With this year’s event just around the corner Matthew Roberts takes another trip in the TWM Time Machine to Elimination Chamber 2012, where defending champion Daniel Bryan had five opponents facing him in the Chamber…

    Long time readers will be aware that I’m not a fan of “Gimmick” pay-per-views.  Matches such as Hell in A Cell and Elimination Chamber should be there for when feuds are at such an intense level that the match is the only way to settle it.  Not simply happen because it’s that time of year.  Of course, this doesn’t really matter in terms of the Chamber; now-a-days it’s just a lazy way to fill a gap between the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania. 

    We started things off with the Raw Elimination Chamber match as champion CM Punk (remember him?) faced the challenge of Chris Jericho (remember him?), Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, The Miz and Dolph Ziggler.  Despite the commentators stressing that this was the last chance for these men to get the opportunity to headline at Mania nobody was being fooled.  Only Punk or Jericho had any chance of winning. The match itself was entertaining though a definite notch below the best examples of the match.  Starting with Punk and Kingston there was a good pace to it but it didn’t really get going until Jericho became the last man to enter.  That he was eliminated by referee’s decision after a Punk kick rather than a pinfall or submission was designed to continue their feud until Mania.  I may be in a minority, but the match there wasn’t the best and seemed like a waste of Punk’s time.  But hey, complaining about “part-timers” coming back in to take a Mania spot only needs to be done when it’s “your spot” they’re taking, not lining up against you. 

    After Santino Marella drinking raw eggs and John Cena’s private gym where he trains with NXT guys like Seth Rollins and Xavier Woods we get the delights of Beth Phoenix defending her Divas title against Tamina Snuka.  Snuka isn’t any good now but maybe I’ve been harsh on her in recent times; ok, this if far from excellent and fans really don’t care at all about it, but for the time it’s quite well done.

    Santino Marella punches some meat next (not a euphemism, don’t worry) and continues his Rocky impersonation by running up some steps.  In-between is an interminable in-ring segment involving the likes of Alberto Del Rio, Mark Henry and Christian that I took as my excuse to go and make a cup of tea.  PPV is not the place for sub-par Raw shenanigans. 

    The Smackdown Chamber match is next as Daniel Bryan defends against The Big Show, Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, The Great Khali and Santino Marella.  What a line-up of talent huh?  The match is pedestrian and boring.  But then something magical happens.  Fans actually get behind Marella.  And for a few brief moments as he eliminates Rhodes and Barrett fans actually start to believe that a miracle could happen. It doesn’t, as Bryan eventually makes Marella tap out, but boy you could almost fool yourself into believing that it could.  This saves what is otherwise a nothing match. 

    Hornswoggle eating Cheese and Natalya farting (I’m not a fan of Nattie, but she never deserved that gimmick) backstage somehow morphs into Teddy Long booking an “impromptu” match for the US Title between Jack Swagger and Justin Gabriel.  It’s a nothing match and over within less than five minutes.  The two never stood a chance. 

    Which means that all we have left is the “main event” of John Cena against Kane in an Ambulance match.  I mean you cannot deny the efforts of both men, who certainly put in a shift, but this is a poor excuse for a main event and shows that “brawling” is a style that still requires skill to get over.  It will come as no surprise to anyone that Cena wins. 

    An Elimination Chamber event largely lives and dies on the Chamber matches.  Raw’s is a decent effort and Smackdown’s at least gives us an exciting last five minutes.  But neither are up there with the best Chamber matches and really are not worth taking the time to watch again.  With a shoddy undercard to boot, the fact remains that a show where a Tamina Snuka match is arguably the most entertaining of the night cannot be in anyway recommended.

    Photos courtesy of WWE