In Defense of…
By JP Prag
THE ELIMINATION CHAMBER (Part 3 of 3)
Hello children of the corn, and welcome back to the sixth issue of In Defense Of…! It’s time to wrap up the case of the missing ten ton monster. If you don’t know the answer, flip to the back of the book to find out! Did anyone else read Encyclopedia Brown Bakes a Cake? No, I suppose you’ve only read quality pieces of literature like In Defense of the Elimination Chamber (Part 1 of 3) and (Part 2 of 3).
For those new to the concept, this article has a pretty simple premise: Certain people, events, organizations, and storylines in wrestling history have gotten a bum wrap. Some negative writers have presented overtly critical comments and outright lies as fact, and others have followed suit. Well no more! “In Defense of…” has one reason: to bring the truth to the wrestling fan!
Me? I’m the one and only JP, and I’m going to take a side bar right now.
Normally I wouldn’t use this column to comment on a news story, but I’m going to anyway. It’s the fact that MTV will not play John Cena’s video. Everyone I have read has missed the point. Is John Cena an unknown in the music industry? Sure. Does MTV rarely play videos anyway? Of course. But why would they go out of their way to issue a statement and give a reason for not playing the video?
Because the reason is bull.
Who owns MTV? That’s right, it’s Viacom. Who else does Viacom own? That’s right Spike TV (who the WWE unceremoniously dumped behind their backs, and when Spike found out they unceremoniously dumped the WWE in a press release) and UPN (who are at their wits end with the WWE and are moving SmackDown! to the Friday night death spot). So what do you think is really happening? It’s just Viacom’s children protecting each other. The “controversial nature” is just a lame excuse so they don’t have to say, “We’re POed that you aren’t hanging out with us anymore.” And the WWE will tell this to their constituents because they can’t explain, “Well, there were all these backroom corporate dealings and one thing led to another…” The basic point is, this is just about reverse synergy, using your companies together to bury another. Nothing more.
Now, back to the case at hand.
Let’s find out what you already know.
Will the stenographer please read a synopsis of our last two sessions?
Yes, you see, in Part 2 we said this about Part 1…
Well, first we messed up a major point in the article because the image we were pointing to that showed a picture of the Elimination Chamber toy disappeared from when I wrote the article to when I sent it in. But that brought us to the early paragraphs, where we said we were defending the Elimination Chamber because too many in the IWC crap on a gimmick before it is ever seen, and then continue to live and spread their hatred without ever seeing that gimmick in action. We took a trip down memory lane to show the unfair treatment the ten tons of steel got right here on the 411 message boards, before anyone had even seen it, including the wrestlers! But the wrestlers involved proved they were true artists, making a brand new match on the fly without ever getting to spend a moment even looking at the chamber.
Still, that hunk of steal costs a good $500,000 to construct, but the buyrates proved it was worth it, even at the lowly New Year’s Revolution. CEO Linda McMahon made sure the stock holders were happy with the purchase, and it gave us something to do while the brand extension (I’m thinking issues 18-20) was still in its own infancy. Besides, as the picture that you didn’t see noted, there was plenty of other money to make from the licensing!
Stenographer!!!! You are so lazy!!! What about Part 2?
Ok, ok… You do know you messed up the link to Part 1 in Part 2, right?
HUSH OR I’ll OUTSOURCE YOU!
Ummmm… So in Part 2, we concentrated on what led up to the Elimination Chamber. And instead of finding some last minute, thrown together match created solely to pop ratings, we found out that there was a solid three months of planned booking that brought the Elimination Chamber about. To qualm any other fears, we took note that the chamber took over six weeks just to build, not to mention the time to conceptualize, bid out, and transport, showing their was some considerable thought that went into this. And speaking of thought, this one thought was so huge that it took up six pages in Word! There wasn’t even room to discuss the same situations leading up to Elimination Chamber II and III, but they were there.
But now we can discuss what came afterwards…
Another heading about planning? Aiya!
There is something important that happened with the RAW main event scene after the first Elimination Chamber:
There was one.
You have to remember, before Eric Bischoff became GM of RAW, SmackDown! was the show with the main eventers and heavily controlled the Undisputed Championship. After shaking up the rosters with the new GMs and splitting the championship, RAW had a lot to prove. Who was in the main event? What were the programs between these people? Could they draw?
