SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
After the Royal Rumble, the Elimination Chamber might be my favorite gimmick match in WWE. There are other competitors for second place, I guess, but there’s something so visceral and emotional about the Elimination Chamber that’s managed to draw me in even when the outcome of the match is in absolutely no question based on the booking. The very first one was a prime example of this, as the match was essentially built as Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H, but four guys were added to the feud to give it a fresh look.
Despite my love of the event, I certainly think it would do better if placed in the mid-to-later months, like maybe in September, to break it up with the Rumble. If you’re a top guy, why worry about a one-in-thirty chance to win a title shot when next month, you’ll have a one-in-six shot to win the title itself? If the popular rumors are true, then this year might really stand out as another obvious finish leading into the event. Hopefully, WWE gives us a good Chamber match regardless. With Smackdown’s storytelling of late, I’ll go ahead and trust them for now.
Cast your mind back to early 2008, where a young(er) Kelly Wells had daughters of just three and zero years and didn’t have the time or money for a lot of wrestling pay-per-views. I stretched myself out to see this one, though, as I was becoming a Jeff Hardy fan for the first time ever, as he was seemingly graduating from (talented, to be fair) spot monkey to a pretty good all-around wrestler, and Triple H was doing a good job as the heel seemingly holding everyone down. Nothing revolutionary, but all the right story pieces were present. Let’s give this one a second viewing and see how it holds up.
WWE ELIMINATION CHAMBER 2008
FEB. 17, 2008
The WWE’s cool voice guy tells us in his driving bass tones that the Elimination Chamber is an unforgiving structure. I bi-amped my speakers yesterday, so his voice has never been cooler.
C.M. Punk is jerking the curtain in the ECW Championship match. Punk was definitely on the way up here, as the fanbase was getting more into him despite him getting locked in a surprisingly long feud with Chavo Guerrero for the title, which Guerrero had cheated him out of a few months prior. This is the standard rematch, after the two had also had a “Gulf of Mexico” match where the only way to win was to throw your opponent in the Gulf of Mexico. After several reversals, Punk won the non-title match to embarrass Chavo for the second week in a row, and here we are.
Chavo enters to the usual lukewarm heat, as he never could shake the stigma of being the other Guerrero in WWE, even after the loss of Eddie.
Tazz and Joey Styles have the call.
(1) ECW: C.M. Punk vs. Chavo Guerrero (champion)
“C.M. Punk” chant to start. Punk hits a spinning backbreaker for a quick two. He charges Chavo in the corner but gets flipped to the outside and Chavo begs for the ref to count. Back in, and Chavo hits an uppercut for two. Chavo with kicks to the abdomen ut Punk fights to his feet and hits the hard kicks to the leg before Chano recovers and makes another cover. Suplex by Chavo into a leg scissors. Punk reaches his feet and monkey flips Chavo into the turnbuckle and continues with back kicks, some knees and back bodydrop. Punk covers for two again. He immediately sets up the Go To Sleep, reversed into a huracanrana. Chavo follows up with a Tornado DDT for two and does Eddie’s shimmy. Punk recovers and shimmies, and they boo him. Can’t do Eddie’s shimmy, guys, no matter how popular you usually are. Punk hits the Three Amigos to boos again. Rising knee to the corner, bulldog, two count.
Punk sets up the GTS again and Chavo reaches the ropes; Punk sets him on the apron and hits a kick to the temple, sending Chavo out. Punk rolls Chavo back in and covers for two. Punk crotches Chavo on the top and Chavo nearly gets crossed up by the rope in what could have been a bad moment. Punk attempts a rana from the top, but Chavo tosses him off, hits the Frog Splash and wins clean. Really weird use of a budding star, I guess, but on the other hand, you didn’t want to have Punk stuck on ECW with a title. Pretty decent match, this.
We’re in Las Vegas. Did I mention that? Well, we are. A camera takes us down the strip and shows off some of the garish lights.
Last week on SmackDown, Rey Mysterio accidentally hit a Thesz Press on Vickie Guerrero, leading into their match. Backstage, Mike Adamle interviews Rey. Mike has a tough time with the word “destiny.” He sort of had the Scott Steiner thing where he would glide over words. Rey gives a basic babyface promo and Mike sets up the ring psychology of the match, which is that Rey’s tendon is torn. Floyd Mayweather walks in arbitrarily and Rey gushes over him and they walk off as friends. The reaction is mixed for Mayweather, leaning slightly pro. That would change by WrestleMania.
Call the hotline to vote on who’s going to win the Raw Chamber match! As the chamber lowers into the ring, we get a package of past Chamber match moments, with some of it in black-and-white, seemingly for blood purposes. Then they show color at the end anyway, so…whatever. The SmackDown chamber match is next.
(2) Elimination Chamber match for a World Title match at Wrestlemania XXIV: MVP vs. Big Daddy V vs. The Great Khali vs. Finlay vs. Batista vs. The Undertaker
Michael Cole and Jonathan Coachman call this one.
MVP enters first, still enjoying something of a push and being called out as the longest-running U.S. Championship titleholder in SmackDown history. Big Daddy V is next, accompanied by Matt Striker. Coach says you “can’t” break the material the doors are made of, which has been disproven a number of times. The Great Khali is next to enter a pod, though the masochist in me would love to see how the fans had responded if Khali and Big Daddy V had started. Finlay is next to a nice pop. He’s a face here, but Hornswoggle isn’t at ringside. Hornswoggle faces Vince McMahon the next night on Raw.
Batista enters; he’ll start the match. Best pop of the match thus far, of course. The Undertaker enters last to join Batista in the ring and he seems to be popular as well. Weird fact as Undertaker milks his entrance in the usual fashion: this match isn’t searchable on the WWE Network and isn’t marked with those white and red dots signifying the beginning and ending of matches. This is done for Benoit matches, as a search for Chris Benoit reveals no results, but I don’t know why this match isn’t marked. Maybe someone gets killed in the match and I forgot about it.
Taker stares down Batista and the guys in the pods, and pulls the Chamber door shut himself. The bell rings and the big dudes trade punches. Batista hits shoulderblocks in the corner until Taker punches his way out. Taker dumps Batista to the steel outside the apron and smashes Batista’s face against the chains. Batista fights back wth a right and brings the action back to the ring. Batista covers for two and Taker hits a big boot immediately following and beats down Batista in the corner. Pretty slow pace here, obviously, especially since these guys will be hanging around in the ring for a while.
Taker with blocks and punches in the corner. The crowd gets a bit restless for someone to speed things up. Batista fights out of the corner to a split reaction from males and females; I’ll let you guess which was which. The counter tells us it’s time for another entrant and the lights bounce around the pods. The Great Khali is lit up, at least according to the aerial shot, but Big Daddy V enters instead. There’s a rare production mistake. V beats down the other guys to boos. Press slam to Taker. Chop to Batista. Samoan Drop for Undertaker and Cole says “This could be it!” Come ON, Michael. V doesn’t even cover. V stands on Taker’s throat. V ignores Taker for some reason and starts working on Batista, who was still winded in the corner. V headbutts Taker outside the ropes and Taker falls through the wall, which apparently wasn’t chained well enough? It didn’t look like a planned spot.
V splashes Batista in the corner. He doesn’t cover and Coach wonders why (so do I). Batista comes back and hits a spinebuster on V out of nowhere to finally slow V’s roll. For those who didn’t care about ECW at the time, Big Daddy V was pushed pretty hard in ECW. Batista knocks V to the floor outside the ring and covers (with a foot on the ropes) and pins him. Falls count anywhere, and V is done after being hit with basically two offensive moves after a total slaughter.
