Thomas & Mack Center – Las Vegas, NV
MATCH #1: ECW Championship Match – Chavo Guerrero vs. CM Punk
Chavo has been the champion since 1.22.08, and this is his first defense. The video package makes this look like a lot more interesting feud than it actually was. Chavo gets in Punk’s face and eats a big boot for his trouble. Punk hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and gets a one count. Chavo recovers in the corner and dumps Punk to the floor. Chavo awkwardly brings Punk back into the ring and hits a few strikes for a one count. Punk fights back with some kicks but Chavo cuts him off and gets another one count. Chavo hits a Saito suplex and then uses a body scissors. Punk decides not to use his hands to punch Chavo in the face or something else that could easily get him out of this not-so-tricky hold. He decides to power out and maneuvers Chavo to a slingshot into the buckle. Punk hits a back body drop and goes for a running kick in the corner but Chavo gets a boot up. Chavo runs right into a snap powerslam for two. Punk looks to be trying the Go to Sleep but Chavo reverses to a rana and hits a nice tornado DDT for a near fall. Chavo charges and Punk stops him and hits a step-up enziguiri for two. Punk uses two of the Three Amigos (and has trouble doing so) and the crowd boos so he just knees Chavo in the face. Punk tries the GTS again and Chavo blocks it and lands on the ring apron. Punk kicks him down and Chavo is down on the floor. He brings Chavo back in the ring for a near fall. They fight up on the ropes and Punk knocks Chavo down. Punk tries an ugly looking rana and Chavo blocks it and hits the Frog Splash and that’s it at 7:06. Why would anyone care about the ECW Title if this is all they give us? The match was fine for a TV match, but that’s about it.
MATCH #2: Smackdown/ECW Elimination Chamber – Winner Gets a World Heavyweight Championship Match at WrestleMania – Batista vs. Great Khali vs. Big Daddy V vs. MVP vs. Finlay vs. Undertaker
The video package for this match is more about the structure, rather than the participants. I love how over Finlay is as a babyface. Batista taunts the other four superstars who are already locked up in pods, while waiting for the Undertaker. Those two will start the match and I must admit I dig that.
Batista and Undertaker slug it out to start and Undertaker takes the first advantage and dumps Batista onto the steel floor surrounding the ring. He pushes Batista’s face into the chain link fence, and Batista fights back with a right hand and kicks Undertaker back into the ring. Undertaker regains control and holds Batista down with his boot. Big Daddy V is the next man out of the pod and he goes to work on the weakened Undertaker and Batista. V headbutts Undertaker and he falls through the door and to the floor. Perhaps they should have closed the door properly. V continues to control both opponents. Batista finally fights back and hits a huge spinebuster. He clotheslines V over the top rope onto the steel. Undertaker then hits a DDT on V and Batista scores the pin at 9:07 to eliminate Big Daddy V. Batista tries to pin Undertaker as well but he kicks out. Khali is the next man out of the pod. Khali takes much the same path as V, dominating both Undertaker and Batista with his power. That doesn’t last too long though, as Undertaker locks on that triangle choke thing and Khali taps out at 12:38. Well at least they got all the dead weight out of there. Finlay is next out, and Undertaker doesn’t even let him get started. Finlay avoids a charge though and now takes control. He goes after Batista and ends up taking a slingshot into the chain walls.
MVP is the last man in and he doesn’t want to come out and face the angry Undertaker. He finally does get involved and uses dirty tactics on everyone. Undertaker soon recovers and trees MVP on top of one of the pods. He grabs him and tosses him by the throat down to the ring. That was pretty dangerous looking. Finlay takes advantage and pins MVP at 22:31, which is a really smart move on his part. Hornswoggle comes up from under the ring and gives Finlay his shillelagh. Batista gets pissed and tries the Batista Bomb but Finlay hits him with it for a near fall. He gets up and Undertaker chokeslams him onto the steel and Finlay is eliminated at 24:11. Now we’re down to two. Batista hits a Batista Bomb pretty quickly but it only gets two. He stupidly tries the mounted punches in the corner but of course Undertaker hits the Last Ride but can’t cover right away, and it only gets two. They go back and forth for another minute or two, and Undertaker finally hits the Tombstone Piledriver to get the pin at 29:28. There was some good booking in there and the right guy went over, but everyone knew it would be Batista or Undertaker anyway, so everything leading up to just them being left felt unnecessary.
