Before I get started, as it's noted on my review title that there are no matches from Survivor Series or T.L.C. on this set due to there not being enough time with WWE trying to rush this set out before the end of the year.
World Champion Edge vs. Dolph Ziggler - Just think that it was going on 5 years ago that Dolph was in a cheerleader outfit yelling "NICKY!" to now in a World Title match on a PPV. Dolph's girlfriend & Edge's ex-wife, Vickie Guerrero, assumed the role of acting-General Manager of SmackDown & banned Edge's trademark move of the "spear" stating that he would lose the championship if he used the move in the match. Dolph continued to deliver an impressive performance here as he heavily worked on Edge's neck with moves like a heavy focus on the side headlock while even taking a nasty fall on an attempted Fameasser turned into a powerbomb by Edge. Edge told the story well of him being so used to setting up the spear that he had to come up with other holds to use during the match including a different variation of the scorpion deathlock along with other moves & some "lie, cheat, steal" tactics we've seen in the past & a finishing hold that we've seen someone real close to Edge use as well. With a surprise appearance from a SmackDown diva who had enough of Vickie Guerrero's involvement, this was a good match.
As a side note, this was one of the matches that if you heavily pay attention to the announce team then I would mute the match as they were more concerned about telling Vickie Guerrero jokes than anything else & it showed as Matt Striker would keep asking Lawler the same question while Michael Cole was trying to make a valid point only for both Lawler & Striker to not be paying attention.
Elimination Chamber Match: World Champion Edge vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Big Show vs. Kane vs. Wade Barrett vs. Drew McIntyre - With Dolph Ziggler being fired on the previous SmackDown, Big Show took his place. As expected, this match was full of various highlights such as Edge sliding Mysterio out of the ring to the chamber walls over the grated chamber floor, Kane's dominance including throwing Mysterio head first into the glass, Wade Barrett being cheered by the crowd, Big Show's chop to McIntyre that was so loud...it knocked the wind out of Josh Matthews, Barrett getting tossed through a pod by Show with one hand, everyone realizing they had to work together to take out the biggest threat in the match, Edge's double spear, and the showdown between the final two. The standout performance here though came from Drew McIntyre as we saw a more aggressive side of him than we've seen before as he had no problem getting in everyone's face before going into the pod, spearing Mysterio into a chamber pod's glass like a dart, throwing Barrett though another glass pod, and targeting Edge because of Kelly Kelly getting fired. Josh Matthews described this match perfectly, "Car crash after car crash!" Stay tuned afterwords as not only did the road to the World Championship match at WrestleMania start but we also saw the return of someone who also had unfinished business.
Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes - Cody was out for revenge here for no longer allowing himself to be called "Dashing" after the damage to his face while Rey wanted his own revenge for the attacks leading up to this event & for the record, the comic book outfit Rey has this year is Captain America. Cody used his mask as a weapon & targeted Rey's face with various headbutts & even going a springboard kick to the face onto Rey while also delivering impactful moves like Hardcore Holly's "Alabama Slam" & Davey Boy Smith's delayed vertical suplex from the top rope while able to keep breaking whatever momentum Rey kept trying to build throughout the match. Rey went after Cody's face as well including a headsissors to the outside with Cody's face smacking the ringside mat while later executing the 619 & a kick to Cody's exposed face. Both men went after each others weakness as Rey was able to remove Cody's mask & got payback for using it earlier while Rhodes was able to remove Rey's knee brace & had that play a factor in end.
[Rey Mysterio: Life Of A Masked Man]
No Holds Barred Match: Undertaker vs. Triple H - Both men started out trading punches with Taker getting aggressive first by tossing Triple H over the top, ramming him into the steps, and taking apart the spanish announce table. Triple H returned the aggression with tackling Taker through the "Colemine" & taking apart the english announce table...only to be slammed off it to the floor. A few scary moments happened such as when Taker did his famous dive over the top ropes to the floor & he wasn't caught by Triple H coming close to landing right on his neck while later Taker took a chairshot right to the head (just knowing about concussions now makes me cringe when I see that). Both men turned up the punishment various times such as a spinebuster through the spanish table, trading chairshots, a DDT on the chair, and both kicking out of finishers including 3 separate pedigrees to the point where Triple H was just screaming "STAY DOWN...JUST DIE...WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU!?!" Triple H said before this match that he was going to finish the streak or die trying...well those words rang true but after the match, he wasn't the only person who died trying to accomplish their goal. It was different than their match a decade ago at WrestleMania but this was one that could stand out on it's own.