The buzzer sounds, and this time Khali really does enter and enjoys a “You Can’t Wrestle” chant. Khali picks up where Big Daddy V left off and beats both men in the corner, but Undertaker fights him off. Khali catches Taker in a chokeslam for a very close near-fall. Batista steps into the action and gets hammered down immediately by Khali for two. Khali Vice Grip, which has apparently beaten Batista before. Yikes. Batista fights out and spears Khali, but Taker recovers and slows down Batista. Undertaker attacks an interfering Ranjin Singh (Khali’s translator). Undertaker puts Khali in the triangle choke and Khali taps, giving us the original two again. Khali’s mildly bleeding from the mouth. I hope that’s not the reason you can’t search this match.
Taker and Batista battle on the steel, and Taker uses the chains for leverage and gains a two count. Taker rakes Batista over the steel grating on the bottom. Finlay enters #5, and he walks immediately into hard right hands by Undertaker. Slingshot to the ropes, but Undertaker charges and misses and Finlay slips out. Finlay hits the Celtic Cross on Undertaker for two. He follows up with a knee to the head and then goes out to the steel to tangle with Batista, who gets the better of him and monkey flips him to the chains. Finlay crumbles and falls back into the ring, where Undertaker is met by a re-entering Batista, who sets up a back bodydrop but gets kicked and clotheslined. Finlay slips in and covers Batista for two. Finlay with an elbow drop for Batista, then he tosses Undertaker out to the steel and rams him into the chains. Finlay drags Taker over the grating to get into position to cover him, and Taker growls from the pain. I’m always shocked wrestlers don’t swear more often.
Cover gets two and Finlay goes back into the ring, but gets suplexed off the turnbuckle by Batista. Cover for two. MVP’s buzzer goes off but Undertaker is stalking him at the door, so MVP tries not to enter. Taker steps in and hammers MVP down to a good reaction. MVP is laid out as Undertaker goes back into the ring and tangles with Batista some more. MVP walks in and hits kicks and knees on both of them, and covers Taker for two. MVP uses the chain around his neck to choke down Finlay and gets him down for two. MVP has all three others laid out and poses for a second. He uses the necklace on Taker’s head and covers for two. Taker’s starting to bleed a bit here. Taker sells not being able to see but he still begs MVP to hit him. “Taker” chant as MVP punches over and over but Taker follows him all the way up to the top of a pod. Taker grabs MVP by the neck and slams him down to the floor. Finlay picks up the cover on MVP and it’s good for three, meaning MVP’s night was no longer than Khali’s or Big Daddy V’s.
Undertaker is still up on the ropes, so he flies off with an elbow but misses Finlay. All three remaining men and down. Hornswoggle appears with a creepy face from between the ring apron and the steel, and he hands Finlay his shillelagh. Finlay takes it to Batista’s head during a spinebuster attempt and covers for a close two. Undertaker picks up Finlay, chokeslams him to the steel and goes out and covers for three. Well, Hornswoggle tried.
We’re left with the inevitable Batista-Undertaker showdown. Both are bleeding enough that I suspect this is why you can’t search the match. They trade punches just like in the beginning, and the “Boo-Yeah” is very firmly pro-Undertaker at this point. Batista hits a Batista Bomb but the cover comes slowly and he hits another very near fall. Both guys fight to their feet and Batista sets up Taker in the corner for the ten punches. He goes for twelve I guess. Undertaker wakes up and hits a Last Ride on Batista, but like Batista, he can’t cover quickly and he only gets a near-fall.
Undertaker stands up and makes the throat slash gesture. Undertaker lifts up Batista for the Tombstone but Batista frantically fights back to his feet and tosses Undertaker to the steel and knocks him into the chains again. Extremely cool finish spot, as Batista has Undertaker up for a powerslam or piledriver of his own, but his momentum carries him back over the ropes into the ring and flips the positions of both men, allowing Undertaker to hit the Tombstoe for three. This wasn’t much as a wrestling match, but it was a decent brawl with some okay spots, good storytelling and a finish that can’t be done in a normal match because there’s no platform outside the apron. Undertaker sells exhaustion while staring up at the WrestleMania sign. The 15-0 Undertaker will go on to face either Edge or Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania.
Backstage, Edge talks with a very young, very charisma-thin Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins. You wouldn’t see anything on Zack’s horizon based on this. Teddy Long walks into the shot and bans Ryder and Hawkins from ringside, and they do some really bad “disappointed” acting in response.
Baywatch-inspired ad. A not-so-fit guy pretends to be drowning so lifeguard Kelly Kelly can revive him with mouth-to-mouth. At the last moment, Mae Young tosses Kelly aside and covers the man with kisses. OBVIOUSLY, this is a promo for WrestleMania.
Ashley and Maria Kanellis visited the Playboy Mansion, and we have the footage! Ashley is trying to get Maria to pose, which clearly was already in the plans. Hef is in favor. David Hasselhoff is on hand, and some women have some “Knight Rider” body paint on, so I guess they crashed his party.
(3) Flair must retire if he loses: Ric Flair vs. Mr. Kennedy
Ric Flair was clearly pretty well done, and to set this up, he put his career on the line in every single match leading up to WrestleMania. He really hadn’t won many matches in a couple of years, but naturally he would beat some mid-carders before his battle with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV.
Kennedy gets on the stick and runs down Flair. Flair enters to a smaller pop than he’s earned, though it’s not like this match result is in any doubt. At ringside, Floyd Mayweather and his posse are pro-Flair.
Lockup after the bell. Kennedy blocks Flair and knocks him to the floor. He styles and profiles to boos as Flair gets to his feetand swats down Kenndy with a chop, then styles and profiles himself. Lockup, headlock by Kenny, sholderblock but he gets hiptossed the next time. Kennedy nods in grudging respect. Kennedy goes after Flair with punches in the corner but Flair chops out of it as the referee (Charles Robinson, naturally) holds back Kennedy from the corner. Kennedy takes control and hammers Flair’s leg in the corner and hits a half-crab. Flair reaches the ropes to break the hold and Flair sells the left knee. Kennedy slips out of the ring and wrenches the knee over the apron, then around the ringpost. Kennedy hits the figure-four around the post like Bret Hart used to do.
Kennedy gets down in Flair’s face and mocks him, then hits a hard slap to bring the audience back into it to some degree. Cover in the middle of the ring for two. More slaps and Kennedy lifts Flair to his feet, where Flair gets a short hope slap before being knocked down and put into another figure four. Flair swings at Kennedy but can’t get the better of him. Again, Flair has to get over to the ropes. Kennedy mocks Flair’s bad knee again, doing any heelish crap he can think of to wake up the tepid crowd. Kennedy holds up Flair but he slips out the back and hits a block to the back of the knee, then works the knee for a moment but gets rolled up after a figure-four attempt. Kennedy pulls down Flair’s tights but thankfully, the camera angle is on our side. Kennedy reverses a figure-four into an inside cradle for two, but Flair is able to slap it back on for the quick submission. Flair had one classic match left in him and this certainly wasn’t it, but the psychology was good enough. Flair grabs the mic and announces himself as the winner.
Hugs for ringside family of Flair, I assume. We get a quick shot of David Otunga in the audience. Huh. I never noticed that before. Otunga wouldn’t sign his developmental deal for another nine months, so I don’t know whether he was there for interviews, or what. I’m not sure anyone cares anyway, so let’s move on.
Backstage, Vince warns Finlay that he’s going to slaughter Hornswoggle.
Elsewhere, JBL paces around. Cool – I’m glad we were all able to witness that. Maybe his scene partner was a no-show. Up next, Edge defends the World Heavyweight Title against Rey Mysterio. The video package shows us this is all about Vickie Guerrero.
