-A video package aired on the Road to WrestleMania traveling through the Elimination Chamber. Good feature.
-Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. Ross touted it being a sellout of over 15,000 as the camera panned the crowd.
1 -- CHAVO GUERRERO vs. C.M. PUNK - ECW Hvt. Title match
Back and forth action early. Good pace. Chavo countered Punk's GTS into a huracanrana and came back with a DDT off the middle rope for a near fall. Punk got booed, it seemed, while mocking Chavo's dance and doing some of Chavo's signature moves, which was odd. Punk seemed thrown off as he went for a flying knee in the corner and the timing and distance was off a bit. Chavo blocked Punk's attempt to take him off the top rope and knocked him down. Punk sold tweaking his knee. Chavo hit the frog splash, which got a crowd pop, and scored the pin.
WINNER: Chavo Guerrero to retain the ECW Title in 7:00.
STAR RATING: **
-Michael Cole and Tazz recapped the end of Smackdown where Rey Mysterio mistakenly knocked Vickie out of her wheelchair. They said she wasn't in attendance because of the injury.
Mike Adamle interviewed Rey. Adamle brought up Rey's torn pec, "as WWE.com reported." Rey held up his right arm which was black and blue. He said he'd fight through it. Floyd Mayweather, a boxer, entered the picture and gave Rey some encouraging words. They acted like really close pals.
2 -- ELIMINATION CHAMBER: UNDERTAKER vs. MVP vs. FINLAY vs. BATISTA vs. BIG DADDY V vs. MARK HENRY
It opened with Batista vs. Undertaker. Cole put over the idea that all of the "Superstars" were nervous about what was going to happen in this match. Taker took Batista out of the ring onto the platform that surrounds the ring at ring-level. Batista punched back and kicked Taker's head into the ring (Taker's body, thankfully, followed). Cole said this was the "biggest" Elimination Chamber ever with over one ton of bodies in the ring all added together. After a mid-ring double-boot knocked both men down, it was time for the third entrant. The third to enter was Big Daddy V. The crowd booed in disappointment. As Daddy V dominated early, Cole said he had the advantage of scouting the action in the ring for a few minutes before entering. Daddy V slammed Batista at 7:00, but questioned Daddy V's stamina in a match of this length. Taker was knocked into the door, which actually opened. Taker reacted like he probably didn't expect the door to open like that. It pretty much ruined the concept of everyone being trapped in the Chamber. Bush league. Taker returned to the chamber as WWE officials scrambled to figure out which of them wouldn't be fired for almost killing Taker and giving away the flimsiness of the cage after Cole had stressed at the start of the match that the Chamber "may seem flimsy, but it's not." Daddy V splashed Batista in the corner. Batista came back seconds later with a Spinebuster to show his first signs of life at 9:00. Daddy V got up, but Batista clotheslined him from behind over the top rope to the platform. Taker then DDT'd Daddy V onto the platform and Batista made a quick cover and a three count. Daddy V was eliminated. Batista covered Taker, but Taker powered out and sat up. Seconds later the fourth entrance took place as The Great Khali was released from his cage in the corner of the Chamber.
The crowd taunted Khali with a chant of "You can't wrestle." That's caught on. Most fans probably don't realize it's a "smart fan" chant to mock bad workers; most are probably just playing along with the character Khali being a heel. Khali hit an early chokeslam on Taker for a near fall. Khali then put Batista in his head vice. Batista escaped and speared him to the mat hard. Taker then gave Batista a boot to the face. Coach and Cole agreed that proved it was "every man for himself."; When Runjin Singh stood on the ring apron, Taker kicked him off the apron. Taker then applied his new submission hold on Khali and he tapped out at 14:00. Khali's totally being jobbed out right now. Khali was bleeding from the mouth. Taker threw Batista into the side of the Chamber.
