The WrestleMania 29 picture got a lot more clear on Sunday night as Elimination Chamber took place in New Orleans.
As always, the promising pay-per-view was extraordinary.
Not only was the six-man battle that the event is named after predictably entertaining, but the fans at New Orleans Arena were also treated to a rare Shield match against the superstar trio of John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus, while several other titles were put on the line and the newest chapter of The Rock vs. CM Punk was unveiled.
While the results will certainly be met with controversy, skepticism and debate, as always, the action inside the ropes was tremendous.
Let's take a closer look at what happened at Elimination Chamber 2013.
Pre-Show: Brodus Clay and Tensai Defeat Team Rhodes Scholars
Damien Sandow started things off by saying that he was back with Cody Rhodes thanks to popular demand, and the duo came out with much aggression and energy.
However, after Team Rhodes Scholars controlled the beginning of the match, the new tag team partners began to turn things around.
In the end, Clay and Tensai hit the double-team splash on each of their opponents and got the pin on Rhodes for the win to continue their recent momentum.
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio (c) Defeats The Big Show
This was a highly entertaining back-and-forth battle, and it was a solid way to start off the anticipated pay-per-view.
Del Rio got in a large portion of the offense and locked in the armbreaker on three separate occasions.
On the first attempt, Show was able to get his foot on the rope. On the second, the big man simply picked up the champion and ferociously slammed him down in impressive fashion.
Shortly after that, it looked as though the seven-footer would land his KO punch, but he was distracted by birthday boy Ricardo Rodriguez. That gave Del Rio an opportunity to land three monstrous kicks and then lock in the armbreaker once again.
This time, Big Show was forced to tap.
Much to the chagrin of many, a Dolph Ziggler appearance did not follow.
United States Championship: Antonio Cesaro (c) Defeats The Miz
The Miz came out with his shoulder heavily taped once again, and predictably, Cesaro focused his attack on the injury.
Still, The Miz was able to get Cesaro—who was technically impressive as usual—to the outside, where he banged the champion's knee into the steel steps.
The challenger continued to work on the knee, but was disqualified when he accidentally hit the Swiss superstar with a low blow. As expected, that didn't go over well with The Miz, and he gave Cesaro a might-as-well-get-my-money's-worth low blow just for good measure.
Apparently, this feud isn't over.
Elimination Chamber: Jack Swagger Wins
Here's the order in when each participant was eliminated:
|1||Daniel Bryan||1||Mark Henry|
|2||Chris Jericho||4||Randy Orton|
|5||Randy Orton||5||Jack Swagger|
|6||Mark Henry||3||Randy Orton|
All four men left their pods before someone was eliminated, but Mark Henry helped clean things up when he was the last one to enter the ring.
The World's Strongest Man swiftly went through everyone and then delivered a huge World's Strongest Slam on Daniel Bryan for the pin.
How would you grade this match?
Then he threw Orton through the Plexiglas before delivering another devastating WSS on Kane for the second elimination. Just like that, the two partners, who turned against each other for a moment, were eliminated.
However, after more domination by Henry, Jericho was able to hit the big man with a Codebreaker, and Orton reappeared for an RKO and pin. Henry wasn't done, though, as he refused to leave the ring and handed out three more massive slams on each of the remaining participants.
The final three men continued at a frantic, aggressive pace that had the crowd going bananas, and in the end, Orton pinned Jericho after landing the RKO, only for Swagger to roll up an unsuspecting Orton for the win.
Much like most Elimination Chamber matches, this one was full of excitement and jaw-dropping maneuvers, but many fans will be disappointed with the predictability of the finish, as Swagger vs. Del Rio has looked inevitable for a while.
The Shield Defeats John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus
"Team Cena" got in the early attack before the match officially started, but once things got underway, The Shield was able to isolate Cena and work on him for quite a while.
Eventually, Cena was able to launch Dean Ambrose to the outside and get the hot tag to Ryback, and chaos quickly ensued.
After Ryback went through the entire opposing trio, Sheamus took Roman Reigns outside, but The Shield member delivered an absolutely astounding spear on Sheamus through the time keeper's area.
Back inside the ring, Cena hit Ambrose with an AA and Ryback had Seth Rollins set up for the Shell Shocked, but Reigns came in and gave yet another monstrous spear, this time to Ryback.
Rollins fell onto Ryback for the pin.
Dolph Ziggler Defeats Kofi Kingston
Ziggler came out to cut a promo, but Booker T quickly interrupted and set an impromptu match between him and Kingston.
Kingston is always entertaining to watch, but after some high-flying, controlling action, Ziggler landed the Zig Zag and immediately earned the win.
Shortly after, Big E. Langston returned to the ring and gave Kofi some kicks, punches and the Big Ending.
WWE Divas Championship: Kaitlyn (c) Defeats Tamina Snuka
Tamina went up top for a big splash, but Kaitlyn was able to roll out of the way just in time. The champion then followed that up with a spear to retain the title.
WWE Championship: The Rock (c) Defeats CM Punk
The night's main event got off to a bit of a slow start, but it seriously heated up as the match wore on.
After solid offense from each man, Punk took the champion to the outside and delivered the Rock Bottom to the Brahma Bull on the Spanish announcers' table.
Nevertheless, The Rock, who would have lost the title with a count-out, made it back into the ring after nine counts and the match resumed.
How would you grade this match?
Rocky was able to land a Rock Bottom of his own, but CM Punk kicked out after a very close three-count.
Punk then hit the GTS and had The Rock pinned for about 10 seconds, but that came after the ref had been knocked out and no one was there to count. The Rock eventually got up and landed the People's Elbow, but Punk kicked out again.
After the second ref was knocked out of the ring, Punk tried to hit the champion with his own belt but nailed Paul Heyman instead. The Rock landed yet another Rock Bottom, and the second ref returned for the three-count.
In case you ever doubted it, it's now official—The Rock is headed to WrestleMania to take on John Cena.
WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross noted just how brutal the Elimination Chamber match can truly be:
The steel that comprises the #WWEChamber doesn't care about TV ratings. PG...TV14...amazed at some who think so.— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) February 18, 2013
Meanwhile, WWE Universe wondered if Henry would receive a special accomplishment for his multiple pins:
While many fans weren't thrilled with the ending to the Elimination Chamber, up-and-coming star Bo Dallas was certainly impressed with the match itself:
Mick Foley, someone who knows a little something about grueling matches, was also a fan:
Great Chamber match. Grueling, physical stuff. Congratulations to @realjackswagger on what should be an intriuging Mania match with Del Rio.— Mick Foley (@realMickFoley) February 18, 2013
WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts gave us a picture of the carnage from Reigns' spear on Sheamus:
Ziggler finally ended his losing streak at the cost of Kingston, and Ross outlined the former's immense potential: