The WWE title match between The Rock and CM Punk at Elimination Chamber 2013 left nothing to be desired.
That couldn't be said about their matchup at the 2013 Royal Rumble. The whole restart thing was dumb, and having Punk lose to a People's Elbow wasn't exactly the best way to make him look strong, regardless of how many people have fallen to that same move.
The entire finish was anticlimactic to what had been an otherwise very good match.
WWE's creative team must have taken some notes because the way the title match flowed on Sunday night at Elimination Chamber was near perfect, with the lone exception being that Punk looks rather stupid for not having The Rock get disqualified somehow. Punk would have won the title if he did.
In the grand scope of things, that's only a minor quibble.
You have to give The Rock a ton of credit. He's come back and delivered in both of his matches. He blew up badly against Cena last year at WrestleMania XXVIII. Being a colossus of muscle doesn't mean you're in shape to wrestle a match. Rocky learned that the hard way and has come back much more prepared this time around.
On Sunday, The Rock put Punk over as much as he could while retaining the title.
Punk managed to get in plenty of offense, including that Rock Bottom on the Spanish announce table. He also kicked out of a People's Elbow and Rock Bottom.
The fans were hanging on to every near fall toward the end of the match. It was really unexpected that Punk would kick out of so many big moves.
Nobody expected these two guys to put on a technical masterpiece, but they did about as much as they could in the ring.
It's a shame that Punk won't get a win over The Rock before the star goes back to Hollywood, but that's just the way it is. At least Punk comes out a little better tonight than he did at the Royal Rumble.
There's also the consequences of The Rock's win to consider.
Almost immediately, the WWE had the graphic up for Cena/Rock II at WrestleMania XXIX. As soon as Cena won the Rumble match, everyone could see that was the plan.
The future is slightly more foggy for Punk. He doesn't have a feud right now, so that's going to change very fast. By knocking Paul Heyman off the apron, there's even the question of where the duo will go from here. You could very easily see this transitioning into a feud with Brock Lesnar as Heyman uses the monster to get back at Punk.
While it may have been totally predictable that The Rock would win to set up the Twice in a Lifetime match against John Cena, the WWE at the very least made this match entertaining.