Tonight is the last WWE pay-per-view event before WrestleMania 29 - it's the Elimination Chamber! The Rock defends his title against CM Punk, and Alberto Del Rio takes on Big Show one more time - but will Dolph Ziggler intervene? Here's the full card:
Brodus Clay and Tensai (w/ Cameron and Naomi) vs. Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow)
Check back periodically throughout the evening for updated results and reaction here on Ring-Rap.com.
Tony Dawson and Matt Striker are the announcers. They run down the card for tonight and show shots in the arena concourse.
Josh Mathews interviews Randy Orton. Orton says the only thing more dangerous than the Chamber match is a man with nothing to lose and no respect for the well-being of his opponents. He promises to show everyone how dangerous he can be.
They run a video package for The Shield.
Match #1 - Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes vs. Tensai and Brodus Clay (w/Cameron and Naomi)
Rhodes Scholars comes out first, and Sandow cuts a promo. He says there's an outrage among "all you halfwits" for a Rhodes Scholars reunion. Rhodes says through litigation and red tape they made it happen. He demands fans rise and give the reunion a standing ovation. "You're welcome...", Sandow closes.
Clay and Tensai come out next, and Tensai's got a hat on. They run a video package on how Clay and Tensai joined up after Raw in Vegas.
Not much to this one as Clay and Tensai hit splashes to beat Rhodes and Sandow. Tensai and Clay dance afterward with the ladies.
Probably more hype to start the match than actual match. It was missable.
They air a WrestleMania 29 video package, with the event now being 49 days away.
The announcers hype up the Elimination Chamber match, and Striker gives it a good hard-sell by saying you'll see things in that match you won't see elsewhere. They air a package highlighting the chamber.
Dawson and Striker give one more pay-per-view pitch then send it to a package that highlights the CM Punk vs. Rock situation for the WWE Championship. That's the pre-show ending.
Elimination Chamber PPV, live from New Orleans, La.
The show opens with a video package, and they note the sponsorship of GI Joe 2, which stars The Rock. Cole introduces the show and tells us they're sold out with 16,600 fans in attendance.
Match #1 - Alberto Del Rio (c, w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Big Show; World Heavyweight Championship
Del Rio has a red scarf on and Cole introduces the Spanish announce team, and JBL and Lawler check in for the balance of the announce team. Show hits an early Vader Bomb for two. Del Rio locks on a Cross Arm Breaker but Show breaks it in the ropes.
Later, Show hits a chokeslam for a good near fall. Show teases the WMD Punch, but Del Rio rolls out. He hits a DDT on Show then hits a big kick.
Del Rio locks in the Cross Armbreaker again and Show struggles to the ropes. He then changes his mind and picks Del Rio up. He hits a slam to break the hold. Ricardo gets up on the apron with the bucket a little later. Show hits Del Rio then takes the bucket. He takes a swing-and-miss kick at the bucket.
After another swing-and-miss kick (which draws a crowd groan), Del Rio hits another kick then gets Show to submit to the Cross Arm Breaker.
Winner - Alberto Del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship
An "okay" start to the show. Seems the live crowd was into it though. The flub with the bucket did draw a groan, but it wasn't a match-killer.
They show an ad for GI Joe 2, then talk to Rock's co-stars at ringside.
Match #2 - Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. The Miz; United States Championship
Cesaro controls the early going of this one, focusing on Miz's shoulder. JBL puts over Miz for being tough with his shoulder issue and still working this match. Miz's arm is pretty heavily taped.
Miz gets an advantage outside the ring by running Cesaro to the steps. Miz tries the Figure Four but can't quite get it. He goes for a punch to the midsection, but Cesaro sweeps Miz's leg. It causes Miz to knee Cesaro in the groin. The official calls a DQ.
Winner - Antonio Cesaro by DQ to retain the United States Championship
Guess we'll see this again at Mania?
Kane and Daniel Bryan cross paths. Bryan accuses Kane of being grumpy. Kane says he's not grumpy and not one of the seven dwarfs. He calls himself focused and says he's never been in a WrestleMania main event in his 15-year career. He says this is a big deal for him.
Bryan says he gets it and says that they need to watch each other's back Team Hell No style. They hug, then Kane says Bryan should watch his back, and Kane will watch his own back. Kane leaves and Bryan scratches his head.
They air the video package for Elimination Chamber again.
Match #3 - Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton vs. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan vs Chris Jericho vs. Mark Henry; Elimination Chamber to be #1 Contender to the World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania
Swagger comes to the ring first with Zeb Coulter, his "manager". He cuts a promo, saying that when he gets a mic, he showers the fans with truth. He puts over Coulter, saying this man speaks truth and gives him the mic. He calls Coulter a great man.
Coulter says that on the eve of President's Day, he can't help but think about Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase. He says Jefferson would be disappointed to see what came of Louisiana and "our great country." Zeb talks about defending the country with his life.
Zeb calls the WWE and this country full of panderers and excuse makers. He complains about illegals, breaking laws and then asking for handouts. He says he and Swagger will make things right. He says a real American will win one for the good guys and says tonight's the beginning of a Jack Swagger America.
