So the card order last night was, uh, strange to say the least. To me, it seemed like they lined the show up in a logical order first, and then decided to completely reverse the order of the matches.
1. CM Punk v. The Miz v. Chris Jericho v. Dolph Ziggler v. Kofi Kingston v. R-Truth (Elimination Chamber for the WWE Championship): 4 out of 5. That's right, the strongest match on the entire card was the opener for the show. This decision made no sense to me right off the bat. In hindsight, it almost makes sense coming before the Smackdown match (although even that wasn't necessary, Sheamus could have held off till the opening segment of Raw to make a statement. In fact, that probably would have been better storytelling). But to begin the last pay-per-view event before WrestleMania? The surprise match we got later on in the show would have made much more sense here. At any rate, all six performers in this match were, as expected, incredible. It was as fast-paced and action-packed as I predicted it would be. There were a lot of huge spots that deserve to make the highlight reel, but of course the spot of the match was Punk kicking Jericho into the side of the chamber just as the referees were closing it back up after Kofi was unceremoniously thrown out. Jericho tumbled, right into a camera man, and was afterwards declared unable to continue. This left us with a somewhat awkward ending between Punk and Miz, but it sets up Punk/Jericho for WrestleMania rather well.
2. Beth Phoenix v. Tamina Snuka (Diva's Championship): 4 out of 5. Yeah, you read that right. I was actually very impressed with what these ladies were allowed to do in this match. Seriously, when is the last time you saw a Superplex involving women in WWE? Both Beth and Tamina were, rightfully, as impressive as they could be. Tamina is growing on me, fast. I like her look. Oh, and speaking of looks, I really liked the continuity nod/tribute by Beth as explained by Michael Cole. Beth was wearing a kind of Roddy Piper-inspired skirt last night, after having watched tapes of his rivalry with Tamina's father, Jimmy Snuka. At one point, Beth even called Tamina "coconut head". I like the idea of my champions showing their research in the ring. It's a little thing, but it solidifies the idea that this person deserves to be champion.
3. Daniel Bryan v. Santino v. Big Show v. Cody Rhodes v. Wade Barrett v. The Great Khali (Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship): 3 out of 5. I didn't expect this one to be as good as its Raw counterpart, and it wasn't. Mercifully, The Great Khali was taken out of this match almost as soon as he entered it, which makes me wonder what the point was of even putting him in the chamber to begin with? There are other stars that could have filled that spot and been more entertaining (*cough*Drew*cough*). I did love Cody and Wade here, as usual. The chamber setting gave them the opportunity to turn up the brutality, and it was beautiful. Daniel Bryan was the final man into this match, but before the clock had a chance to count down to his entrance, Big Show managed to crawl into his pod and go ahead and start beating on him. This would have been a golden opportunity to give us that "through the pod" spot from the other side of the glass, but it didn't happen that way. After Show and Daniel were released, Wade Barrett helped to take down Big Show, who was then covered by Cody Rhodes. Almost directly afterwards, Santino took the IC champ by surprise and rolled him up. This would not be Santino's last elimination, as the Wade Barrett was the next to be taken out, also by Santino. Santino surprised the household by making it all the way to the end to go one-on-one with the champ. Sure, he's ridiculously over, but World Heavyweight Champion material? Perhaps he's leading to a rivalry with Cody Rhodes that will shape his persona into a more serious character, and test if he's got what it takes. Daniel Bryan ended the fight in submission, and I have not screamed that hard at a current pay-per-view match in a long while, as I sat there and cheered, "Tap! Tap, you Glorious Bastard, TAP!" After the match, Sheamus showed up and dropped Daniel Bryan. It's almost like he already had his mind made up.
4. Jack Swagger v. Justin Gabriel (United States Championship): I have no idea out of 5. The only thing I know about this match is that it was very short, and Jack Swagger kept his title. I did not see one single move of this match, because I was too busy being absolutely livid over the preceding segment, which consisted of Hornswoggle eating cheese, another fart joke directed at Natalya, and Teddy Long inferring that Vickie Guerrero is ugly. As a matter of fact, I spent the rest of the pay-per-view campaigning my little article even farther. I tweeted that I'd go to the news the next day, but then I asked myself, "Why wait?"
5. John Cena v. Kane (Ambulance Match): Er, 2 out of 5. Like I said, I wasn't paying a super amount of attention to this match, being so angry, but the bits and pieces I did see were clearly not grudge-y enough. This is an AMBULANCE MATCH for you to EMBRACE THE HATE. Get angry!! Get real angry!! Cena, predictably, and for a change logically, went over jobber-to-the-stars Kane at the end of this match. So it should be time to see what Creative has in store for him for the next 6 weeks.
John Laurinaitis' big announcement turned out to be that he's suggested to the board of directors that Teddy Long be subjected to the same scrutiny as him, and also have a performance review. Then we had the big returns we've been waiting for. First Alberto Del Rio, then Mark Henry, and finally Christian came out to voice their support for Mr. Excitement in his quest to be permanent GM of both shows. David Otunga took pictures, which he immediately tweeted.
Hey, wait a minute! I correctly predicted the entire show! That's a first for me, and something I probably won't repeat again for a while. So the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view gets a 3 out of 5 overall. The first two hours of the show were really captivating, and I have to admit, I liked the Smackdown chamber match more than I thought I would. Then we had a backstage segment that was unnecessary, a title match that was essentially a squash, and a grudge match that was far too weak for the story it was supposed to be telling. If it wasn't for that last hour, this show could easily have gotten a 4 from me.
One last thing, if you haven't read the article about the treatment of women in WWE, please do us a favor and go back and read it. Feel free to leave comments there, especially if you have suggestions as to how we can spread the word. We will appreciate any help anyone can send our way as we campaign to bring respect back to women in professional wrestling. And don't forget to check back in tomorrow for my Raw recap! Hopefully with less farting.