MATCH #3: Career Threatening Match – Ric Flair vs. Mr. Kennedy
Kennedy knocks Flair down early and mocks the strut. Flair responds with a big chop and shows Kennedy how it’s done. He continues to come after Kennedy with chops, but Kennedy goes low and dropkicks the knee. Kennedy abuses the knee, and even uses the old Bret Hart ring post figure-four. Back in the ring Kennedy puts the figure-four Leglock on. Flair won’t give up, so Kennedy hits a Finlay roll for two. Flair tries to put on his own figure-four but Kennedy avoids it. He then gets a rollup and pulls Flair’s tights and puts his feet on the ropes at the same time but the referee catches him in the act. Once again Flair tries the figure-four but Kennedy gets an inside cradle for two. Flair hits a back heel trip and then finally does lock on the figure-four. Kennedy taps out to a big pop at 7:13. This is another TV match that we had to pay for. It was fine for seven minutes, but no one thought this would be Flair’s last match and he didn’t work on Kennedy’s leg at all prior to the figure-four. Flair celebrates on the mic after the match and says he’s never going to retire.
MATCH #4: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Edge vs. Rey Mysterio
Edge has been champion since 12.16.07 and this is his third defense. Rey is basically a one-armed man from the get go here. He hits a few quick moves but Edge soon takes the advantage and Rey powders. While he’s lollygagging Edge hits a baseball slide to Rey’s back and then throws him arm-first into the steel steps. Rey uses agility to make the comeback inside the ring, hitting a Moonsault off the top for two. A swinging DDT gets two when Edge gets his foot on the ropes. Rey hits the 619. He tries a springboard something but Edge catches him with a spear and pins him in a brisk 5:27. Too bad Rey got hurt and I feel bad and all, but that match blew.
Some familiar music hits, and the BIG SHOW has made a surprise return to WWE. He is happy to be back and he promises that he will be a champion once again, no matter which brand he’s on. He says he’s lost 108 pounds and he’s faster, meaner, and ready to be back. Medical personnel are tending to Mysterio, which Show doesn’t take too kindly to, so he goes outside the ring and grabs Mysterio by the throat. He walks him over to Floyd Mayweather and taunts him. He throws Rey into the ring and motions for the chokeslam, and Mayweather is out of his seat, with his entourage holding him back. Show lifts Rey up and now Mayweather is in the ring and the crowd pops for that, and everyone is trying to hold Mayweather back. Show is ready for a fight. He shoves Mayweather back and doesn’t appear to be sweating him. He gets down on his knees and Mayweather unloads a couple of punches, breaking Show’s nose in the process. Everybody runs and Show goes after them, with Shane McMahon coming out to convince him not to kill someone. That was a good segment and the commentators not talking over it helped a ton.
MATCH #5: WWE Championship Mach – John Cena vs. Randy Orton
Orton has been the champion since 10.7.07, and this is his fifth defense. Ross and Lawler throw it over to Mike Adamle, who introduces the video package for this match. Cena gets an inside cradle right off the bat for a near fall. He makes another quick cover for two. That’s good strategy. Orton doesn’t like it though, so he goes to work, slugging away. Cena comes back with a Jericho bulldog and gets two. A slam and an elbow drop get another near fall for Cena. He goes for a back body drop and Orton kicks him right in the injured arm. What a jerk. Orton poses and Cena rolls him up for two. The champ comes back with a clothesline for another two-count. Cena comes back by dropping Orton’s neck on the ropes and hits the legdrop to the back of the neck from the top rope for two. He charges in the corner and Orton hits an elbow and goes back to work. Cena goes for the FU out of nowhere but Orton blocks it. Now Orton really goes to work on Cena’s shoulder. Cena makes a brief comeback but Orton cuts him off and puts on a headlock. Finally Cena makes the comeback and some of the crowd cheers and some boo. He hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle and goes for the FU. Orton escapes and goes to the floor. Cena follows and they slug it out on the floor. Both slide back into the ring at the count of nine. They start throwing bombs at each other and Orton hits his back cracker. Moments later they fight up top and Cena knocks Orton down and tries that legdrop again but this time Orton moves. Orton tries the RKO but Cena counters with a suplex and puts on the STFU. He reaches the ropes and rolls to the floor, saying his knee is injured and he tells the referee to count him out. Cena comes out and Orton nails the RKO on the floor. Against all odds Cena actually makes it back into the ring and Orton slaps the referee in the face out of frustration and gets himself disqualified at 15:51. The looks on both Orton and Cena’s faces are priceless. Cena tries to protest but the referee won’t have it, so he hits Orton with the FU and puts on the STFU but the match is obviously over. The match was a lot of fun and would have been rated higher with a real finish, but since it wasn’t actually the main event I’m not offended by the DQ.