Finlay entered next. Taker gave him a boot to the face immediately. Taker charged, but Finlay moved, then gave Taker the Celtic Cross. Coach said MVP was his favorite to win the Chamber. Batista catapulted Finlay into the side of the Chamber. Batista and Taker continued to take shots at each between going after Finlay. Coach said the match is exceeding any expectations anyone had. Coach doesn't speak for me. MVP was the last entrant. MVP actually tried to keep his pod door closed because Taker was waiting for him. Taker got the door open and pounded MVP in his own pod. Batista then went after Taker, driving his shoulder into Taker in the corner following by a running clothesline. Taker caught a charging Batista with his extended boot. MVP the entered and kicked Batista from behind, then charged and hit Taker in the face with his boot. He went for the pin; Taker kicked out at two. MVP kept stomping on the toher three, then climbed to the top of a pod. Taker met him up there, took a punch, punched back, and tossed MVP to the mat. Finlay rolled onto MVP and the ref counted to three.
It came down to all three babyfaces at 24:00. Taker went for a top-of-the-pod elbow on Finlay, but Finlay moved. All three were then slow to get up. Hornswoggle popped up from inside the Chamber with a smile. He handed Finlay the shillelagh. He hit Batista and Taker with it. Batista got right up and tried to powerbomb Finlay, but Finlay hit Batista in the head with it and landed on him, scoring a believable near fall. Taker then chokeslammed Finlay onto the platform, then covered him for the win. It was down to the two favorites, Taker and Batista, at 25:00. A bloodied Batista struggled to get to his feet. Same with Taker. When the each got up, they took turns punching each other with the crowd cheering Taker and booing Batista, although not overwhelmingly. Batista hit a Batista Bomb. Coach said, "It's over, Michael." We knew at that moment it wasn't. Sure enough, Taker kicked out. Batista punched Taker in the corner. Taker slammed Batista to the mat with a Last Ride and scored a two count. The epic battle continued, with Taker mounting Batista and pounding his head. At 30:00, Batista shot Taker head-first into the side of the Chamber. When he lifted Taker again, Taker flipped over the top rope and into the ring with Batista in his grip and gave a Tombstone to Batista, without pause, to score the pin.
WINNER: Undertaker in 31:00.
STAR RATING: **** -- That was a great finishing sequence to an excellent Chamber match. The final ten minutes were especially strong. The first 20 minutes was solid, with the spectacle of the Chamber itself adding to the action.
-Edge reacted to Taker's win backstage. Zach Ryder or Curt Hawkins (can anyone tell which is which yet?) said Taker is 15-0 at WrestleMania. Edge sarcastically thanked him. He told them they both need to step up. Teddy Long interrupted their conference. Long said with Vickie not there, he's in charge. He banned both Hawkins and Ryder from ringside. Edge protested, but Long walked away.
-A video aired showing a fat drowning man. He was saved by Mae Young who mounted him and performed mouth-to-mouth. It was supposed to promote WrestleMania. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler chuckled. Lawler and Ross talked about Ashley taking Maria to the Playboy mansion, then threw to highlights.
3 -- MR. KENNEDY vs. RIC FLAIR
Kennedy said from the stage that this marks the end of an era as he will close out Flair's career. Kennedy absorbed some early chops and then worked over Flair's legs for several minutes including applying a figure-four. Flair reached the bottom rope to force a break. Flair then chop-blocked Kennedy and took him to the mat. Flair then applied the figure four. Kennedy countered with an inside cradle for a near fall. Flair then quickly locked on the figure-four. Kennedy yelled in pain and tapped. The crowd popped. Flair grabbed the house mic after the match and finished with his catch phrases strung together with "never going to retire son of a gun, Nature Boy Ric Flair" closing it out. Along with two "whoos!" of course. Ross said, "How can you not love this man and what he's contributed to this business." Flair limped to the back.
WINNER: Ric Flair in 7:00 via submission.
STAR RATING: *3/4
-Vince McMahon told Finlay backstage on a training table that his little buddy will feel worse tomorrow when he gets finished with Hornswoggle in the cage on Raw tomorrow night. He said it will be a night of tough love.
