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Posted in: Requesting Flyby
REQUESTING FLYBY: Elimination Chamber 2015 Review
By Maverick
May 31, 2015 - 11:26:39 PM

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Elimination Chamber 2015 Review

A New Day defeated The Prime Time Players, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, The Ascension, The Lucha Dragons and Los Matadores in an Elimination Chamber Match to retain the WWE Tag Team Championships
Even before the match began, the move to put all three members of A New Day into a pod, giving them an unfair advantage, was smart booking that played well into the characters the three have developed since Wrestlemania. Equally smart was the placement of The Lucha Dragons up against The Ascension, a rematch from NXT that was probably the last decent thing The Ascension actually did. The spot where both luchadores fought their way to the top of the pods, only for Kallisto to be unable to follow Sin Cara’s senton bomb due to New Day snagging him was very nicely done and again played into the sneakiness of the tag champs. Cesaro and Kidd were their usual impactful selves upon entry, with a decimation of Konnor and Victor followed by an absurdly brilliant superplex on the pod trapped Kallisto. As the high impact moves continued in the middle of the ring, Kallisto scaled the cage, just like John Morrison did back in 2011, but his attempt to wipe out the entire field backfired as The Ascension stood tall, taking out Los Matadores with Fall of Man around the ten minute mark, followed by The Lucha Dragons moments later; this made sense to me as WWE have needed to rehabilitate the big men for a while, and this was the ideal opportunity.

Titus O’Neill manhandling Victor as soon as he and Darren entered was fun, and they made short work of the previously dominant Ascension, playing on the psychology of being the fresh team in. A loathsome tower of doom spot blighted an otherwise fun two on two scrap between The Prime Time Players and KiddSaro, and all four men were hurting when the three members of A New Day exited their lexane pod to pick the bones, but they got themselves in trouble with a ridiculous chorus line of suplexes as the four men teamed up on the three out of expediency and shut Woods back in the pod to concentrate on Kofi and Big E. However, Tyson Kidd foolishly let his guard down and Darren Young snuck in with the roll up to eliminate the former champions. With Woods released from the cell, New Day started to make the numbers game count, choking Titus on the chain link after beating down Young. However, the two men from NXT: Redemption showed their resilience by battling back with high impact manouevres that finally took advantage of the wicked steel structure, leading to a dramatic near fall on Kingston. The numbers advantage finally told when Darren was taken out with a belly to belly on the steel and a Trouble In Paradise was followed by all three men piling on for the cover. Booking wise, this was the best decision, for a certainty. New Day continue to build their heat and their incredibly fun title reign while also setting up The Prime Time Players as their next challengers. In terms of the match quality, well, it was a cluster-you-know-what alright, but it was definitely a fun one. It didn’t always make perfect sense, but hey, there was action aplenty to keep everyone happy, so no real complaints from me.

Nikki Bella defeated Naomi and Paige to retain the Divas Championship
As expected, the returning Paige shone brightest in the early portion of the bout, taking out Nikki and bringing out an impressive arsenal of moves to thwart Naomi. The usual structure of a triple threat match asserted itself thereafter, with one woman down and the other two going at it. Nikki whiffed horribly on an enziguri off the top which took me out of the action quite a lot, while the second tower of doom of the evening also had me rolling my eyes. Nikki eventually retained with the Rack Attack on Naomi, which brought a merciful end to a terrible match. The pace was too slow, the spots were mistimed and the whole thing felt disjointed an insipid. A terrible night for the ladies.

Kevin Owens defeated John Cena in a Champion vs Champion match
This really did have a big match feel about it from the moment Owens’ music hit. The charisma of the Canuck is uncanny, and he owned that big stage in a major way. The NXT Champion refused to be intimidated and recovered from an early shoulder knock down to stomp Cena in the corner, and kept calm in kayfabe when the US Champion started to build momentum, stopping the five moves of doom sequence dead and going back to work in that methodically dominant Kevin Owens fashion. As with many of the Punk vs Cena matches of yore, KO showed the ability to counter Cena at key moments, for example turning the fireman’s carry position into a DDT. In kayfabe, The Franchise Player is a momentum guy, and the style of Owens is all about cutting off the flow of his opponent, so the flavour of the storytelling was ideal really. The mocking of Cena by Owens as he methodically punched him was a great touch, and that arrogance almost let the company poster boy back in the match, but the crucifix attempt was countered into a slam and the cannonball in the corner for a near fall.

