Monday, June 1, 2015

WWE Elimination Chamber 2015

Payback 2015 was a pretty good PPV. Elimination Chamber 2015 is the WWE Network-exclusive event that was added at the last minute when WWE officials discovered an arena that could support the chamber. Well, if you were expecting a quality showing the likes of the quarterly NXT specials or even by the quality standards of Payback, prepare to be morbidly disappointed.

The New Day defeat the Prime Time Players, the Lucha Dragons, Tyson/Cesaro, Ascension, and Los Matadors to retain the Tag-Team championship in the first of two Elimination Chamber matches. A pretty decent opener that had a few slow spots at times, but there were some nice bits, such as the drop of the ceiling or New Day piling up on Titus O'Neil to get the win. All in all, a pretty solid outing.

Next up was the Divas title match. I didn't care... I'll reserve my caring for the NXT ladies who put on great matches and are vaguely interesting characters, which is why I always ask if it's wrong for me to hope those women NEVER be brought up to the main roster and turned into homogenized, shallow Divas that they can tout on their utterly worthless reality show.

NXT Champion Kevin Owens beat US Champion John Cena in perhaps the night's best match. For all intents and purposes, I figured that this would've been the best match on the card and both guys busted their ass to deliver the goods. And seeing KO get the win (and a clean win on top of that) was a pleasant (and welcome) surprise, considering all I'd expected was a good match with Cena making KO look good before eventually overcoming the odds. That didn't happen - I'd expect that to happen at MiTB when they have their rematch because, you know, Cena has to get his win back... but if Cena Vs. Owens II ends up being as good (if not better than) what was on display here, then I'd have no issue with that.

It boils down to this point; despite what Vinny Ru will tell you and despite what he has said before... I saw a guy born in Saint Jean sur Richelieu, billed from Marieville, Quebec who made a name for himself in the independents and ran roughshod in the NXT beat the WWE's franchise player and I believed it. Kevin Steen might not have the look and physique (or the juice) of the model WWE Superstar, but he looked like a guy who belonged on that WWE platform. He went toe to toe with John Cena, brought his A-Game, forced Cena to bring his A-Game, and when all was said and done, he BEAT John Cena... and it was believable. And it made Kevin Owens look like a credible superstar that belonged on that stage and deserved to be performing at that level because it was presented in a way that was believable and felt organic. And because of that, I was able to care about this match, this character, this rivalry, this story.

And THAT's the key thing that was lacking when they tried shoving Roman Reigns down our throats earlier this year, in that they were trying to present him as the next big superstar, but nothing he did or accomplished along the way was believable. It felt forced, it felt artificial, it felt manufactured. And because it felt those things, I showed about as much interest in Roman Reigns' rise to the top of mountain as I usually would the Divas division. I simply didn't care about what Roman was offering because none of it was interesting. None of it felt organic or natural. It was just this thing that was going to happen whether you liked it or not. And if that's your only reaction to something, well... but I digress.

So, to sum up, Owens vs Cena was a great match. Looking forward to the rematch. And I hope Kevin Owens gets a good, solid run after this because that's a character.

Neville beat Bo Dallas in a rather throwaway match. Didn't do much for me and after the last match, it was underwhelming. I'd have to see if I could check out the match these guys had at NXT, maybe it's better there, I don't know.

In the second Elimination Chamber match of the night, Ryback defeated Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Mark Henry, King Barrett, and R-Truth to win the vacant Intercontinental championship. Um, yeah, I didn't care for this match, which was surprising because I'd assume Elimination Chamber matches would be somewhat interesting in how they use the structure and what do we get? We get Bad News Barrett breaking Mark Henry's pod and Mark Henry is suddenly allowed to enter the match despite it not being his turn. We get Sheamus stuck in his pod for a fortnight before, I guess he uses his cross to free himself or something. And most of all, we get Ryback winning the title and getting a somewhat anemic response from the audience despite the efforts of former champ Daniel Bryan Danielson to give this guy a needed boost. Yeah... I got nothing.

And then we get to the main event with WWE Champion Seth Rollins defending against Dean Ambrose and the match itself was alright. It wasn't a great match or a bad match; it was merely alright, with probably one or two noteworthy moments. So at some point, Rollins grabs the ref and uses him as a human shield against Ambrose. Long story short, after one Dirty deeds, Ambrose pins Rollins, another ref counts the three, Dean Ambrose is your new WWE World Hea--, oh what's that? The original ref reversed the decision and gave Ambrose the DQ victory, which allows the title to remain on Seth Rollins... yeah, a Dusty Finish.

There used to be a time when such a finish was acceptable and if done well, it could be a good thing. But the thing is we've seen so many Dusty Finishes in some form or another that it's practically impossible to not see one coming a nautical mile away. Like I said, the stuff until that finish, the match was alright, but once you toss that finish in there, it's like... that sucked.

So all in all, not that great a show. Only one great show, another decent one... the rest was forgettable... not exactly an idea way of showing contempt for your would-be costumers.

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