(4) World Heavyweight Championship Match: Rey Mysterio vs. Edge (champion)
Rey enters first to a good pop (by tonight’s standards). Mayweather likes Rey. Cole tells us that Rey is a “conquistador,” finally settling that mystery. Edge gets pyro. Should a jerky heel get pyro? Anyway, he does. Referee Mickey Henson holds up the title and we’re underway. Rey handles Edge in the early going and hits a huracanrana. I was always amused by the scattered loud boos from the guys who were desperate to prove that they wouldn’t cheer for a guy who kids liked. As Rey is outside the ring, a group of guys mercilessly heckle him with amusing vitriol.
Edge knocks Rey into the steps on the outside and tosses him back in. As Edge and Rey jockey for position, like four dudes chant “We want Vickie.” Huh. The two go to the corner and Rey gets hung up in the Tree of Woe. Edge slips in for a dropkick but Rey flips up and Edge crotches himself on the post. Edge hits a moonsault for two. To the corner and a bulldog from Rey. Cole makes a point to say Rey had to use his left arm because of the aforementioned injury. Now we get the 619 spot out of the way in the early going. Rey comes off the ropes with a splash attempt and gets speared out of the air for a surprisingly quick three. Mickey is all up in Rey’s ear checking on him, so this one went home early. Good action while it lasted.
As ringside goons check on Rey, The Big Show walks in, wearing a dapper suit. He opens the jacket to show off some weight loss and sways like a stripper as Cole giggles through a line. “Guess who’s back?” Mostly cheers. He announces he’ll be a champion again, and again is met mostly with cheers. Of note is Big Show’s low-riding baggy jeans. Who the hell manufactures jeans that Big Show swims in? Maybe it’s to sell the weight loss. Big Show finds himself annoyed with Rey’s continued ringside presence, and he impulsively destroys Rey in the ring as Mayweather’s posse holds him back. Show chokeslams Rey and Mayweather charges the ring. Show removes the jacket as posse finally lets Mayweather stand near Show. Show tries to intimidate Mayweather. It doesn’t work, so he shoves him back. Show kneels to his feet and Mayweather punches him a couple of times and runs off. Show’s nose is absolutely destroyed. Big Show spits blood as Shane McMahon talks him out of following Mayweather to the back. Behind Show, in the crowd, I am damn near positive that Lauren Cohan – Maggie from The Walking Dead – is in attendance. Check it out at about 1:44:22 on the Network if you have it.
WrestleMania spot features a lot of wrestlers this time. Backstage, Jeff Hardy hops around. I guess looking at people existing is how we’re establishing the participants in the main event.
Mike Adamle lets us know that John Cena wants the WEW Championship back. That’s not a typo, which you should know about Adamle. Let’s go to a video package leading to one of John Cena and Randy Orton’s many, many Pay-Per-View matches. Cena got injured, and in his absence, Randy Orton won the title. Cena was a surprise entrant in, and won, the Royal Rumble to gain this match, which was sped up from Wrestlemania.
Heavily pro-Cena crowd in Las Vegas, except for the humorously overbearing sign “Cena Ruined WWE” held by a guy who must have thought it wasn’t ruined enough to stay home. Cena is introduced first, which is a rarity these days regardless of who’s got the title. Orton saunters slowly onto the ramp. Ross is on commentary with Lawler now; I probably missed one of the several changes to the booth at some point.
Mike Chioda gets to referee because, who else? Chioda check the wrestlers and they glare at each other from opposite turnbuckles.
(5) WWE Championship Match: John Cena vs. Randy Orton (champion)
Lockup and Cena hits an inside cradle for one. Another quick cover for one. More gender-split chanting for the two. Orton with a kick to the abdomen and then to the back of the head. Cena gets to his feet in the corner but Orton pummels him into another one. Cena reverses a slingshot and leads into the bulldog for two.
Cena slingshots Orton again, who responds with a kick to the head. He hits the outstretched arm pose and Cena cradles him for two but Orton kicks out and hits a clothesline for two. Orton ties up Cena in the ropes while Orton hits him with “scintllating” forearms. Let’s save “scintillating” for something bigger than a basic right fist, eh? Cena gets dumped but he drops Orton on the ropes and covers for two. Cena charges into a waiting elbow in the corner. Orton chokes Cena down on the ropes as long as he legally can. Cena pops up for an AA attempt (still called an FU) and Orton elbows himself out and knocks down Cena again, who’s selling the right leg.
