Thursday, 31 December 2015

DVD Review: WWE Elimination Chamber 2015

As we near the end of 2015 I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at a show that fell under the radar of those who don’t subscribe to the WWE Network, a show that was later released on DVD here in the UK. The show in question is Elimination Chamber.

The show began with the first ever tag team chamber match, with the Prime Time Players, Los Matadores, Tyson Kidd & Cesaro, the Ascension and the Lucha Dragons challenging all three members of the New Day for the Tag Team titles.

Yep, you read that correctly. Director of Operations Corporate Kane rewarded the New Day for their help with a previous matter by allowing all three of them to enter the match. El Torito was also allowed in the chamber, although he took up a viewing position on top of the Matadores’ pod. Natalya, meanwhile, had to watch from the outside, probably because she didn’t fancy climbing to the top of her man’s pod.

Now for a first time ever kind of match this was pretty good. All of the entrants had their moments, particularly the Ascension. Konnor and Viktor looked like the dominant force they should have been all along when they took out the Dragons and the Matadores before their elimination, while Cesaro and Kidd showed why they’re sadly missed as a unit with their actions before Cesaro was taken out by Titus O’Neil.

The award for the Joey Styles OMG moment goes to Kalisto, who spent more time climbing around the cage than he did in the ring. He eventually made it to the top so he could come down with a cross body on all of those below. Torito tried the same trick a few moments later, but this time around the Ascension boys caught him and used him as a missile against his buddies.

The last two teams were the New Day and the Prime Time Players, and if you think things would have slowed down by then then you would have been sadly mistaken. Despite being at a disadvantage O’Neil and his partner Darren Young really took it to the champions with some impressive moments of offence, but it wasn’t long before the champions’ strength in numbers counted against them when O’Neil had Xavier Woods in his arms. Biggie took him down with a chop block, Kofi Kingston followed up with his trouble in paradise kick, and all three of them pinned him to retain the title.

The title action continued with Paige and Naomi challenging Nikki Bella for the Divas title. Moving on.....

Then it was on to the non-title battle of the champions between NXT Champion Kevin Owens and United States Champion John Cena.

I’ve heard a great deal about this match over the past few months, and all of the things I’ve heard are true. This is a hell of a match, with the face of the company and the cocky upstart ticking all the right boxes.

This is one of those matches you really can’t speak too highly about. Those of us who have watched the former Mr. Steen in the likes of Ring of Honor know all about his prowess in the ring, and he was more than a match for his more illustrious opponent.

These two put on a match you just couldn’t take your eyes off, for fear of missing one of the countless twists and turns. The back and forth action was a joy to watch, especially towards the end, because no matter what they tried they just couldn’t put each other away.

This led perfectly to the big surprise moment. With everything else having failed Owens took Cena down with his new finisher of choice, the pop-up powerbomb. A three count later and the upset was complete, with Owens defeating the icon in his first match on the main stage.

The singles action continued with Bo Dallas and Neville.

I’m guessing from it’s position on the card that this was meant to be the filler material of the evening, especially when you consider the match it followed. There was absolutely no chance that these two could top what Cena and Owens did, and I’m glad that they didn’t even try.

The match itself was okay. Dallas did his usual annoying shtick, while Neville did his usual impressive high flying stuff. There was the slow period in the middle while Dallas grounded the man that gravity forgot until the Englishman came back and secured the win with the red arrow.

Then it was on to the second chamber match, with Mark Henry, Sheamus, R-Truth, Ryback, King Barrett and Dolph Ziggler fighting it out for the vacant Intercontinental title.

This one had a lot to live up to after the other action-packed chamber match. There was some great action here, but it didn’t quite live up to the standards set by it’s tag team counterpart.

Beginning with Barrett and Ziggler, there were some nice sequences throughout, and some rather novel moments, such as when Barrett inadvertently released Henry from his pod after ramming Ziggler into the glass, and Sheamus apparently getting stuck in his when it was his turn to enter the fray.

The one thing that seemed to be missing from this match was the out of the ring action. It wasn’t until it got down to the final two, Sheamus and Ryback, that the steel platform came into play, beginning when the Irishman took the big guy down with white noise on the unforgiving metal.

But despite his best efforts Sheamus couldn’t get the job done, and after Ryback came back and powerbombed Sheamus over the top rope and into the ring he took him down with the shellshock to win his first singles title, with former champion Daniel Bryan presenting the title he vacated to the new champion.

The main event saw Dean Ambrose challenging Seth Rollins for the WWE World title, with Corporate Kane, Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury joining Rollins at ringside, with the stipulation that if Roman Reigns came down to ringside Ambrose would get disqualified.

You know, I never tire of seeing these two in the ring against each other. This was the perfect main event for this show, the proverbial slobber knocker if you will, with two old rivals putting it all on the line in the quest for gold.

These two could probably wrestle each other with the lights off, such is their chemistry. The action was top notch throughout, and the occasional interference from the Rollins fan club at ringside only added to the drama.

That drama went up a level or three towards the end. With the lunatic fringe growing increasingly annoyed at the outside interference he launched himself off the top rope at them, taking them out of the equation. But when he went back into the ring Rollins pulled the referee in front of him as Ambrose came off the top rope.

So with the referee taking forty winks Ambrose put the champion away with his dirty deeds DDT. But with no official to make the count it looked like his best chance to win the title would go begging. That was until another referee raced down to the ring.

Then came the surprise. Normally in these circumstances there’s a kick out when a replacement official makes the count. Not this time though. The new guy made the three count as Ambrose made his cover, crowning a new champion.

Or so we thought. As Ambrose celebrated his win the two officials had a little chat before it was revealed that although Ambrose had won the match it was because the first official had disqualified Rollins for pulling him in the way, which meant that Rollins kept the title.

Ambrose was reluctant to give up the title thought, and it took the combined might of Rollins, Kane and the new stooges to take it from him. It was then that Roman Reigns appeared on the scene and cleaned house, giving Ambrose the chance to take the title belt before he headed to the hills with his best mate.

Bonus features come in the form of the kick-off show match between Zack Ryder and Stardust, and interview with new IC Champ Ryback, and a home video from Nikki Bella.

In conclusion – while it took me a few months to get around to seeing this show I’m glad I did. This was definitely an event worthy of a pay-per-view.

From top to bottom this show delivered. The open certainly gave us a unique chamber match experience, while the Owens/Cena and Rollins/Ambrose battles were both worth the price of admission alone.

Credit must also go to the good people at Fremantle Media here in the UK for releasing this show on DVD. I’m sure that there are quite a few people like me who prefer to watch television shows on their televisions instead of their computers or tablet devices, so releasing these WWE Network exclusives is more than welcome.

As for my much sought after match of the night no-prize this time around it goes to the highly impressive Kevin Owens and his upset win over John Cena. Although six months later it hardly seems like an upset now.

So with all of that being said there’s just one more thing left to do, and that’s to give this DVD the big thumbs up.

With thanks to Fetch Publicity and Fremantle Media for supplying a copy of this release. WWE Elimination Chamber 2015 can be purchased online at www.wwedvd.co.uk