-They showed a nervous looking JBL backstage.
-Cole and Coach talked about the Mysterio vs. Edge match. A fan held up a sign that said, "We Want Heyman."
4 -- EDGE vs. REY MYSTERIO - World Hvt. Title match
Cole called Rey the greatest underdog in WWE history during his ring intro. Edge exuded confidence early and even mocked Rey's arm injury. Rey's right arm was bandaged in loud red tape. He sold arm pain after an early huracanrana. Coach said, "You have to wonder if Rey has ever competed with a torn bicep before." That was just a stupid. When talking about Rey wrestling injured, Coach said, "Well, it probably can't get any worse than it is anyway." That was even more stupid. Edge dominated early, including working on Rey's arm. Rey came back by avoiding an Edge corner slidekick and then hit a moonsault for a two count. Coach said, "Rey is doing everything he can to win this match." Rey then hit a left handed DDT off the second rope. Rey then it the 619 at 6:00. Rey sold his injured arm as he struggled to his feet. Edge caught him in mid-ring with a Spear and got the three count. Coach said he can't believe Rey gutted it out like he did and nearly won.
WINNER: Edge in 6:00.
STAR RATING: *1/2 -- Good, spirited underdog effort from Rey.
-Out of nowhere, Big Show's music played. Cole and Coach reacted with surprise. Show was dressed in jeans and a sportscoat. Show unbuttoned his sportscoat and flashed his reduced mid-section. Cole said he appears to be in great shape. Show had a huge smile on his face. He looked like someone walking out on the reunion show of "The Biggest Loser" on NBC. He said, "Guess who's back?" He said he missed this place. He said he will be a champion again. He said it doesn't matter if it's Raw, Smackdown, or ECW. Meanwhile, trainers tended to Rey at ringside who was still selling the injured arm. He said he wasn't there to make any guarantees, but to say that he has lost 180 pounds and is ready to champion again. He was irritated by Rey at ringside, so he eventually left the ring and grabbed Rey by the throat at ringside. He slapped him and asked if it hurt. He challenged Floyd Mayweather at ringside, asking if he wanted to do anything about it. Mayweather had to be held back by his trainers as Show threatened to chokeslam Rey. Show lifted Rey. Mayweather broke free and entered the ring. His handlers pulled him back, but Show did drop Rey without slamming him. Show removed his jacket and looked ready to take Mayweather on. Mayweather walked up to Show and stared him down. Show rolled up his sleeves and shoved him away. Mayweather charged back at Show, but his handlers again pulled him back. He looked really small. Show got on his knees. May weather took two swings at Show, then he and his team ran away. Show charged after them. Shane McMahon ran out to try to talk Show into calming down. "What were you thinking?" Shane asked. He told him to be smart. Show bled hardway from the nose and mouth from Mayweather's punches. he was spitting blood as he walked to the back. The crowd booed him. Good angle leading to a presumed WrestleMania boxing match between them. He spitting mouthfuls of blood. A slo-mo replay definitely revealed he landed a right and a left - one on Show's nose and the other his mouth.
-Another video aired hyping WrestleMania. They showed Jeff Hardy warming up backstage. Ross and Lawler talked about the match coming up next. At ringside, Mike Adamle threw to a long recap of the Cena-Randy Orton video. He was tripped up on the letters "W-W-E." Nothing he says WWE-related really seems to roll of his tongue yet. It seems like he's memorized the words, but doesn't "feel" anything genuinely. It might as well be a foreign language to him.
