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The Rock pins CM Punk, Jack Swagger surprises at Elimination Chamber

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.WrestleManiaIllegal ImmigrantsRoyal Rumble

I'll be the first to admit that I was definitely lukewarm about the main event match between CM Punk and The Rock at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.

It wasn't a terrible match by any means. It wasn't terrific, either.

Both men have had far more entertaining matches in WWE, but it must be said that both men did well given their limitations.

What I mean by that is that The Rock, WWE champion, is a part-time worker of matches, so naturally, his "work rate" (as is the commonly used buzz word among the internet wrestling community) might not be at the level of what it used to be when he was wrestling almost daily 13 years ago (being 13 years older, now 40, is also certainly a factor).

CM Punk, however, is wrestling almost daily today, and at 34 years old can still be considered in the prime of his career (even if in the twilight of those years).

The match felt, for lack of a better term, slower. Whether it was CM Punk slowing down to work at The Rock's pace is pure speculation, but that's what it looked like.

Maybe this is the trade off that wrestling fans are faced with -- The Rock, a part-timer, will bring the masses and increase interest, but his matches may not be spectacular every time.

It might be spectacular given the parameters he is working with, but it may not be spectacular for his opponent; in this case, this match wouldn't rank high on CM Punk's all-time greatest matches list; or even in the context of great matches in a WWE ring in recent memory.

But, there was emotion and some interesting moments, that you cannot deny.

Sadly, The Rock and CM Punk are 0-2 with tables -- one breaking too soon at the Royal Rumble, and this one not breaking at all at Elimination Chamber. 

Now we look forward to WrestleMania 29 -- The Rock vs John Cena, Twice in a Lifetime, where The Rock may very well lose for the first time since WrestleMania 20, nine years ago.

Some people are upset this match is happening again, as it was dubbed "Once In a Lifetime."

Others saw it coming.

To me, it's a long, well-planned and well-executed storyline that has spanned three Wrestlemanias. In the end, how can you be upset with that?

So what now with CM Punk?

His title streak is over, so if The Undertaker is ready to have another match on the grandest stage, perhaps Punk tries to end another important streak -- THE most important streak.

In a surprise outcome, The Shield defeated the WWE All-Star team of John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback when Rollins pinned Ryback.

I liked this finish -- The Shield can move on, strongly, perhaps to a tag team championship match against Team Hell No. The three mega-stars aren't affected by a loss. It's a win-win situation.

In another unexpected finish, Jack Swagger won the Elimination Chamber match and will go on to WrestleMania to face the also victorious Alberto Del Rio.

It's a built-in storyline. The "Real American" Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter will almost certainly refer to the Mexican-born Del Rio as an "Illegal Immigrant" in the buildup to the match.

My concern is that this match will kick off WrestleMania, which will make three consecutive WrestleManias where the World Heavyweight title opened the show.

To me, that doesn't do the championship any favors.

Other matches:

-- Brodus Clay/Tensai beat Team Rhodes Scholars. This makes me sad about the status of the tag team division because I wonder where it's going given this result. But I do enjoy Tensai's dancing. It's surprisingly good!

-- Antonio Cesaro beat The Miz by disqualification in an odd finish where Cesaro kicked Miz, causing Miz to kick him in the groin, spawning a DQ from the referee. It leads me to believe this isn't over yet.

-- Kaitlyn retained the Divas championship against Tamina Snuka.

-- In a bonus four-minute match (exactly the amount of time gained by making the Elimination Chamber match entry every four minutes instead of every five minutes), Dolph Ziggler beat Kofi Kingston.

Where is Kofi's career going?

Down, based on what's been happening in 2013. Royal Rumble elimination dodge aside, he has yet to do anything significant or win a decent match on television.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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