World Championship/Ladder Match - For those who don't already know, Edge was forced to retire the week after WrestleMania & forfeited the World Championship in the process setting up this ladder match between the two top challengers. There were plenty of spots (as expected) in this type of match such as Christian falling face first into a ladder after his legs were pulled from under him, Del Rio dropped arm first into a ladder & later using a "Hornswoggle" sized ladder to execute a armbreaker onto Christian off another ladder, a ladder wedged between the ring apron & the announce table resulting in Del Rio taking a very nasty landing on his spine, the appearance of Brodus Clay resulting in him having his own pool of blood on the outside, Del Rio doing a variation of his cross armbreaker using the stepladder, and the appearance of a "Rated R" jeep leading to a moment that a solid core group of fans have been waiting a long time to happen...at least in WWE.
[The Ladder Match 2: Crash & Burn]
Rey Mysterio vs. C.M. Punk - Just like how I said earlier that Ziggler & Dolph had battled previous times throughout the past year, this match is happening one year later after last singles PPV match with Punk's group of the New Nexus banned from ringside while Punk also had an outfit that fit the "theme" of the event. Both men had some nice back & forth wrestling with both men showing that they knew the other very well such as Punk catching Rey's attempted press off the apron to drop him on the barricade while constantly countering the 619 while working on the midsection of Mysterio with various moves such as a bow & arrow, abdominal stretch, and body scissors. Rey resorted to his various aerial offense such as the flying headbutt & Asai Moonsault before Punk was able to reverse the flying crossbody leading to a great sequence of both men attempting to nail a kick. Mysterio was able to hurt Punk's arm earlier in the match to the point where Punk hurt it himself when delivering a simple back superplex while Punk also had the same effect on his knees when blocking a top rope splash before going into another series of moves evolving from a GTS, frankensteiner, knockout kick, and 619. While their series was quality last year, this match may have topped that as it was a great match with all the unique reversals and offensive maneuvers outside of their normal moves. Definitely the match of the night here.
RAW Money In The Bank Ladder Match: Rey Mysterio vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Alex Riley vs. Evan Bourne vs. The Miz vs. Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. R-Truth - You knew exactly where this match was going when all of the competitors decided to grab a ladder & bring it into the ring with them during their entrance. Various highlights including everyone targeting Del Rio right from the start with their ladders to the point where he was buried underneath them & Mysterio being throwing on top of pile shortly afterwords, Kofi & Bourne fighting on top of a ladder that wasn't open before having a unique tug of war with it resulting in Rey using it as a springboard for a frakensteiner, R-Truth on the receiving end of a atomic drop that hurt every man watching, the highest "Air Bourne" you'll ever see, the dangerous way Miz fell off the ladder that I'm surprised didn't snap his knee in half, Mysterio & Bourne literally climbing over others to get to the case, Swagger taking a page out of Bryan's playbook earlier in the night by applying a submission from anywhere, the unique 619 Mysterio delivered using a ladder, everyone fighting for the case at once, and Swagger taking a nasty fall off the ladder. Although this match was different than the one earlier, it was still quality.
Money In The Bank
WWE Champion John Cena vs. C.M. Punk - As everyone already knows, the big story here is that Punk made it clear that his contract expires that night & he planned on walking out of the company with the WWE Championship with Vince McMahon making it clear that he didn't want that to happen (think Survivor Series '97) & that John Cena would be fired if that took place. This is the first time I can remember John Cena being in such a hostile territory with the audience since ECW One Night Stand around 5 years earlier as the crowd was completely pro-C.M. Punk to the point where they were cheering for him before he ever came out while Cena didn't do his usual "play to the crowd/salute" entrance as he was all business by walking straight to the ring & holding up the championship while it should be noted that ex-NWA Champion & Punk's good friend Colt Cabana (who was in WWE for a short time as Scotty Goldman & the man Punk's been mentioning on TV in the past few weeks) was in the front row. Cena was greeted with "You Can't Wrestle" chants from the start & responded to it by actually doing wrestling such as reversing Punk's attempted at the Anaconda Vice into an armbar while coming to a stalemate with Punk at both escape attempts at an Attitude Adjustment & G.T.S. The chants from the crowd started to split & duel against each other which caused Booker T to reference "Rocky 4" of all things with when even Colt at ringside getting some small chants. Punk focused on Cena's neck reversing the A.A. into a DDT while later delivering a top rope kneedrop onto Cena's neck on the apron. There was a point where Punk attempted a crossbody block but mistimed it as Cena ended up hurting his knee while Punk's midsection as effected which Cena tried to capitalize on with an abdominal stretch. Both men went on to find unique counters to each others signature moves including a great series of counters that saw a flying crossbody, A.A., G.T.S., STF, and modified Anaconda Vice. While this was definitely one of Punk's best matches in WWE, the shock here was the fact that he pulled something out of John Cena that I honestly can't remember seeing out of him in a very long time...if EVER as the match went close to half an hour & Cena didn't "phone it in" like he's done for the last few PPV's. Definitely a highlight in WWE's history along with the careers of BOTH men involved here.