5 -- JOHN CENA vs. RANDY ORTON -- WWE Title match
A huge "Let's go Cena"/"Let's go Orton" crowd chant battle began in the opening minutes. Cena got in a flurry at 3:00 and scored two near falls. Orton came back and worked over Cena for a few minutes, with Cena teetering on the middle rope as Orton punched him. The crowd worked themselves into a frenzy as they battled again over pro-Cena and pro-Orton chants. The tone of voices chanting for each were revealing. Cena fought back and hit a legdrop on the back of Orton's neck as Orton stood which led to a near fall. Cena went for an FU, but Orton escaped and gave him an uppercut. He then stomped on Cena's ankle. Orton settled in on a chinlock at 8:00. Cena powered out a minute later and clotheslined Orton to the mat. He began his "You Can't See Me" routine leading to the Five Knuckle Shuffle. When he lifted Orton for an FU, Orton rolled out of his grip and to the floor. Cena and Orton punched each other on the floor. Cena smiled at Orton when they returned to the ring. Orton surprised Cena with a chinlock into a backbreaker. A "Cena sucks" chant broke out as Orton set Cena on the top rope and set up a superplex. Cena shoved Orton to the mat and flew off the top rope with a legdrop. Orton moved. Orton went for an RKO, but Cena escaped and he slammed Orton to the mat and applied an STFU. Orton struggled toward the bottom rope. He did reach the rope after a minute of struggling. Orton yelled, "My knee! My knee!" When the ref checked on him, Orton said, "Count me out! Count me out!" When Cena went to check on him, Orton surprised him with a kick and then gave him an RKO on the floor. Ross called Orton a snake. Cena rolled back into the ring at the nine count to avoid a countout. He smiled at Orton and called on him to bring it. Orton looked like he had enough, so he slapped the referee, hoping to get disqualified. The ref called for the bell, DQing Orton, so the plan worked. Cena begged the ref to withdraw his DQ. The ref was angry and wouldn't. Cena gave Orton an FU and the STFU. Orton tapped out, but the ref had already left the ring. Cena finally let go after a minute, frustrated with Orton's cheap DQ loss to save his title. Ross said Cena's WrestleMania dreams have been extinguished. Lawler called it a cowardly act by Orton. A disgruntled Cena walked to the back. Lilian Garcia announced Cena was the winner by DQ. The gullible thousands cheered. She then said Orton retained on a DQ. The fans booed. Ross asked how any WWE fan could be proud of this WWE Champion due to his obvious lack of integrity.
WINNER: Cena via DQ in 15:00.
STAR RATING: ***3/4 -- These two have really developed a chemistry. The finish fits Orton's character and didn't come across as a cheap copout as much as it did another stage of an ongoing drama between Cena and Orton.
-Backstage, Shawn Michaels told Triple H that usually this is the time they throw out some witty comments and shill merchandise, but given the circumstances, that doesn't seem appropriate. Hunter said he will go through him to get what he wants. Michaels said that's why their friendship has always stood the test of time because they're always on the same page. There was a real serious tone between them.
-Ross and Lawler revealed fan predictions for the Chamber. Jeff Hardy was the predicted winner by 38 percent compared to Triple H at 31 percent, Shawn Michaels at 21 percent, Chris Jericho at 7 percent (poor Chris), Umaga at 2 percent, and JBL at 1 percent (poor JBL). Neither JBL nor Jericho have had the returns they were hoping for on a number of levels, reflected in this online poll.
6 -- ELIMINATION CHAMBER: TRIPLE H vs. SHAWN MICHAELS vs. JBL vs. CHRIS JERICHO vs. JEFF HARDY vs. UMAGA
It opened with Michaels vs. Jericho. They exchanged a series of early near falls with pin attempt counters one after another. Michaels went for a top rope elbow but Jericho lifted his knees. Jericho then went for a Walls of Jericho. Michaels resisted and kicked Jericho off of him. Michaels then went for a sharpshooter. Jericho countered with a small package for a two count. After both Michaels and Jericho collided in mid-ring, the countdown clock conveniently hit zero and Umaga was the next allowed in.