Orton spreads Cena’s arms out and stomps the chest. He goes after the pectoral muscle, which was the reason for the absence. Orton lowers his right knee pad and missed a jumping knee to Cena. Cena fights off Orton for a moment as the boo-birds start to really get into it. Orton hits a headlock into a chinlock after the short hope spot. The audience sticks with the match during the lengthy chinlock, which goes against everything they’ve taught me as an audience to this point.
Cena fights out of the bottom of the chinlock and hits a couple of blocks, then a side slam. Five-Knuckle Shuffle time. Orton slips out of the FU again and bails. Cena follows Orton to the ramp and hammers him with fists there, but Orton comes back with his own. Chioda reaches nine. Both guys charge into the ring; given the eventual finish, why did Orton bother?
Lefts and rights are traded.Orton hits a knee on Cena and covers for two. Orton sets Cena on the top turnbuckle and prepares a superplex. He’s pushed off and Cena flies down with a missing legdrop. “That’s two cardinal mistakes from two stars,” Gorilla Monsoon says from the afterlife. Orton does the snakey stalking thing and waits for Cena to turn around. An RKO is reversed into a slam into an STFU. Females are popping huge. Orton hovers his hand over the mat but he reaches the ropes to break. Orton goes out to tend to his knee while Cena stares from the ring. Orton wants Chioda to check on the knee, and he barks “Count me out” at Chioda. Chioda, consummate pro, won’t let this happen. Cena gets suckered in and Orton hits the RKO on the outside. Orton sneaks in but the count doesn’t start immediately as Orton is in the ropes. Chioda checks on Orton again, realizes it was a ruse and he starts counting.
Cena rolls in at nine again while Orton sells disbelief. Cena implores Orton to get up in his face. OUt of nowhere, Orton punches Cioda with a hard right, and Chioda, too annoyed to be a consummate pro, calls for the disqualification. Chioda heads out and a frustrated Cena destroys Orton with an STFU.
Nine years later, I still don’t know what to think of this finish. Orton could have done it at any time, though I guess they did plant the seeds that he was at least trying to bail from the match earlier. It annoyed a lot of people at the time, of course. On the other hand… I mean… it’s hilarious. It’s a pretty good match leading to the surprising finish, and the audience was all about it.
Orton poses like a jerk with his belt after the official announcement, holding it up for all to see.
Backstage, Triple H sits in the locker room until Shawn Michaels enters and they exchange some subtext-laden comments about being on the same page. Short but sweet.
The Chamber has been lowered again, and we have the results of the online voting for who will win: Jeff Hardy 38%, Triple H 31%, Shawn Michaels 21%, Chris Jericho 7%, Umaga 2% and JBL 1%. I ponder whether JBL received zero votes in reality.
Of note, if you like pointless trivia like me: the Edge-Rey match is also not marked on the Network, and this Elimination Chamber match isn’t either. All the even-numbered matches are. Is someone asleep at the wheel
(6) Elimination Chamber match for a WWE Championship title match at Wrestlemania XXIV: Triple H vs. Umaga vs. JBL vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
Lillian Garcia runs through the rules, which is a little silly since this is the second Chamber match of the night. It’s not like the show is running short. Triple H is introduced first to enter one of the pods. Long entrance, of course. Umaga, far removed from the huge push of early 2007, enters to a pretty light reaction. He gets in Triple H’s face outside his pod, then enters his own. JBL, another obvious non-winner, enters to little reaction. All these entrances are pretty long. Jeff Hardy becomes the latest to wake up the crowd as he enters to nice reaction.
Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels enter to do battle first, because the WWE loves us. Jericho spends some time mocking the guys stuck in the pods. “HBK” chant starts up before Shawn Michaels is introduced. Seven minutes of entrances mean that this match will be significantly shorter than the other Chamber match, despite much better workers on average.
Jericho grabs a headlock and a wristlock to open. Elbows from HBK leading to a bodyblock befor the two trade chops. Michaels can’t roll through to the crucifix so he changes midstream to a different rollup for two and the two of the trade near-falls. Jericho falls back onto HBK for two but HBK bridges out into a backslide for two. There were probably about as many pin attempts there as there were in the first Chamber match. Jericho gets the advantage and puts fists to Shawn’s face until Shawn reverses, kips up and hits the inverted atomic drop. Bodyslam. Shawn goes up for an elbow but Jericho lefts the knees. That probably hurt. Bulldog by Jericho. Lionsault, HBK lifts the knees but Jericho falls short and quickly goes for the Lionsault. Michaels goes for a Sharpshooter to a few boos. Jericho fights out of it and drops an elbow for two. Weird moment as both guys go for a bodyblock and slam into each other awkwardly. As both guys lay about, Umaga is introduced.
Umaga hits fists and clotheslines. He tosses Jericho out to the steel and then blocks both HBK and Jericho to the mat as he returns. Umaga lfts Jericho into a Samoan Drop. Michaels tries to break it up, but gets lifted along with Jericho and Umaga Samoan Drops them both. Umaga thrustkicks Michaels out to the steel and headbutts Jericho to the chest. Umaga goes out to Michaels for a bit, then back to Jericho, then back to Michaels. Not sure what he’s doing. He steps up the chains and slams down on Michaels’s back.Back inside where Jericho fights back with punches and chops until he’s bulldozed with a punch. Umaga misses a splash from the second rope, and Michaels slips in with an elbow to Umaga’s back. Jericho gets Umaga into the Lionsault and HBK helps out with a crossface. The count brings us JBL, who breaks up the Lionsault for some reason. Hard clotheslines for the faces, of course. Michaels must have bladed when the lights were out and JBL was being introduced. That’s a huge amount of blood out of nowhere.
Umaga slams Michaels on the steel while Jericho and JBL battle in the ring. JBL tosses Jericho out to the same section of the steel as the other men, so Umaga and Michaels go back into the ring. Umaga kicks Michaels out to the opposite ramp as a (seemingly brief?) round passes and Triple H enters. Thesz Press to Umaga. Kneelift for JBL. Then another for Umaga. Trips hits spinebusters for everyone. DDT to JBL gets two. Triple H launches Umaga over a turnbuckle into a pod. Jericho bulldogs Triple H but misses a Lionsault. Triple H sets up a Pedigree, broken up by JBL. Jericho shows his appreciation by hitting a Lionsault on JBL to pin him for the first elimination. JBL brings chairs to the ring and has shots for Jericho and Michaels. He backs off of Umaga, but then suckers him in for another. JBL heads out to boos. Jericho is bleeding now, though he’s got work to do if he wants to catch Michaels. Everyone lay around for a significant amount of time until the counter finally brings us Jeff Hardy.
Umaga has gotten to his feet, and Hardy goes after him. Jeff hits all corners and has offense for everyone. He uses Jericho to hit the Whisper in the Wind on Umaga. Umaga finally slows Jeff down with a thrustkick, then works on Triple H. Tree of Woe. Michaels gets thrown by Umaga into the same corner and he flips over and out to the steel. Umaga charges Triple H, still in the tree, with a headbutt. Umaga tosses Triple H out and then follows by breaking Jericho through one of the pods. “Holy shit” for the first time tonight. Umaga sets up Jericho for something, but HBK hits Sweet Chin Music, Jericho hits the Codebreaker, and Triple H hits the Pedigree. He rolls Umaga into a corner and Jeff flies off a pod with the senton. Jericho covers Umaga for three as Hardy rolls away.
