The Sweagle,” incorporated into this storyline somehow.

I thought last night’s Elimination Chamber match was very good. I’m surprised that Jericho and Daniel Bryan don’t have better chemistry. Much like their Raw match from a few weeks ago, I thought their initial interactions last night were clunky and lacking the coordination you’d expect from those two. Each generally performed quite well in the match, though, as did the rest of the participants. Mark Henry is a beast. I wonder in what direction he may be headed with his dominant performance. Maybe Ryback? I am very curious to see where Orton is headed. I think he pretty much solidified, with that suspension last year, that he was going to be pushed to the backburner and used to enhance others for the foreseeable future. Sheamus does not appear to have anything going on right now, so perhaps the rumored feud of theirs can take place without the title. I’d like to see both of them avoid the multi-man match.

Dolph Ziggler’s shadow is looming large. In my mind’s eye, I envision that the best possible scenario would be for Ziggler to get put over at Wrestlemania in a major way by, first, defeating the victorious Del Rio after he overcomes Swagger’s America, and then defeating Chris Jericho in an originally scheduled match turned World title defense. What I sincerely pray that they don’t do is have Ziggler LOSE a match to Jericho or someone else to start the show, and then cash in later. I’ve never understood the concept of having the guy winning the World title get beat on the same show. That makes both the wrestler winning the title and the championship, itself, look bad. For the World Championship’s sake, the Showstealer’s, and Del Rio’s, I hope the WWE have a good, intelligent plan for Wrestlemania with a long-term outlook in mind)

Dolph Ziggler defeated Kofi Kingston in 4-minutes (*1/2) (Dolph, by the way, had an impressive outing against Kofi Kingston despite its short duration. They packed nothing but action in those limited minutes)

The Shield defeated John Cena, Ryback, and Sheamus in 15-minutes (***1/2) (I cannot tell you how impressed I am with both the members of the Shield and with the WWE’s booking of the Shield. Dean Ambrose is captivating. Every time that he does his little face grabbing, tongue wagging expression, I think of the Joker in The Dark Knight driving down the streets of Gotham in a stolen police car with his head out the window as that ominously toned score plays in the background. In this era, with the types of guys that are getting chances to be top stars, I think the sky is the limit for Ambrose. More traditionally, I think Roman Reigns has “Superstar” written all over him. He debuted as the one that everyone talked of being unseasoned, but he damn sure looks seasoned. His personality is much better developed than I thought it would be. He is firing on all cylinders in the two matches we’ve seen from him so far, as well. He’s got intensity, strength, presence, charisma…he’s going to main-event a Wrestlemania in the next 5 years. Mark my words. Seth Rollins is a helluva hand. He’s a uniquely gifted in-ring performer, by the looks of him. I’m not sure what to make of him, just yet, in terms of trying to project a ceiling, but he’s distinguished in his own right and can be a star. I appreciate the fact that he colored half his hair blonde. That might seem like a minor thing, but he has no definable trait, physically, and he – or someone else - recognized it and rectified that issue by the half blonde mane.

The Shield’s triple tag moves and timing in breaking up their opponents’ offense was spot on last night. Though it was not ever going to be as critically well-received as the TLC match two months ago, the standard 6-man tag showed me more of what each of them are capable of. I, thus, enjoyed last night’s match even more than the TLC, despite the fact that I’ve rated it lower. They could be the basis for whatever multi-man situation gets booked for Mania)

The Rock defeated CM Punk in 21-minutes (***3/4) (I don’t have much to say about it. CM Punk vs. The Rock was about what I expected it to be. I didn’t think it was as good as their Rumble encounter, as it was clear from the outset that the point of the match was to make CM Punk look very strong heading out of the title picture and, subsequently, this was not the back and forth type of match that I favor. It was what it needed to be. Anything that Punk or Rock does is entertaining and compelling; last night was no exception, but Punk needed to come out of it looking like the 1A to Cena’s #1. If he is going to wrestle the Deadman, then he had to look credible last night. Mission accomplished. He kicked out of everything that Rock had in his arsenal and he dominated the entire match, making each of Rock’s comebacks look like they were out of desperation. Rock looked good. Punk looked good. Now, it’s time to get down to what these two will be doing in April)

One last thing I want to bring up before we officially get onto the unimpeded Road to Wrestlemania is that I’m not quite so sure that we’re going to be getting that second rematch that all have been so dejected about. Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar 2 will happen someday, but I remain unconvinced that someday will be April 7th.

A thought: Several months ago, news broke that Floyd Mayweather would be “doing Wrestlemania in New York.” Could that possibly mean that boxing’s biggest draw might be facing MMA’s biggest draw?

I’m suggesting that we might not want to rule out, just yet, the prospect of Floyd Mayweather vs. Brock Lesnar. Currently, Mayweather has no opponent for his scheduled May 4th fight. So, crazier things have happened and it would garner the WWE a ton of mainstream attention if they could pull it off. Floyd and Triple H are friends, so the Game could be in Money’s corner, helping him get the win to set-up the rematch down the road that would lure Trips out of retirement.

I just get the feeling that a celebrity is going to be introduced that helps boost buyrates. Rematches don’t historically sell as well as the original, so to bank on Mania coming close to last year’s numbers with two rematches as arguably the primary hooks for buyers? That doesn’t compute for me. Shaq vs. Big Show is another option.

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