He dominated both Michaels and Jericho. He dumped Michaels onto the steel platform, then hit a diving headbutt on Jericho in mid-ring. At 9:00, after Umaga missed a headbutt attempt on Hardy, Michaels returned to the match with a top rope elbow onto the back of Umaga. Jericho seized the chance to attempt a Walls of Jericho on Umaga. He locked it in place and Umaga screamed in pain. Michaels then added a crossface. With ten seconds left before the next entrant, Umaga held on. JBL predictably was next in, saving Umaga by giving Jericho and Michaels consecutive boots to the face. Lawler questioned JBL's strategy. MIchaels was bleeding. They found the incident and replayed it in slo-mo of Jericho hitting Michaels in the face with his forearm on a mid-ring, mid-air collision minutes earlier. Umaga bodyslammed Michaels on the steel platform outside the ring.
Next in was Triple H, who gave out several spinebusters. He pounded his chest and DDT'd JBL for a near fall. He avoided an Umaga corner splash, then tossed Umaga into a pod. Jericho blindsided Triple H with a running bulldog. Triple H avoided a Lionsault, then set up a Pedigree. JBL saved Jericho with a Clothesline from Hell to Hunter. It seemed out of character for JBL to save Jericho of all people. Jericho then gave JBL his new finisher for a pin. JBL didn't believe it when he was told what happened. Jericho bled from his forehead as he struggle to get up. JBL left the Chamber, but then he immediately got back in with two chairs in hand. He bashed Jericho in the head, then Michaels, then paused before hitting Umaga. He backed down, but then swung and hit the unprotected skull of Umaga. He walked out of the ring at that point.
Jeff Hardy finally entered the match. Umaga was the only wrestle on his feet at the time. He took shots at Umaga, Michaels, Jericho, and then Triple H. He leaped off of Jericho's back and dropkicked Umaga in the corner. Hunter recovered and went after Hardy, but Hardy leaped off the middle turnbuckle and flipped into both Hunter and Michaels with Pele kicks. Umaga meanwhile beat up Jericho with a twisting chokeslam. He followed up by hanging Hunter upside down in the corner. A very blood Michaels, whose face was just a mask of blood, was whipped by Umaga into Hunter in the corner. Umaga followed up with a flying headbutt. Umaga went for a diving butt into Jericho's face, but just grazed Jericho while flying through the "bullet proof" pod in the corner. Umaga recovered and set up a Samoan Spike. Michaels superkicked him. Jericho gave him a Code Breaker. Hunter moved and gave him a Pedigree. He went for a cover, but then rolled away. Hardy climbed to the top of the pod and leaped with a Swanton Bomb onto Umaga. Jericho rolled onto Umaga and scored a pin. When he got up, Michaels superkicked him and Hardy made the cover for the win. It came down to Triple H, Hardy, and Michaels.
Triple H threw Hardy out of the ring, then gave Michaels the Pedigree and scored the three count. That left it Hunter vs. Hardy. The crowd chanted, "Hardy, Hardy" briefly. Hunter tossed Hardy onto the steel platform and tried to threw him into the chain wall. Hardy blocked it, but Hunter fired back with a DDT onto the platform. Hardy came back by throwing Hunter into the chains, then stomping on him. When Hardy leaped at Hunter, Hunter kicked him. Hunter went for a Pedigree. Hardy backdropped out of it. Hardy ripped off his shirt and went for a Swanton off the top rope. Hunter moved, then gave Hardy the Pedigree for a believable very near fall. The crowd popped huge for the kick out. Hunter was bleeding heavily from his forehead at this point. A much louder chant of "Hardy, Hardy" took place. Hunter brought a chair into mid-ring. He set up a Pedigree. Hardy gave Hunter a low-blow to block it. He went for a Twist of Fate, but Hunter blocked it and dropped Hardy onto it. Hunter then gave Hardy a Pedigree on the chair for the win.
WINNER: Triple H in 24:00.
STAR RATING: **** -- Another really good, dramatic Chamber match that really picked up in the final minutes. Well-booked and well-executed. The fans were really behind Hardy, so Hunter beating him took the wind out of some fans' sails. He's is to Hardy as Hillary is to Obama these days.
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