Coming off the heels of the Royal Rumble the 2013 Elimination Chamber pay-per-view serves one purpose: fill time between the Rumble and Wrestlemania. This year is no exception, offering viewers seven matches, with results that in the grand scheme of things are completely inconsequential. The main event of the evening is a clever marketing ploy by the WWE to get viewers upset with the Rumble's title match to buy into a rematch where reigning champion The Rock, would lose his title back to CM Punk even through disqualification or count out. Looking at this through the eyes of anyone but a fan, its obvious from a business standpoint, the commercial rematch between John Cena and The Rock at Wrestlemania is not going to stop and right away, the event already feels like a mild waste of time, not to mention money.
In another example of lazy booking on the World Heavyweight Championship side of the equation, viewers are forced another satisfactory contest between Alberto Del Rio and The Big Show; both men are far from sloppy competitors, but little in the match is that exciting and taking into account the controversial Jack Swagger, anti-immigrant storyline brewing, the WWE writers offer another predictable ending to the match. A different kind of disappointing occurs during the frustratingly short Antonio Cesaro and Miz match for Cesaro's US Championship. The Miz is just not in Cesaro's league athletically and the potential Cesaro shows, makes one wonder why he's not in the main event scene already. Fortunately, the titular Elimination Chamber match kicks the evening into full steam with all six men: Daniel Bryan, Kane, Mark Henry, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, and Jack Swagger coming off looking strong; particularly Henry who is booked as a pure monster in the match.
The Shield vs. John Cena, Ryback, and Sheamus match is equally entertaining although not as long as The Shield's epic debut contest in late 2012, nor as lengthy. Finally, just before the main event, we get two less-than-four-minutes each filler matches pitting Dolph Ziggler against Kofi Kingston and Kaitlyn against Tamina Snuka respectively. The less said about the main event the better; from the obvious outcome going into the match, the only reason it gets main event billing is the appearance of The Rock, who appears in just as sloppy shape here as he did in the Royal Rumble a month earlier. The match, like the one that opens the event is serviceable and from a storytelling perspective a bit more exciting, but ultimately pointless filler, serving only as a stopgap between the Rumble and Wrestlemania. For all the goodwill the Royal Rumble served to kick start the 2013 WWE season, the Elimination Chamber is a pitiful reminder of the new WWE approach to booking and storytelling.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer sports brilliant, rich color reproduction of the event itself. Detail levels are not as strong as something sourced from a modern HD broadcast should be, possibly due to some minor compression artifacts that seems to be the standard for WWE DVD releases (it's much better than a few years back).
The Dolby Digital English 5.1 audio is a solid, albeit non-mind-blowing experience. Commentary is front and center, but never mixed to overpower the sounds of the arena, nor do the mics focused on the in-ring action feel off-balance. A few matches in, and the sound isn't as immersive as being live (simply due to the constant commentary), but there's nothing to detract from the experience.
The WWE finally ups their game by including the pre-show match of Brodus Clay and Tensai vs. Team Rhodes Scholars as well as including the standard interview segment, this time with Matt Striker talking to Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter.
With only two truly enjoyable matches on the card, the "2013 WWE Elimination Chamber" feels like an incredibly high-end episode of Raw, with the exception of the titular match and crummy main event. Rent It.