Immediately, HBK hits Sweet Chin Music on Jericho and Hardy picks up that pin. Triple H tosses Hardy from the ring to the steel and a Pedigree ends Shawn Michaels. Fun Fact: eliminations happened in the exact order “predicted” by the WWE poll about who will win.
Jeff heads back into the ring but gets thrown out to the steel again quickly. Jeff hits a DDT on the steel. Jeff throws rights and tosses Trips into the chains repeatedly until he falls back through the ropes and into the ring. He tries to roll out as Jeff goes in but Jeff heads up to the turnbuckle. Jeff walks into a kick. Triple H sets up the Pedrigree but Jeff backdrops Triple H into the ring. Jeff misses a Swanton, and Triple H hits a Pedigree. Jeff kicks out for the pop of the night. “Hardy” chant. Triple H grabs one of the chairs and sets up a Pedigree. Hardy kicks out of it and attempts a Twist of Fate, but he’s tossed onto the chair instead. Triple H gets his Pedigree on the chair and finishes for three. Triple H will head to WrestleMania to face Randy Orton in a match that was pretty stale even then. This is a pretty exciting Chamber match, as there’s at least a small question about who will win, given Hardy’s crazy momentum at the time. The rapid-fire eliminations near the end are done effectively and believably, and Umaga really got a great push in the match despite being eliminated second.
Legacy of No Way Out 2008
Hardy’s momentum would slow down almost immediately, as he was suspended for his second Wellness Policy violation in March and would miss WrestleMania entirely. Hardy seemed poised to win the Money in the Bank ladder match, but instead, C.M. Punk went on to win, beginning a tough road to the top of his whirlwind career. While I’d like to say Jeff had earned a better match in WrestleMania than an appearance in Money in the Bank, even if he had gone on to win, the WWE certainly was hurt less by him dropping out of a multi-man match than they would have been if he had been booked in a one-on-one. With great popularity usually comes a lot of chances, so Jeff would win each world title within the next year and a half before his outside issues crept in and he was let go.
The Undertaker would go on to beat Edge in the main event at WrestleMania for the World Heavyweight Title, continuing his streak. John Cena would be wedged into the WWE Title match to make it a three-way with Triple H and Randy Orton, and Orton would successfully defend. A battle royal would run on Wrestlemania’s pre-show to determine the #1 contender for Chavo Guerrero’s ECW Championship, and since Kane was a guaranteed Wrestlemania participant at the time, he won, and went on to beat Chavo in an 11-second match that drove home the importance of the ECW Championship at that time.
Umaga would be released a year later due to a Wellness Policy failure. In late 2009, he lost his life after an overdose of painkillers and muscle relaxers. Umaga had improved a lot during his time in WWE, going from ho-hum tag team power guy to a legitimate beast. He was 36 at the time of his death, so he probably didn’t have a ton of years left in his career, but it’s hard to say how good those years could have been.
The fact that Floyd Mayweather and his team of 19894 goons would all run from the ring after he punched Big Show would prove to be the beginning of a heel turn, as a babyface doesn’t run, particularly when he has numbers. Though Show performed a heel turn in this show, as he does in many shows, he would end up being cheered as the face by the time they met at WrestleMania in a match Mayweather would win.
Shawn Michaels would be the man to end Ric Flair’s career at WrestleMania, which would be a tearful, powerful match, and Flair’s best in some time. I assume you’ve all sought this out, so I won’t belabor the point.
Lauren Cohan would go on to be cast in the role of a lifetime as Maggie on The Walking Dead. She’s been booked as a strong babyface, and recently graduated from a “face in peril” role to more of a dominant one, following the death of her beloved husband at the hands of Negan.
Seriously, guys. Check out that Big Show segment and let me know if you agree that it’s Cohan. Tweet me @spookymilk if you see what I see. Cheers, everybody.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: PPV LOOKBACK: Royal Rumble 2013 – C.M. Punk vs. The Rock, Del Rio vs. Big Show, Team Hell No vs. Rhodes Scholars, Rumble Match
Leave a Reply