Money In The Bank
No Holds Barred Match: World Champion Christian vs. Randy Orton - Before the match, we get a special treat as Edge returned to confront Christian about his actions over the previous weeks. Christian was in control early but tried to run away when Orton regained the advantage only for Orton to chase him into the crowd & dish out punishment there. The fans had dueling chants as a kendo stick came into play causing Orton to bleed from the mouth before he caught Christian in mid-air with a dropkick. Orton pulled out & setup tables which Christian was superplexed onto one that was laid out on the ringmat. They exchanged their signature moves with Orton delivering an RKO though the announce table while Christian delivering a Killswitch in the ring but it was when Christian once again showed the ultimate sign of disrespect that sent Orton's anger into overdrive involving a chair, trash can, table, and the steel steps. This match ranks right up there with their first two matches in this series as a high quality encounter as Christian was able to pull more out of Orton than most were able to do.
World Champion Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry - After Henry showed his power advantage early, Orton was able to knock Henry off his feet & focused on his knees & ankle while also showing his speed advantage by side stepping Henry causing him to fall to the outside. However Henry's power advantage was showcased such as wrapping Orton around the ringpost & a big splash while Orton continued to try to chop Henry down with clotheslines, dropkicks, and even able to do the hanging DDT. This match did it's job in putting Henry over as a big strong monster heel but the quality itself was as well worked as you would expect since Henry is very limited & but a step down from his previous series against Sheamus.
Night Of Champions
No Disqualification Match: Triple H vs. C.M. Punk - The PPV called "Night Of Champions" is main evented by a non-title match but Triple H's position as Chief Operating Officer is on the line. A few side notes here before the match is that this is Triple H's first match since WrestleMania, Michael Cole at this point in the show lost his voice so it's just Booker & Lawler commentating the match, and you'll get a chuckle out of the new C.M. Punk t-shirt that he wears to the ring. Punk kick started the match right away by jumping Triple H during his entrance & threw him over the ringside barrier with Triple H bouncing back & throwing Punk over the announce table. Both men took back in to the ring & brawled with ramming Punk's knee into the pole twice before both men taking the fight through the crowd onto the stage & back in to the ring. Punk used a chair into the ring before wedging it in a corner only for it to work against him when Triple H whipped him through the chair onto the outside. Triple H continued to work on Punk's leg using the ringpost & a chair before Punk countered by sending Triple H into the steps at ringside & delivering an impact move that the announcers described as "SAVAGE!" we saw various people get involved from Miz & Truth coming in only to attack BOTH men, Johnny Ace (V.P. of Talent Relations) & his actions looking like that he was biased towards one competitor in the match, and Kevin Nash again having his issues with both men. This was the match of the night as they played to the "No DQ" rule & buildup very well as this was more of a fight than wrestling match while continuing the various storylines involving everyone involved here.
Night Of Champions
Divas Champion Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix - This match was the same setup as their previous encounters with Natayla & Eve being in their partner's corners. Kelly went after Beth with Thesz Presses & punches & forearms before Beth was able to recover & heavily focus on Kelly's with various blows to the area such as elbow drops, dropkicks, punches, and stretches. Kelly kept attempting to beat Beth the way she did before with quick rollups & able to hit some moves but Beth kept working over her while Natayla took care of Eve on the floor before taunting Kelly & getting involved herself finally allowing Beth to gain the championship. This was my favorite of their series which were definitely the best series of diva matches this year but stay tuned afterwords as both Beth & Natayla got emotional over the win.
Hell In A Cell
Hell In A Cell Match: WWE Champion John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. C.M. Punk - Knowing that he was the odd man out in this situation, Del Rio tried to run away from both men but really had nowhere to hide causing both men to beat him down & eventually kept shoving the other out of the way just to stomp on Del Rio. There were various moments throughout the match such as Punk's way of breaking up Cena's attempted Attitude Adjustment on Del Rio on the outside, Punk being shoved into the cell various times including once that caused his back to get cut, the various involvement of a steel chair including how Del Rio used it during a top rope move onto both Punk & Cena, Cena's top rope legdrop on Del Rio while he had Punk in a side headlock, Del Rio using any weapon he can get his hands on to dominate, steel steps & a table coming into play, and Ricardo Rodriquez's involvement that would turn out to be the ultimate factor in this match. This was a good triple threat match between all three men that was just like the Orton/Henry match earlier in the night where it was stipulation that helped the match as it was more brutal with some of the shots with the chair & cell looking stiff. However the bigger issue here was what happened afterwords that was pure chaos that looked like a prison riot that caused the locker room to empty, the police to come out to the ring, and C.O.O. Triple H to take matters into his own hands...literally.