The Elimination Chamber did a pretty concise job of answering these questions. We quickly saw that the top of RAW’s card had Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Kane, RVD, and Booker T. And directly with and after this we set up feuds and storylines that led to Jericho-Michaels, Vitamin C-BookDust, RVD/Kane tag team (and eventual fallout), and the Triple H-Booker T Wrestlemania program. Also, new (old?) blood was injected with Scott Steiner (no pun intended) and Kevin Nash, so at the end of the day, RAW became a credible place to dwell. And as we saw with the buyrates in Part 1, RAW also made money.
By the time the second and third Elimination Chambers rolled around, there were so many main eventers that you could not fit them all in the Chamber. While the second Elimination Chamber match was going on, Kane and RVD were fighting each other and by the third Elimination Chamber RVD and Booker T were over on SmackDown! and Kane was fighting Snitsky. Despite the fact that Nash, Goldberg, and Steiner were all gone, and HBK was a ref, there were still six people in the chamber to remind us just how good the RAW main event scene was, and to set up the angles for the coming months.
And that is something the Elimination Chamber has always excelled at. The second chamber led right into Triple H vs. Goldberg and Goldberg’s title reign which led to Goldberg vs. Brock Lesner at Wrestlemania. Edge’s getting screwed by HBK in the third chamber led to continuing that feud and Edge’s heel turn and decent into insanity. The Elimination Chamber set the pace for months before with the storylines leading to it, and months after with its repercussions.
Still, there was always a little something going on in the middle.
In each Elimination Chamber match, there have been a number of consistent stories. Now, I can’t say if that is because of creative writing, a person on the booking committee that has a good sense of continuity and sense of humor, or if it is all just happenstance. Either way, though, there are some running stories you can find across the Elimination Chamber:
The Evolution of Evolution
Every Elimination Chamber has been a major point in the development of Evolution. In the first Elimination Chamber, Ric Flair had just recently given his allegiance to Triple H, and Randy Orton had just re-debuted on RAW. Meanwhile, Ric Flair was touting that he had acquired a huge former SmackDown! wrestler, who we later would learn was Batista. The Elimination Chamber had all the blocks of Evolution forming, and also gave the major impetus when Triple H lost. Triple H saw that he needed a full group for backup because of all the challengers and dangers for him on RAW, and his loss in the chamber solidified that need. The Elimination Chamber really signaled the beginning of Evolution.
The second Elimination Chamber had the growth of Evolution. Randy Orton began his climb to the main event by being in the chamber and set up his long-term feud with Shawn Michaels. Also, the events of the chamber led to the Triple H-Goldberg match at Judgment Day (which Goldberg won), which led directly to the return of Batista to RAW and Evolution to try to take Goldberg out. The Elimination Chamber really signaled the beginning of the height of Evolution and the rise of Randy Orton.
When the third Elimination Chamber came around, Randy Orton had long since been gone from Evolution, but was still in the match looking for his title and revenge on Triple H. The match actually ended with Triple H, Orton, and Batista. Batista basically eliminated everyone else, until Orton RKOed him while Triple H watched on in the corner. And then Triple H went on to pin Randy Orton, and these events all led to the Royal Rumble a few weeks later that Batista won, and then finally Batista’s win at Wrestlemania. The Elimination Chamber really signaled the beginning of the end of Evolution, and the final steps to the rise of Batista.
Besides just Evolution, three men have been inside every single Elimination Chamber: Triple H, Chris Jericho, and Shawn Michaels. Yes, Shawn Michaels was just a ref in the third chamber, but he was still inside. Triple H was always in there solely for defending/regaining the title; Shawn Michaels was always in there for a little revenge and super kicked someone that led directly to Chris Jericho pinning that person (One: Kane pinned by Jericho, Two: Nash pinned by Jericho, Three: Edge pinned by Jericho); and Jericho was always in there because he’s Chris Jericho.
Where’s my championship?
Aside from the regular cast, two people in the chamber always had never been a world champion in the WWE. In the first Elimination Chamber it was Booker T and Rob Van Dam. In Elimination Chamber II, those roles were played by Goldberg and Randy Orton. And finally, in Elimination Chamber III, Batista and Edge were the men. This always added a “darkhorse” level on intrigue to the chamber, as people would wonder if it was time for these guys to step up to the top of the ladder. And three out of six of those men have gone on to win a world championship in the WWE, and a forth should be happening sometime this year.