Cena managed to finally build up a head of steam thereafter, but managed to run straight into the Pop Up Powerbomb for another false finish that saw an increasingly angry and desperate Owens go up to the top rope and miss an insane springboard moonsault, but the resulting AA saw the NXT Champ also kick out. I suppose that multiple finisher kickouts are such an integral part of Cena matches that one should expect them by now. Equally, the time honoured mocking of the Five Knuckle Shuffle led to him getting caught in the STF, but in a novel touch, Owens powered out and hit the AA on Cena to send a message to the dynasty. However, The Franchise Player’s patented pluck saw him come roaring back with a tornado DDT and guillotine legdrop, only for yet another powerbomb from Owens to cause yet another near fall. That springboard stunner out of nowhere put the prize fighter down for a two, but Cena’s attempt to follow up with a superplex backfired when Owens hit an incredible mid air suplex counter and a moonsault. All of that had nothing on the finish though, where a huge clothesline from John Boy seemed to knock Owens for a loop, but a third Pop Up Powerbomb landed almost straight after for the 100% clean victory. The cherry on top was the tremendous post-match promo giving Cena “some veteran advice”. Wow, what a match, and what a put over job. Owens has arrived. Brilliantly booked and performed. Gold stars all round.

Adrian Neville defeated Bo Dallas
Dallas’ pre-match promo did a nice job of setting up the storytelling for the match. Typically, the cowardly heel Dallas did his best to avoid the physicality of the Englishman, but rolling out of the ring just got him a huge moonsault to the outside for his troubles. The character work of Bo was fun when he begged Neville to understand that he was trying to motivate him, even more so when he sneakily tossed him outside and laid about him with stiff elbows. Keeping the Man That Gravity Forgot grounded was smart psychology, and Dallas did reasonably well eliciting heat from the crowd. Neville’s muscular comeback was short lived to start with, as Bo planted him with a DDT, but the second time my countryman came back, he nailed the ever-impressive Red Arrow for the win. Not much to this one really, but it was ok midcard fare.

Ryback defeated Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, R Truth, Mark Henry and King Barrett in an Elimination Chamber Match to win the vacant Intercontinental Championship
One piece of business was conducted quickly and efficiently as it was revealed that the mystery man taking Rusev’s place inside the Chamber would be Mark Henry, who I’d forgotten existed, quite honestly. Nice pick though, former World Champion and all that, as well as being a huge and scary hoss for the others to fear in kayfabe terms. Barrett and Ziggler have always had excellent chemistry, and their starting scrap was enjoyable enough, with chain wrestling giving way to the heavy hitting of the King. Barrett yelling at the other pods was a nice character touch, and he smartly ambushed Truth before he even got out of his pod, playing into his pre match rhetoric about having a game plan. The showboating of BNB cost him though, with Truth taking advantage of the lapse with a flurry of offense, which also allowed Ziggler to recuperate only to then get mule kicked into next week immediately after and rammed into Henry’s cell, releasing the big man early! That was a fun variation on the traditional Chamber tropes, particularly with Ryback coming out on schedule moments later. The traditional tropes asserted themselves soon after though, with the “team elimination” of Barrett taking place in what might have been considered something of an upset. I honestly find those ganging up finishes silly unless it’s on a monster like Umaga. Sheamus’ pod deliberately didn’t open when it was meant to, which was another vaguely interesting piece of booking, and the Celtic Warrior watched as Ryback narrowed the field by Shellshocking R Truth out of the match. Unfortunately, the action from this point became ever more plodding, and the crowd had no investment at all.