Each man gets an entrance after Swagger's promo. Bryan and Jericho start the match off. They go back and forth in the early going and work the full first four minutes. Swagger is the next man in.
Swagger works over Bryan, then goes after Jericho. He works Jericho over on the grating. Bryan recovers and goes after Swagger. He hits Swagger with a knee off the ropes then hits a suplex on Jericho. He misses the following headbutt from the ropes. Kane is the next man in.
Kane clears Swagger, but gets rolled up by Bryan. Bryan asks for a hug in the middle of the match. Kane yells no while Bryan yells yes. Bryan pie faces Kane, then takes an uppercut from Kane. Jericho picks up Bryan on his shoulders and Kane hits a clothesline ala the Road Warriors' Doomsday Device.
Orton checks in. Kane tries a chokeslam but Orton avoids it and throws Kane into the chain link. Orton hits the hanging DDT on the grating. Mark Henry checks in and goes ape. He hits the World's Strongest Slam on Bryan, eliminating him.
Henry keeps up the offense and throws Orton through one of the pods. The hinges break away. Henry eliminates Kane with the World's Strongest Slam. Henry turns his attention to Jericho.
Jericho slips away from Henry then shoves him to the corner. Swagger and Jericho team up to hit a double suplex. They don't last long as a pair as they go after each other. Jericho gets the better of it and tries a Lionsault. Henry grabs Jericho on the springboard part of the move and slams Jericho into the chain. He picks Jericho up again and throws him in the ring, on top of Swagger.
Henry sets Swagger and Jericho up for a double splash, but both men got out of the way. Swagger hits Henry with a kick and Jericho follows with a Codebreaker. Orton recovers and hits the RKO and pins Henry.
Really nice sequence and they put it over as three men to eliminate Henry.
Henry isn't done though and comes back. He hits World's Strongest Slams on all three remaining men. Booker T and Teddy come out with six referees to get Henry to leave the ring. JBL applauds Booker for doing what he needed to to preserve the integrity of the match.
Jericho, Orton and Swagger are all down. Swagger tries to get a pin on Orton. Jericho and Orton work together to throw Swagger through the ropes and Swagger crashes into a pod. Orton and Jericho work the match. Jericho gets hit with a drop kick from Orton as he jumps from the ropes.
Swagger tries a Swagger Bomb, but Orton gets a leg up. Swagger lands on his feet instead and locks on the Patriot Act. Jericho breaks the hold up. A bit later Orton hits a double hanging DDT and plays to the crowd.
Orton teases the RKO but Jericho shoves him away. Jericho tries the Lionsault but Orton blocks it and hits the RKO. Jericho is pinned. Swagger rolls Orton up to get the win and go on to WrestleMania.
Winner - Jack Swagger to gain the #1 Contender slot to the World Heavyweight Championship
A good chamber match that picked up as Henry came in and worked the action down the stretch. I really felt Henry would take it, but Zeb's promo planted some doubt. I'd rather they would take some time to develop Swagger and let Henry be the guy to go on, but it's a good second choice. Good showing by Henry, too, by the way.
They show a WrestleMania video package and Cole says limited tickets are available. They set up Cena, Sheamus and Ryback vs. The Shield with a video package.
Match #4 - John Cena, Sheamus, and Ryback vs. The Shield
Faces out first, then The Shield comes through the crowd. They brawl to get it started, then the faces hit a triple standing suplex. The Shield takes over though and gets the better of Cena as action settles in.
Reigns hits a clothesline then tries a pin. Sheamus breaks it up then Reigns jaws at him. Reigns hits a Samoan drop for a two count, then Cena comes back with a backdrop. Reigns took it awkwardly. Cena charges him but eats an open hand to the chest.
Cena continues to sell. Ambrose hits a DDT and does some really nice jawing and animating as he waits for Cena to stand up. Ambrose twitches as the fans chant Feed Me More. Ryback gets the hot tag and gets the better of The Shield.
Reigns spears Sheamus through the timekeeper area. Ryback gets Rollins up for a powerbomb, but Ambrose strikes him to break it up. Cena hits the AA on Ambrose a little later and Ryback sets up Shellshock on Rollins. Reigns runs in and spears Ryback, which causes Rollins to fall on Ryback for the pin.
Winner - The Shield
The announcers ask if anyone saw that coming. Cena looks baffled, Sheamus is holding his head, and Ryback storms off frustrated.
Wild finish that will keep the die-hard fans happy. They will eventually panic over a loss at WrestleMania for The Shield. That was a good finish though with Reigns hitting the spear as he did.
They show a Don't Try this at Home video, then the announcers put over The Shield for winning. Cole says that they are a team and believe in what they're doing.
Dolph, AJ and Big E head to the ring. Dolph says they're on the road to WrestleMania but he's not on the show tonight. He mocks Swagger returning from "an extended vacation" to win the new No. 1 contender's slot. Dolph says Swagger thinks he's guaranteed the title, but only he is as the MITB holder.
Dolph continues to vent, but he's interrupted by Booker T. Booker basically repeats Dolph's promo to some extent, then books an immediate match.
