Monday, 18 February 2013 09:32
Thumbs slightly up
Best match: Elimination Chamber
Worst match: ADR vs. Show (again)
When they started the "Fox News" gimmick with Swagger and Zeb, I figured they were eventually building to a program with "Pride-Of-Mexico" Del Rio. I didn't think they'd pull the trigger this quickly, though. Doing a hot-button-political-issue angle is a double-edged sword, and the WWWFE doesn't have a great track record when it comes to doing this stuff well. It's a plus that everybody has an opinion on the issue, so fans will pick a side and be emotionally invested in the Swagger-ADR match. The minefield is that a lot of anti-immigration types are going to cheer Swagger as the babyface, which isn't necessarily going to help their goal of pushing ADR as a babyface. It also seems likely that since Zeb keeps going on about his military service, ADR will reveal the fact that he's full of crap and never served (or something).
ADR-Show was boring, and I hope it's the end of their program. The missed enziguiri is probably already a Botchamania meme by now. I think the WHC match should have come after the chamber, as the prospect of the chamber guys wrestling "either Del Rio or Show" affords more possibilities for speculation and talking points. Cesaro-Miz wasn't great, but I did like the clever finish and it was a smart way to keep their issue going. The six-man was good and the right team won. The Ziggler-Kofi bonus match actually FELT like a bonus, and that's rare. The Diva match was fine for what it was, and showing the other Divas intently watching was a nice touch.
I enjoyed JBL's sly reference to him knowing Zeb very well, as Zeb managed him when he entered the WWWFE in the 90s as Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw. I like the Cole/JBL team, but Lawler needs to call it a career. "They call her a doorknob!" "Extremely Crappy Wrestling!" It's like someone has a Lawler soundboard and just randomly pushes buttons.
The chamber was very well done. Mark Henry was booked perfectly. I do think they should have put Swagger over stronger than with the surprise schoolboy, but it worked. Team Hell No is the greatest "odd couple" tag team ever. It seems like they're pushing for Kane to eventually get his dream of main-eventing a WM next year. I doubt they have the long-term patience for this, but it would be great if they could drag out the THN team/feud all the way to a blowoff main event match at WM30 to close out Kane's career.
Rock-Punk was a good match and told its story well, but it couldn't touch the excitement of their Royal Rumble match. I did laugh at Punk taking a moment to instruct JBL to safeguard his hat, which was met with a thumbs-up. If/When they rematch again, they should probably just avoid the table spot altogether. It doesn't like them. Punk having Rock beaten clean with no ref is intriguing. Punk does the "I got screwed" promo better than anyone.
Las Vegas, NV
Best match: Shield vs. Ryback, Cena and Sheamus
Worst match: Kaitlyn vs. Tamina
Chippenwhales vs. Team Rhodes Scholars 1/2*
Honestly, I could care less about Brodus. I really dig the girls and I'd like to see some more of Naomi in the ring. Tensai didn't give me much since returning but this is probably the best thing that could have happened to him at this point of his career. Also, he's got some moves. Dancing moves that is.
Match was fine, I guess - I don't know if it was just a problem with my computer but every time I tried to switch the stream quality on YouTube to 720p or 1080p, it automatically went down to 360p again. Watching on a HD TV that wasn't too good of an experience.
That finish sure looks like it sucks to take. Poor Cody.
Del Rio vs. Big Show **1/2
As you pointed out in your live play by play, this wasn't their best match but it wasn't necessarily bad either. That bucket spot at the end has to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life. And I'm not even talking about Del Rio botching the kick - I just was greatly entertained by Big Show just standing there and completely ignoring the 240 pound man that just crashed on the mat a mere foot next to him. Great comedy, even if it was unintentional.
Cesaro vs. Miz **
Every time Miz throws a punch, I'm praying for Lesnar to throw chairs at him again. He looks like he's fighting of a swarm of mosquitos. Usual great work by Cesaro who I still believe is one of the best performers in WWE right now. And even though they let him do stuff, never really seen before, you just know he could do so much more if given the chance. That finish was beyond dumb, though. So dumb.
Elimination Chamber ***1/2
I don't know if it was just me but the crowd seemed really silent at the beginning of this match. Bryan and Jericho could do great things in a long match. I really dig Henry, he's just so great. I'm totally fine with Swagger winning. Not a huge fan of the new gimmick, I'd just prefer if he'd destroy people without saying too much, but I'll take it as long as he keeps winning.
The Shield vs. Cena, Ryback and Sheamus ****1/2
I'm still amazed they haven't fucked this up yet. Dean Ambrose is too good for me to put in words. Seth Rollins has really molded into a decent promo and is still an exceptional worker. The thing I'm surprised most about is that I really like Roman Reigns. In the beginning I feared that he's gonna take all the spotlight off of Ambrose, who in my mind should be the focus of the group. Reigns has a very, very special aura to himself and could really be something. I'm just so intrigued about all 3 of these guys' future and can't see what they'll do in the years ahead.
I really dig The Shield's matches, they really seem like real fights which is freaking awesome to watch. That spear spot through the barricade looks so amazing, I can't help myself but pop every time I see it. I'm not sure where The Shield goes from here or what they'll do at 'Mania but they sure are one of the few reasons I'll turn in tomorrow on RAW.
Ziggler vs. Kingston - **
I'm just so sick of Kofi Kingston. There are so many guys that can do the stuff he does so much better than him and I'm not sure why he's still got a job there. Same thing for R-Truth, by the way. Ziggler is still awesome, I know - shocker! They did the best they could and it was good for what it was. I'm not sure why but I'm a huge Big E mark. Have been ever since I first saw him on NXT a few months back. He's got something. He needs to get rid of the gear Pat Patterson made for him, though - he just looks so silly with it. I'm pretty sure they'll go with him and Henry somewhere down the line and I'm fine with that since it'll get him over as a babyface and an absolute beast. AJ's pretty as hell.
Kaitlyn vs. Tamina - DUD
Kaitlyn is pretty hot, that's about it.
The Rock vs. CM Punk ****
Now that Rock already has the belt, I'm fine with Punk losing here. Punk's gonna look good despite his opponent but Rock really put him ever here, taking the bumps off the shoulder blocks and so forth really made Punk look good. That damn table really won't cooperate with these two. Other than that, this was a really good match. Now let's see what happens on RAW tomorrow - will Punk go against Taker or will they do the 3-way? Either way, it'll be a positive, since I'd like to see both of these matches. We'll just have to wait and see and I actually kinda like not knowing everything that's going to happen beforehand.
All in all, this a very decent show with two great matches and a lackluster undercard, which didn't really hurt the overall show, though. Can't wait for WrestleMania - it's that that time of the year again when WWE is really fun and I'll enjoy the ride.