Powell's WWE Elimination Chamber Hit List: An in-person perspective on The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield, Randy Orton retaining in the Elimination Chamber match, Big E vs. Jack Swagger for the Intercontinental Title
By Jason Powell
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WWE Elimination Chamber Hits
The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield: An early Match of the Year candidate. I was blown away by the split crowd reaction. I expected the majority of the fans to side with The Shield, but the roughly split reaction provided a fun atmosphere for an incredible match. Everyone in this match shined and they had the crowd from the moment the entrances began and held them until the finish. Bray Wyatt is quickly proving to be more than just a good talker. He had the best match at the Royal Rumble and was involved in the best match at Elimination Chamber. Roman Reigns seems to handle everything WWE throws at him, including his rapidly increasing in-ring role. Luke Harper is already one of WWE's better brawlers, and I'm impressed by the progress that Erick Rowan has shown since the act debuted on WWE television. Seth Rollins really shined in the match and is one of the company's strongest in-ring performers. I'm not even sure where Dean Ambrose went, but I suspect that will be a big part of the story tonight.
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena vs. Christian vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus in an Elimination Chamber match: A good Chamber match without any dull moments. Most of the wrestlers had a chance to shine and I like the idea of having all six men enter the match at once rather than eliminate some of the wrestlers before everyone enters. The big negative was all the outside interference. When I see a cage or a Hell in a Cell or an Elimination Chamber structure, I want to feel like I don't have to worry about outside interference. The bulk of the fans didn't seem to mind when The Wyatt Family took out John Cena, but it became a bit much when Kane also ended up inside the structure. The fans definitely bought into the possibility of Bryan winning. I didn't sense fan outrage over Bryan losing like there was in Pittsburgh when he didn't get a spot in the Royal Rumble match. Rather, it felt like a sad acceptance, as I get the feeling most fans were excited to see and support Bryan, yet they also knew deep down that this wasn't going to be his night.
Big E vs. Jack Swagger: A match that exceeded my expectations. A good, physical pay-per-view opener that the fans were clearly excited by. The buildup for the match left a lot to be desired, but the work was strong enough that they won the fans over to the point that I would like to see more from them.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel: It was a nice surprise to see Larry Hennig appear in his grandson's corner. I'm not sure how much it meant to the average fan watching the pay-per-view, but the Minnesota fans were very receptive to that move. The match was the entertaining show opener that I expected considering The Brotherhood was involved. It's just as shame they're not delivering their strong performances in meaningful matches. Why did WWE take the tag titles away from them?
Overall show: I expected a two match card and both of those matches, particularly the six-man, exceeded my expectations. I never got my hopes up for the undercard or any major surprises. The Misses listed below were all expected and thus I didn't come away feeling let down by anything.
WWE Elimination Chamber Misses
Batista vs. Alberto Del Rio: The match quality was better than expected and the crowd reaction made things very interesting, but it's hard to give a Hit to a match that the fans reject so passionately. I also question the decision to keep these two out there as long as they did. I have stated repeatedly in audio that I felt the match needed to be quick so that Batista wasn't exposed to another toxic fan environment. WWE just can't go through with Orton vs. Batista at WrestleMania 30. Granted, it would be fascinating to listen to the fans highjack the match, but I actually feel bad for Batista, who is just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think fans would be happy to see him if he wasn't thrust into a spot that they feel belongs to someone else.
The New Age Outlaws vs. The Uso Brothers: The same old story with the Outlaws. The effort is there from Road Dogg and Billy Gunn, but they just aren't measuring up to the great tag matches we saw when Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns or The Brotherhood were tag champions. The Outlaws should have been babyface undercard nostalgia, not tweener tag champions.
Titus O'Neil vs. Darren Young: The visual of the fans racing for the concourse when Young's music hit was comical. WWE did very little to set up this match on Raw. Most of the build played out on Smackdown, and it's failed to generate much interest.
A.J. Lee vs. Cameron: I suppose it served a purpose as a buffer match between the Chamber and the Batista match, but I'm not sure how effective it really was since it only went four minutes. The live crowd didn't seem to care about this one, though some fans were excited for the unadvertised Lee appearance. The thrill of the Funkadcatyls theme is over based on yet another crowd's non-reaction. I'm not sure why WWE didn't advertise this match considering they had it listed on some merchandise.
Prowrestling.net Live airs Monday nights at 10:30 p.m. CT (11:30 p.m. ET) and your phone calls are welcome for the free weekly audio show. Join hosts Jason Powell and Chris Shore tonight after Raw at Blogtalkradio.com/prowrestlingdotnet.
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