You say goodbye, I say hello… and welcome to your 2012 Elimination Chamber review! We are just six short weeks away WrestleMania 28, and as I feverishly count them down to bask in the Miami sun, we must first go over the final pit stop on the Road to WrestleMania! Elimination Chamber came to us last night from Milwaukee, and perhaps the most intriguing Divas match in quite some time took the stage, as Beth Phoenix would look to defend her Divas Championship against the up and coming Tamina Snuka! Not only that, but we also got a backstage segment involving Natalya, AND a John Cena highlight video that featured a few brilliant two second cameos from some of the Divas! As I attempt to calm myself from the sheer thought of it all, let’s get this started.
We proceed to head out to the arena where Lilian Garcia introduces us to the following contest for the Divas Championship! Out comes the statuesque Diva of Destruction, Beth Phoenix, donning a nice plaid tribute (WITH white wrist tape mind you) to the WWE Hall of Famer, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. We discover that Piper’s involvement in Beth’s gear stems all the way back to his feud with her opponent’s father, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. Speaking of the Superfly, up next comes my new favorite theme of “TA-MI-NA” as it hits the sound system, and out walks the top contender for the Divas Title, Tamina Snuka! Snuka walks down the entrance ramp, as I stare on like a proud parent seeing how far she has come since the days of only having a first name as I recapped her budding relationship to JTG on NXT. Once she gets into the ring, the bell sounds as we get this battle underway!
The two move about the squared circle a bit, until Beth announces that she will grant Tamina the chance to get out of “her” ring! Tamina simply stares on as if Beth is a crazy nut, which angers the Glamazon enough to dub Snuka a “coconut head”. She starts to knock on Tamina’s noggin, but the Warrior Princess grabs Phoenix by the wrist and completely decks the snot out of her with some vicious chops. The champion charges forward, but Snuka ducks a clothesline attempt. She then leaps over the rebounding Beth, before leveling her with a double hand chop to the chest as our Glamazon may have finally met the match she was so desperately seeking!
Snuka runs off the ropes with a boot to the face for a near fall, as Beth then takes control with a headbutt attempt that actually phases her more than it does Tamina. This sparks Tamina to plant her with a headbutt of her own, as she then scales the turnbuckle to go for her patented Superfly Splash. About midway up she goes before Beth knocks her off the apron and to the floor. Phoenix heads outside the ring to capitalize on this momentum, as she levels Snuka in the stomach with a vicious kick. Beth does not let up in the slightest, absolutely pounding Tamina with some nasty shots to the chest/neck area. The referee reaches a count of eight before Snuka manages to slide back in, but Beth remains on the attack with some elbows to the back for a two count.
Phoenix locks in a rear naked choke hold, but Tamina refuses to give up in her singles Pay Per View debut. Snuka begins to fight out, but Beth drops her back by the hair and taunts a bit. From there, she applies a dragon sleeper and demands the referee ask her if she wants to submit. Snuka continues to fight through the pain, as Beth begins ordering the fans to shut up. Tamina finally makes her way out of the hold, proceeding to drop Phoenix with a Samoan Drop! Snuka finally goes for what could be it, as she gets to the top rope this time before Beth counters out. The Glamazon climbs up to the second rope and superplexes Tamina right off! Both women are now down, as the referee begins the count. Phoenix gets up first, but it’s Tamina who takes control after a few punches back and forth.
Snuka hits some more of her amazing knife edge chops, before she mounts a comeback with a clothesline/elbow combo. She sends Beth into the corner and runs forth with a splash, and then DRILLS Phoenix in the jaw with a super kick. Snuka drags Beth into place, and hopes to prove that third times indeed the charm while she ascends up to the top turnbuckle. Up she goes, and YES! Tamina connects with the Superfly Splash! One… Two… NO! Beth miraculously kicks out of Tamina’s finisher! Tamina can not believe it, as the crowd chants, “One more time!” She goes back up again, but Beth rolls out of the way much like on SmackDown. Snuka tosses Phoenix back into the ring, but is taken off guard as she enters herself. Beth slams Tamina into the corner, before locking in and NAILING the Glam Slam! One, two, three! Phoenix retains her title in a tremendous showing!
Thoughts: Starting things off with the match, I personally loved it. I was terrified leading into it because this was really make or break for Tamina. Ever since I first saw her back in FCW almost two years ago, she has been one of my favorite Divas. Her look is unlike any other and she really stands out for me. I always thought that after her original program with Natalya ended she was just going to unfortunately fall by the wayside, but words can’t express how pleased I am that WWE finally gave her a chance to have a Divas Title match, and not only that, they gave her spotlight and character! It’s more than I ever thought she would get, and I think she rose to the occasion and proved a few people wrong in terms of skill level. She and Beth had some great chemistry together, which is a pattern that the past seven pay per view events have shown for Phoenix. This was done so perfectly in that it made Beth look incredible being able to kick out of Tamina’s finisher, all while Tamina came off just as great by being the first Diva to stand toe to toe and take the Glamazon to her limits. I may be biased because of how happy I am with it all, but at least I’ll admit it!
Match Rating: 3.5/5
Backstage we head to see AJ’s former love interest, Hornswoggle, with some cheese nearby… and knowing a certain Diva’s gimmick, this can’t mean good things. As predicted, the camera pans out to see Hornswoggle asking Natalya if she will cut the cheese in his hands. Natalya screams out that she swears to God the flatulence hasn’t been her, and she’s had enough! Suddenly, she grabs her stomach and politely tells Hornswoggle that she is fine. Natalya then painfully grabs onto the table, as a large pit of gas erupts from a nearby sound system… I mean from her. She lets out an “Oh…my…God”, before running off as little mini fart sounds play in the distance, which I must admit, I did laugh at. (Don’t hate me!)
Justin Gabriel then enters the fray and asks what could’ve been Mr. AJ Lee (before Daniel Bryan came along) if he’s having fun. Horny depicts his favorite cheeses, as Jack Swagger and Vickie Guerrero walk forward. The leprechaun dubs some of his favorites as “Jack” and “Cottage” — obviously hidden insults to, well, only Vickie. Swagger takes his cheese and throws it in his face, as Justin starts to argue with him. Guerrero orders Teddy Long to do something before things get ugly around here, but Teddy makes an inside joke regarding her being ugly. Obviously he is not being the star we all know he should! To make matters short, Teddy books Justin against Jack in a match for the United States Championship later tonight.
Also, please I beg you all to check out the greatest video package I have ever seen, which highlights John Cena training with many members of the FCW roster! Look closely and you can even spot such females as AJ, Tamina, and FCW Diva Caylee Turner!
Thoughts: Onto the rest of tonight’s segments! As much as Natalya’s gimmick stirs up controversy, you have to hand it to her for playing it so well. She makes me legitimately laugh when she’s on screen. Not laugh in a way that I find this awful gimmick to be funny, but more in how she portrays the character. You aren’t always going to have the best cards dealt to you, but what matters is how you play them, and she handles this incredibly. Trust me, it takes A LOT on her part for me to be amused in a segment involving both Hornswoggle and flatulence, but that pink and black loving Diva “entertainments” me like no other, as Aksana would say.
And yes, I did completely collapse at the sight of the FCW roster being interviewed and featured in a John Cena video. If I wasn’t already Team Cena heading into the big show, he has my undying gratitude now!