In Judge Paul Pritchard's day, having a five-knuckle shuffle was nothing to boast about.
Our reviews of WWE: Elimination Chamber 2010 (published April 15th, 2010), WWE: Elimination Chamber 2011 (published April 9th, 2011), and WWE: Satan's Prison (published September 10th, 2010) are also available.
"The road to Wrestlemania goes through one callous coliseum…the Elimination Chamber."
The road to Wrestlemania 28 reaches its final stop before the WWE's flagship PPV. With three titles on the line, and places in the main event at Wrestlemania up for grabs, Elimination Chamber 2012 sees the superstars of the WWE put it all on the line.
• CM Punk vs. R-Truth vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Chris Jericho vs. The Miz in a match for the WWE Championship
This opening bout very much sets the standard for the rest of the card, as it delivers solid, but far from spectacular entertainment. Too much time is spent with three or more participants lying prostrate, while two of the combatants go at it in the ring. Another problem with these matches is that, inevitably, someone always gets shortchanged. In the case of this match, it's R-Truth who gets nothing to do.
The match picks up steam when Jericho enters the fray, and employs some underhand tactics to gain the advantage, but by then the match has already started to drag. As with so much of this Elimination Chamber PPV, this match is simply a case of solidifying each players position before Wrestlemania.
• Beth Phoenix vs. Tamina Snuka in a match for the Divas Championship
A rarity for the WWE these days, this match for the WWE Divas Championship is actually pretty decent, and features two women who can wrestle. Tamina, for those who are unaware, is the daughter of the legendary Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, and incorporates a number of her father's signature moves into her repertoire. The match moves at a quick pace, and following the lengthy opening bout, proves surprisingly entertaining.
• Daniel Bryan vs. The Great Khali vs. Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Wade Barrett vs. Santino Marella in a match for the WWE Heavyweight Championship
As with the opening Elimination Chamber match, too much time is spent with wrestlers writhing around on the floor, rather than kicking ass. Still, Big Show puts in one of his better performances for some time, while Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, and Santino ensure this match stands as the highlight of this PPV. Big Show's desire to destroy Bryan is such that he cannot wait for his chamber to open, and so breaks into it—beating Bryan mercilessly in the process. The final 10 minutes of this match see the participants take some big bumps, with Santino's popularity soaring as he unleashes the viper.
• Jack Swagger vs. Justin Gabriel
An unlikely (and undeserving) PPV match, added to the card mid-show, see Justin Gabriel take on Jack Swagger to defend Hornswoggle's honor following a misunderstanding involving cheese and Natalya's ongoing problems with flatulence. This match is all filler, no killer, and really only serves to give the audience time to visit the toilet before the main event.
• John Cena vs. Kane in an Ambulance Match.
The most pointless feud in recent history (either turn Cena heel or don't, stop teasing) comes to a suitably dull conclusion. The match features little in the way of actually wrestling ability, and instead becomes a brawl. Bearing in mind Cena's (at the time) upcoming match against The Rock at Wrestlemania, the outcome of this bout was obvious from the moment it was booked. The Milwaukee fans don't care for it, and make their opinion heard through their constant booing of Cena. That said: Cena does win over some of the crowd when he goes a little hardcore, and when he briefly joins in with the commentary (ala The Rock, back in the day) he earns a chuckle. The match plays out in predictable style, with the WWE clearly taking measures to ensure Cena doesn't risk injury with his main event at Wrestlemania just six weeks away.
Like its recent forebears, Elimination Chamber 2012 looks and sounds excellent on DVD, and is taken from the WWE's HD broadcast. The only special feature is an interview with the winner of the Heavyweight Championship match.
Thanks to some uninspired booking, and a complete refusal to shake things up so close to Wrestlemania, Elimination Chamber 2012 is a disappointing PPVthat just about wins due to a handful of WWE superstars (I'm looking at you, Santino) upping their game.
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