Match #5 - Dolph Ziggler (w/AJ and Big E Langston) vs. Kofi Kingston
Partway through, Ziggler eats Trouble in Paradise but Langston breaks up the cover. Kingston hits a high cross body on Ziggler and Langston at ringside. Langston looked like hit his head on the barrier.
Ziggler is able to finish off Kingston with the Zig Zag.
Winner - Dolph Ziggler
Dolph and the entourage start to leave but Langston goes back and works over Kofi with some punches then a big clothesline. He hits the Big Ending to leave Kofi laid out.
Looks like Kofi's been reduced to undercard fodder or something. Don't get cranked up if he gets another mid-card strap run.
Brodus Clay is playing with WWE action figures. Tensai walks in and Brodus refers to him as Sweet T, which Tensai says he doesn't like. Tensai says the writing on his face is supposed to be Japanese words of honor, but with his luck it's a sushi menu.
Match #6 - Kaitlyn (c) vs. Tamina; WWE Diva's Championship
Business as usual in the women's division tonight. Crowd was pretty flat for this one as divas watched on a monitor backstage. Late, Tamina goes up for a superfly splash but Kaitlyn rolls out of the way. Kaitlyn hits a spear to win.
Winner - Kaitlyn to retain the Divas Championship
Snoozer affair to bring the crowd down for the finale.
They run a video package for WrestleMania, then set up the main event of the evening for us with another video package. Punk and Heyman come out first, with Punk holding the belt. Punk makes Roberts introduce him as the "People's Champion." Rock comes out second.
Match #7 - The Rock (c) vs. CM Punk (w/Paul Heyman); WWE Championship
Rock and Punk jaw shortly after it starts. Punk slaps Rock, then Rock backs Punk into the corner. Punk spits at Rock, trying to get him so riled up he'll get himself DQ'd. The announcers build in that story that if Rock gets DQ'd, he lose the title.
They work a slow pace for the next few minutes. Punk locks a chinlock on. Rock throws some hands but takes a leg lariat from Punk, who gets a two count out of it. Punk puts the chinlock back on. The pace is slow here. Punk hits a springboard clothesline for two, then goes back to the chinlock.
Rock gets up and throws hands again. He charges Punk, but Punk puts his foot up. Rock sees it coming though and punches Punk again. Rock backs off when the official asks, and Punk comes back with a knee. Punk hits the high knee in the corner then a clothesline. He goes up top, checks his pulse then hits an elbow drop.
Punk starts to tear apart the Spanish announce table. Rock recovers though and attacks Punk at ringside. Punk hits another kick and gets a two count out of it. Punk throws Rock to ringside while Heyman argues with the official.
Punk hits a Rock Bottom on the announce table, but the table didn't break. The official starts a count, and Rock just beats it. Punk starts with repeated strikes.
Punk blows a kiss to someone and runs the ropes, but Rock catches him with a Samoan drop. Rock gets the offense rolling about 15 minutes into this one. He sets up a Rock Bottom but Punk elbows his way out. JBL raves that Punk has a perfect game plan going.
Punk tries a springboard move, but Rock catches him in position and hits the Rock Bottom for a good near fall. Heyman yells encouragement to Punk, who rolls out to take a powder. Rock doesn't let him though and goes after him. Rock throws Punk back in while Heyman yells at the referee. Punk runs Rock into the referee for the mandatory bump.
Punk delivers the GTS and has Rock beat but there's no official. A trainer comes out to check on the referee, along with a second official. Heyman yells at the second ref to get in the ring, as does Punk, but he doesn't comply immediately.
Rock comes back and hits the spinebuster followed with the People's Elbow. The second referee gets in the ring and counts, and Punk kicks out of a good near fall. Punk rolls up over the second official's leg, and he sells that at ringside.
With both referees out, Heyman grabs the belt and holds Rock. Punk tries to hit Rock with the belt, but Rock ducks and Heyman eats it instead. Rock hits the Rock Bottom, then covers for the win as the first official gets back into the match to count the fall.
Winner - The Rock to retain the WWE Championship
The announcers begin to hype up that Rock is going to WrestleMania as WWE Champion. JBL says he's not sure justice was served tonight.
Rock celebrates with the title as the announcers start to hype up Rock vs. Cena II for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania. JBL calls them two of the greatest icons of sports entertainment as Rock poses with the belt to end the night.
The match wasn't "wow" worthy, but it was solid. They did get a bit gimmicky down the stretch with all the officials nonsense. Rock seemed to get pretty gassed early on in this one for some reason.
The slow pace and the ref bump stuff seemed to take the live crowd out of it too. They got into the near falls, but the other stuff left them kind of flat. And Punk still has an out and is protected in the loss by saying that he had Rock beat when the official stuff started going on.
The middle of this show was the best part. The Chamber was good, as was the six-man tag. Both finished very differently from what I thought would be the predictable outcomes. Like I mentioned - I didn't hate the main event, but it just didn't "wow" me like it could have.
Join me tomorrow night for live Raw coverage of all the fallout, right here on Ring-Rap.com. Thanks for following along tonight.