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February 5, 2010
– Adam Russell

Elimination Chamber

Just like how on Raw we moved on from the Royal Rumble to find the men who would challenge for the WWE championship at the
Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, so the theme of this Smackdown was finding the five men who would challenge The Undertaker for
his World Heavyweight Championship at the pay-per-view.

It all kicked off with Chris Jericho heading to the ring, complaining about being robbed in the rumble match by the returning Edge. He
said that he has been planning for the main event of Wrestlemania since last year’s event, but Edge came back and took it away from
him in 10 seconds. He then claimed that he is too good to have to qualify for the elimination chamber match, and demanded that Teddy
Long come out to rectify it. When Long didn’t appear, Jericho headed to the back to find him.

We followed Jericho as he barged into Long’s office, only to find Edge. Edge thanked Jericho for lighting a fire under him and motivating
him to return, and said that he created a monster. Jericho shot back they he can also slay the monster, and Edge will regret coming
back. Edge said Jericho will regret it, but tonight it about celebration, and he’s going to bring back The Cutting Edge, featuring the
Undertaker. Jericho said he’d be watching.

My hope is that we get an Edge/Jericho match at WrestleMania, which seems to be the obvious way to go. Edge winning the rumble
muddies the water a little, as now to get that match it seems that the championship would have to be put on Jericho. Interaction between
these two is usually very strong, and this was no exception.

--- Drew McIntyre Vs John Morrison Vs Kane

This was the first chamber qualifying match, and McIntyre’s Intercontinental championship was not on the line. We started in typical
fashion, with all three men throwing punches, before Kane went for a double chokeslam, but received a double DDT. Morrison then hit a
cross body block on McIntyre which sent them both over the top rope as we went to commercial at 1’02. We came back 3’45 in, with Drew
dominating Kane with punches. Kane fought back and hit a low dropkick, but Morrison broke the pinfall attempt. Drew hit a tilt-a-whirl
backbreaker on Morrison, and this time Kane broke the pin and gave Drew a big boot. He went up to the top rope, but Morrison gave him
an overhead kick. McIntyre clotheslined Morrison over the top rope, and then went for a superplex on Kane. Kane blocked and went for a
chokeslam, but Morrison intervened with a Flying Chuck, and then hit a leg lariat to Kane. He followed up with a ‘round-the-world DDT on
McIntyre, but Kane broke the count. He clotheslined McIntyre over the top rope, and side suplexed Morrison. He then hit a flying
clothesline, before McIntyre came back into the ring with his championship belt, hit Kane in the gut with it, and hit his double-underhook
DDT. Morrison broke the count with a running knee, and then hit Starship Pain on Kane for the win at 8’24.

This was a pretty typical triple threat match, meaning that it was mostly bad, with lots of spots with guys lying around on the outside for
long periods and then miraculously recovering in time to break pinfall attempts. Still, I think the right man won, as Morrison would be a
fresh face in the chamber match, and could certainly do some interesting things within that scenario.

--- R-Truth Vs Mike Knox

A fast start in this one, with Truth immediately going for the corner jazz, but being countered with a cross body block for a two count. Knox
hit a powerslam and kneedrop for another two, before Truth low-bridged him out of the ring, and then hit a somersault plancha. Back in
the ring, Truth connected with a missile dropkick, and then the lie detector for the quick win at 1’35. While I’m a much bigger fan of Knox
as a performer, Truth winning obviously makes the most sense and, as with Morrison, it will be nice to see a different face in the world
championship picture. Truth totally deserves it for how over he is. I just wish this match had gotten longer than a pretty insulting 95
seconds.

Next we were shown what happened after Raw went off the air last week. We left the show with Batista holding Bret Hart up while Vince
McMahon spat in his face. What happened next was John Cena coming out to help Bret to his feet, with Batista leaving ringside.
However, Batista went back to the ring, attacking Cena, throwing him shoulder-first into the ringpost, then sending him into the steel
steps and the announce table. He then hit him with the steps and, back in the ring, gave him a Batista Bomb onto them. This obviously
leads to Batista Vs Cena at WrestleMania, which has a certain ‘clash of the titans’ appeal to it. It remains to be seen if this feud continues
to be intertwined with the Vince/Bret situation, with another option being a tag match pitting Bret and Cena against Batista and Vince.

We cut to the Straigth-Edge Society, who were watching the video in the back. Punk was looking concerned, explaining that he would be
facing Batista in a chamber qualifying match. He asked how far Luke Gallows and Serena are willing to go to protect their saviour, and
Luke said he’d stick his head into a fire to protect him. Punk said that they might have to.

--- Batista Vs CM Punk

First, I have to say that having heel vs. heel matches really gives the feeling that this is a legitimate sporting event, which is something I
like. It’s unrealistic that heels would never wrestle other heels, although of course I understand the need to keep these matches to a
minimum. There proved to be a reason for this one, as when the bell rung Batista showed no intention of locking up with Punk, and
actually left the ring, getting himself counted out after 1’48. Punk, being the heel that he is, celebrated the victory wildly with his followers.
This was a great way to have Punk qualify for a big match, and obviously wouldn’t have worked as well if a babyface, say R-Truth, had
been the recipient. It also brings up the question of why Batista would walk out on the opportunity of a championship match, as that has
been his sole motivation since his heel turn.

In the back, Matt Hardy congratulated Maria on being on The Apprentice, and she wished him luck in his upcoming match. This was just
a plug for The Apprentice.