Sheamus finally emerged to send his rival of the last few months, Dolph Ziggler, through the lexane, before a Brogue Kick took care of Henry. As Ryback lay on the outside for what seemed like hours, Sheamus and Ziggler reprised their rivalry with some decent exchanges which ended in The Show Off eating a boot to be eliminated. Just as their interaction on Raw a couple of weeks ago had teased, it came down to The Celtic Warrior and The Big Guy. The match within a match between these two was alright, with Sheamus really milking his new bully boy character who runs from a fight when it isn’t on his terms. A White Noise on the steel grating elicited a decent near fall, after which Ryback made a big comeback with a powerbomb and the Shellshocked for the surprise victory. This was quite honestly a poor version of the gimmick, the type of match that might make WWE think again about the hassle of going to the trouble of rigging up that massive Chamber structure. There was some good action at certain points, but overall, the pacing was far too slow so the wrestlers inevitably lost the crowd early and never got them back until Daniel Bryan appeared to put The Big Guy over.

Dean Ambrose defeated Seth Rollins by disqualification (Rollins retains the WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
The video package before the match narrated by Dean Ambrose and focusing on “bad decisions” and the end of The Shield almost a year ago to the day was absolutely fantastic and got me thoroughly hyped up for the match. When WWE’s production department get their thinking caps on, there’s nothing better. Unexpectedly, the match began with chain wrestling of all things, before some deep arm drags from Ambrose encouraged Rollins to seek the bosom of his security team. The match took on a more familiar shape when The Architect re-entered, with the unorthodox side of The Lunatic Fringe coming out and making Seth distinctly uncomfortable in kayfabe until the inevitable distractions by Mercury and Noble put the champ back in the driving seat. The arrogance of Rollins was in full force as he mocked Ambrose and remonstrated with the referee about the speed of his counts, until a collision in the middle of the ring put the two men back on an even playing field. A wheelbarrow slam gave Dean a near fall after a host of roll up counters, before a thrilling suicide dive took them all the way over the announce table to inject a bit of life into what had been to that point a strangely tepid affair.

Rollins tried to counter Ambrose’s superplex with the big corner powerbomb, but punches in the mount position forced Seth to drop him so that the Lunatic Fringe could clothesline his opponent right over the top. However, moments later Rollins would hit that gnarly powerbomb outside on the barricade, but the resilience of Ambrose was showcased as he consecutively kicked out of that and a reverse vertical suplex. Trash talk followed from Rollins, who looked to hit a series of corner charges, only for Dean to counter with his own and a tornado DDT, again emphasising a never-say-die attitude from The Lunatic Fringe. As momentum built in the challenger’s favour, J&J again proved decisive in distracting him, as did Kane, forcing Ambrose to try and take them out of the game, diving off the top to the outside rather than onto Rollins, who was there for the taking inside the ring. As Dean got back into the ring and went for the kill, Seth pulled the referee in front, meaning that Ambrose’s pin off Dirty Deeds was counted by a replacement official. Inevitably, as we could see from a mile off, the original official reversed the decision to a DQ against Rollins for the ref bump, meaning that The Architect retained in true sneaky fashion. Equally inevitably, the Authority goon squad assaulted Ambrose afterwards, forcing Reigns to intervene on his buddy’s behalf and allowing Dean to keep hold of the gold, just as he did after the Barrett match at Fast Lane. As a match, I felt that the lukewarm crowd hurt it quite considerably, and I also felt that the two men took too long to get up to top gear. Nevertheless, they displayed their usual chemistry between the ropes, and the shenanigans at the finish were very well executed. It now seems that the Ambrose/Rollins saga will go into the next pay-per-view too, and well, no arguments from me there!

The show started well enough with the tag team Chamber being as much fun as it promised to be, even if it was something of a cluster-you-know-what, and reached an epic high with the clean win for Kevin Owens over John Cena, but it struggled to recover thereafter, with a poor Intercontinental Championship bout sucking the wind out of the crowd, to the extent that not even Ambrose and Rollins could wake them up again, at least until the Dusty finish and the Roman Reigns assisted theft of the title.

Well, that’s all for now folks. I’ll be back soon enough...let’s see what the week brings up news wise. Until then, let me know what you thought of my thoughts on the show in the comments section below, or tweet me here:

This is Maverick, requesting flyby!