MATCH #6: Raw Elimination Chamber – Winner Gets a WWE Championship Match at WrestleMania – Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho vs. JBL vs. Umaga
Michaels and Jericho lost the coin toss so they will start the match. They start throwing chops right away. They trade pinning combinations for a series of near falls and Jericho hits a Northern Lights suplex for two and then Michaels bridges up and turns it into a backslide for two. Jericho comes out of it with a clothesline. Michaels makes a comeback with some basic moves and heads up top for the elbow but Jericho gets his knees up. He follows with the Jericho bulldog and goes for the Lionsault. Michaels gets his knees up but Jericho catches them and goes for the Walls of Jericho. Michaels counters and tries the sharpshooter but Jericho rolls him up for two. They knock each other down and the next man is ready to come out of a pod and it’s Umaga. He goes after both, knocking each of them down and throwing Jericho through the ropes. Jericho gets back in but Umaga hits a Samoan Drop on both of them at the same time. Umaga continues to dominate, and I marvel at how he’s made this gimmick work for as long as he has. Jericho makes the comeback and locks the Walls of Jericho on the large Samoan, while Michaels comes in and puts on the Crippler Crossface at the same time. Umaga won’t tap out, and JBL makes his way into the ring. He starts throwing big boots and goes right after Jericho. Michaels got busted open somehow, I must have missed that. As if reading my mind, they show a replay of what might have busted Shawn open – it was a forearm from Jericho. Umaga slams Michaels on the steel, and Jericho hits a swinging DDT on JBL for a near fall. The duos trade locations but it’s not long before Umaga sends Michaels right back out to the steel. Triple H is next in, and he goes after Umaga then JBL. Jericho runs into a spinebuster as does Umaga. JBL gets a DDT. Jericho hits the bulldog on HHH but misses the Lionsault and HHH goes for the Pedigree but JBL breaks it up. That gives Jericho the opportunity to hit JBL with the Codebreaker to eliminate him at 13:44. JBL brings two chairs into the ring and clobbers Jericho and Michaels, and hesitates before drilling Umaga as well.
All four men are down and it’s time for Hardy to enter the match. He hits some big moves on everyone, and the crowd loves it. Umaga nails a spinning uranage on Jericho and puts HHH into the Tree of Woe. He whips Michaels into HHH. He then hits the running butt splash on Jericho against the pod and it breaks. The crowd liked that. Umaga then takes a Superkick, the Codebreaker, the Pedigree, and then a Swanton Bomb from on top of a pod and Jericho pins him at 19:45. That was cool. Michaels then nails Jericho with a Superkick to eliminate him at 19:57. Hardy hits a Twist of Fate on Michaels and HHH throws him to the steel. HHH then nails Shawn with the Pedigree to eliminate him at 20:25. Hardy and HHH fight out on the steel and Hardy delivers a DDT. Hardy actually dominates here, whipping HHH repeatedly into the steel. HHH goes for the Pedigree on the steel but Hardy backdrops him into the ring and goes up for the Swanton. He misses, and HHH is bloody now too. I must have missed that as well. HHH hits the Pedigree and Hardy actually kicks out! HHH brings a chair into the ring and tries to Pedigree him on that. Hardy hits a low blow and tries the Twist of Fate, but HHH throws him onto the chair and tries the Pedigree again, and this time he hits it and that’ll do at 23:54. That was much better than the ECW/Smackdown counterpart, because there actually was some mystery about who would win, plus the whole things was much more exciting. Hardy looks amazing in kicking out of the Pedigree and it’s really too bad what happened a few weeks after this.