--- Matt Hardy Vs Chris Jericho

Jericho stalled at the beginning of the match, but couldn’t avoid a brace of clotheslines, and then a third, from the apron to the floor.
Jericho turned things around on the outside, knocking Matt into the steps, and then, back in the ring, busting him open with a clothesline.
After an enziguri kick, Matt managed to avoid a Jericho charge, sending the latter shoulder-first into the ringpost. Hardy followed up with a
neckbreaker, the clothesline/bulldog combination, and then an elbow off the second rope. Matt missed a charge in the corner, and
Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho, only to be countered into a small package for a two count. Matt looked to follow up with the Twist of
Fate, but Jericho blocked by holding onto the top rope, and then hit the Codebreaker for the win at 6’58. There wasn’t really much to this
match, and it was fairly obvious that Jericho would win, keeping alive the chance of him taking the belt off ‘Taker in the chamber, and
defending against Edge at ‘Mania.

New women’s champion, Mickie James, came out next and said that at the Royal Rumble she proved that being real is what being a true
champion is all about. Where I find this whole storyline with Michelle McCool and Mickie has fallen apart, aside from the fact much of it
was so poorly written, is that Mickie has never really made a definitive counterpoint to the bullying of McCool. She has never come out
and said ‘I’m not fat’; instead we get these vague references to being ‘real’. Beth Phoenix came out to interrupt, telling Mickie that while
she was celebrating her victory over two little girls, Phoenix was busy making history by competing against 29 grown men, a reference to
her entering the Royal Rumble match itself. She said that she was proud of Mickie for getting her moment, but that she would take the
championship whenever she wanted. They teased doing the match now, until Vickie Guerrero came out, said that she makes the
matches, and since they feel like competing, they can team up against Michelle and Layla. It seems weird having Vickie in such a
reduced role, unless it’s of her own choosing. You’d figure if they’re going to make use of her ‘talents’, they may as well go whole hog.
And no, that isn’t a play on words.

--- Mickie James and Beth Phoenix Vs Michelle McCool and Layla

Beth dominated Michelle for a few moments, splashing her in the corner and giving her some shoulderblocks, before McCool came back
with a dropkick to the leg and some legwork. Beth shrugged off the attack though, and powered McCool into her corner, tagging in Mickie.
As Mickie came in though, Beth levelled her with a big right hand, and then did the same to McCool before walking out on the match.
McCool tagged Layla, and James small packaged her for the win at 2’37. This obviously continues Beth’s transition into more of a
‘tweener.

Word Up was next, and was just an excuse to get Jerry Lawler some screen time in Memphis. The word was ‘king’.

--- Rey Mysterio Vs Dolph Ziggler

This final chamber qualifier started with Dolph in control, hitting a clothesline, before Rey sent him to the outside with a flying head
scissors, and then followed up with a rolling plancha. Back in the ring, Rey came off the top rope but was met by a dropkick to the ribs.
Mysterio hit a drop toe hold that had Dolph set up for the 619, but Ziggler ducked out as we went to break at 3’06. We came back at 6’20,
and Dolph was back in control, hitting a 2nd rope superplex on Rey. Rey drop toed Ziggler into the turnbuckle and then hit the
springboard senton as he made a comeback, before hitting a springboard into a wheelbarrow bulldog. He went for another springboard
move, but Dolph caught him with a powerslam for a two count, and then hit a backbreaker. He looked to follow up with a back suplex, but
Rey countered into a victory roll to get the win at 10’38. Afterwards, Rey delivered the 619 to Dolph. This was a decent match, again hurt
somewhat by the predictable outcome. Ziggler is treading water right now, and needs some new direction.

That leaves the Smackdown elimination chamber participants as The Undertaker (champion), John Morrison, Rey Mysterio, R-Truth,
Chris Jericho and CM Punk, which is a far more interesting line-up than for the Raw chamber match. Neither Morrison or Truth have
challenged for the world championship on pay-per-view before, and I can see both adding something positive to the match. Punk and
Jericho are both at the peak of their powers, and have their acts down pat, and Mysterio is always good value. I like the dynamic of having
the big man in there, defending his belt against five much smaller, faster (not to mention younger) men. It should lead to some
interesting interaction.

That all led to the final segment of the show, Edge’s Cutting Edge. Edge started by basically repeating his promo from Monday night,
saying the pain of being injured was worth it for this moment. He then showed a video of him spearing Sheamus on Raw, and talked up
that he could chose to face Sheamus, or the Undertaker, at WrestleMania. Chris Jericho then came out and said he deserved to win the
rumble, but Edge said he didn’t, because he threw him over the top rope. The Rated-R Superstar went on that it’s all Jericho’s own fault
that he isn’t where he wants to be, because he chose to make Edge’s injury a punch line. He said he’s going to make him chew on
those words, and that he is sick of his face. CM Punk came out next, and said Edge and Jericho are like two junkies arguing over the last
fix. He told them that he has had a bigger spotlight against the Undertaker than either of them, after making him tap out, and that he will
win the elimination chamber to become a 4-time champion. The lights went out, and ‘Taker appeared in the ring, with a brawl then
breaking out. Edge speared Jericho, and ‘Taker fought off Luke Gallows and chokeslammed Punk, and the show ended with Edge
signalling that he wanted ’Taker’s belt.

A pretty good segment, setting up all the intricacies of the main event scene, to end a pretty good Smackdown. We saw some good
action, with a couple of new faces elevated to world championship contender-level, and the progression of some big storylines. The road
to WrestleMania has made a promising start.

MVP of the night- Really hard to pick a stand-alone MVP tonight, with Jericho, Edge and Punk all doing strong stuff, but not really
distinguishing themselves. I suppose I’ll give it to Edge, after his long lay-off.

Line of the night- Punk’s junkie line to Edge and Jericho.