Hell In A Cell
World Champion Mark Henry vs. Big Show - Both men locked right from the bell with Show doing something that nobody else has been able to do & beat down Henry in the corner causing Henry to go to the outside only for Show to throw him back him & nail him with a superkick. Henry resorted to attacking Show's previously injured leg with shoulderblocks to the back of his leg & dropping all his weight on it with various elbows which did show it's effect on Show as he tried to slam Henry only to have his leg give out. Both men continued to showcase their power against each other with both charging knocking each other down with a double clothesline, Show slamming Henry while Henry was able to hit the "World's Strongest Slam", Big Show chokeslamming Henry both in the ring & off the top rope, and Mark Henry delivering the superplex that made the ring itself say "I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!" The finish was something that we haven't seen for over 8 years but it was still quite the visual to this day & doesn't take away from the match as both men brought their best efforts here as this match was this wasn't your typical "slow & boring" limited big man match with both men telling a story & showcasing their power.
(Blu-Ray) Randy Orton vs. C.M. Punk - Orton came into this match with an injured leg & Punk focused directly on it with various stomps, even kicked the steps into his leg when Orton was chasing him on the outside, a modified indian deathlock, and even doing a top rope kneedrop onto Orton who was hanging from a tree of woe. This injury did effect Orton to the point where he wasn't able to push off his legs when Punk had the anaconda vice & even was able to do his punt. Orton was on the defense for most of the match but was able to get offense including an RKO that was one heck of a visual. Good match between both men.
[Randy Orton: Evolution Of A Predator]
(Blu-Ray) Rey Mysterio vs. R-Truth - We got a different entrance than usual from R-Truth with no rapping, dancing, or music. This started off with Rey doing the frakensteiner off the apron onto Truth on the floor early on with Truth later running Mysterio's head into the post on the apron that caused Mysterio to bounce off onto the floor. Action continued in the ring with Rey delivering a bulldog to Truth off the second rope followed by a stiff kick to Truth's head with Truth later rebounded by pulling Rey off the apron with him crouching the ring banner followed by a clothesline & his forward swinging DDT for the win following by having his "celebratory drink." This was all about getting Truth over as a heel which worked as the crowd definitely hated him more when he left than they did when he started.
Over The Limit
(Blu-Ray) World Champion Randy Orton vs. Christian - Orton came into this match looking for revenge for his concussion and pounded on Christian right away with punches & even a big boot to the face while trying to end the match early with various close near falls. Christian focused on Orton's head with various stomps & calculated punches while tossing his head into the steps & also doing his moves with more impact like the spinebuster that had Orton's head bounce off the mat. Orton kept fighting back with shoulderblocks & suplexes but at one point delivered a superplex that even hurt Orton as his head bounced off the mat. There was a good series of counters & reversals towards the end as both men knew each others signature moves so well leading towards the end of the match (which was controversial) before Orton gave Christian a taste of his own medicine afterwords. This was a very good match but wasn't the quality of their previous two encounters as they played it safe here knowing how Orton, in reality, was recovering from a concussion.
(Blu-Ray) Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, John Morrison vs. The Miz, Alberto Del Rio, R-Truth - Each member of one team had a personal issue with a member of the other team & even fought in singles matches in the previous weeks leading up to this six man tag. This was a very fun opening match that was fast paced & full of non-stop action featuring a bunch of high flying from the babyface team while R-Truth pulled out some of his old athletic moves, Alberto sneaking in his shots, and Miz even pulling out a modified face first DDT that looked like it really hurt.
Other Blu-Ray extras include comments from Christian (Extreme Rules) & Cody Rhodes (WrestleMania) & Dolph Ziggler (Royal Rumble) on their PPV matches. The only faults here is that I think some matches should have been on here (Sheamus/Henry from SummerSlam, triple threat cage match from Extreme Rules) while some could have been left off for their better encounters (Orton/Henry at HIAC instead of NOC; Orton/Christian from Over The Limit instead of Capitol Punishment) some this would have also eliminated some of the DVD repeats from sets released recently at the same time (Mysterio/Rhodes & Orton/Punk from Extreme Rules instead of Mania). Past that, WWE did pick good matches for this set & it's good for someone who doesn't watch/collect the PPV's on a regular basis so under those circumstances, I recommend.