Christian can’t get inside
Finally, there is always a story about Christian trying to get into the Elimination Chamber and just can’t seem to get in.
In the first Elimination Chamber, Christian first challenged RVD for his spot in the chamber, but just could not pull off the victory. The next week, Christian’s tag team partner (and co-champion) Chris Jericho started taking everyone out, and Christian told him that Bischoff said he can take anyone’s place who doesn’t want to be in the chamber. Fearing for his spot, Y2J hit Christian in the back of the head with a steal chair.
For the second Elimination Chamber, Christian was the IC champ and was not even booked for the show. He sure let everyone know that he was upset that he didn’t have a match, and that he should have been in the chamber, too.
By Elimination Chamber III, Christian was back in the full swing of things. First, he lost a match to Chris Jericho on Raw during “Beat the Clock” night. At New Year’s Revolution itself, Edge offered Christian his spot because he knew the HBK was going to screw him (which he did!), except Bischoff would not allow the substitution.
Christian is always trying to get into the Chamber, as again it’s part of his character’s long term story of always getting screwed out of title shots, except in a funnier version then Edge’s character.
The Pinfall Victory
You may not always agree with the short term outcome (Triple H winning twice), but there is no denying the long term impact of the Elimination Chamber. It has shown itself to be a creative success, a monetary success, and continued growth success. Each Elimination Chamber has been new and fresh, and they have spaced them far enough apart that there is no burnout yet. And look what can happen in the coming year: After the draft, who will be on RAW? What about guys who have been moving up the card like Shelton Benjamin and Christian? What about new possible players like Guerrero or Angle?
What happens over the next few weeks and months will certainly be interesting, and you can sure bet that someone is thinking of Elimination Chamber IV. Watch RAW closely, and you might just see the little things that are building up to this next momentous event.
Until then, the defense rests.
Well everyone, that wraps up our second case. So what do you think?
IN THE CASE OF THE IWC VERSUS THE ELIMINATION CHAMBER, THE ELIMINATION CHAMBER HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF BEING A CHEAP PLOY, NO BUILD, BAD MATCHUP.
<YOU THE JURY FIND THE ELIMINATION CHAMBER:
Vote early and vote often.
(I’m working on getting a poll system built into 411. In the meantime, we’re gonna use this. Thanks for the suggestion Julian Smith of Atlanta, Georgia)
Next week we begin the highly anticipated three-part series on Kevin Nash. The only question is will his knees survive the walk to the witness stand?
Can’t wait until next week? Haven’t got enough of me yet? Be sure to check out FACT OR FICTION where Don Bishop of Ying and Yang fame and I really, really, really don’t agree. I mean really. Really.
Looking for something else to do? I’m looking for a cool banner logo to put at the top of my article. That means it’s time for a CONTEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here’s the rules/prizes:
- Design a jpg/gif logo of no more then 100K that you will send to me and give up all rights and claims and ownership to
- Be able to host the logo or have a place to host the logo for an indefinite amount of time that can handle the bandwidth of 411mania
- Nothing on there can be illegal or facetious and must include the name of the column (with the triple dots) and my name
- The winner will get two prizes:  You will get whatever you want plugged to death by me (with the exception of something incredibly illegal or downright sick) and  You can have me defend something completely ridiculous in a one shot issue. That’s right, you could ask me to defend Tommy Dreamer drinking toilet water or Chucky being the guy who was stalking Rick Steiner or Mae Young giving birth to a hand or the Red Rooster as a credible gimmick or Jerry Flynn getting a match at Starrcade, or any other such fun thing!
- All entries must be received by the end of Issue #10. So that gives you three issues of Kevin Nash and one issue of… well, you’ll just have to wait and see.
Thanks, and enjoy the week! I’m on the road until Friday. But don’t worry, I’ll be back in plenty of time for In Defense Of… Kevin Nash (Part 1 of 3)!!!
And the next time you read some throwaway line out there presented as fact, challenge it. The truth matters, and you have a right to know.
Know a particular person, event, organization, storyline, etc… in wrestling history that needs a defense? E-mail the One and Only JP at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be glad to hear your case.