The two Chamber Matches at Sunday’s WWE Elimination Chamber 2012 event were a recurring highlight film of crazy bumps and high risks for talented WWE superstars. It was midway through the first match when I started to ponder whether the risks are worth the reward for these matches.
While I understand that any professional wrestler is putting himself at risk for injury anytime he steps into a ring, the risks taken in the Elimination Chamber Matches are absurd. It is one thing to brace yourself and learn how to bump on canvas, but it is another thing to take bumps on the floor of an Elimination Chamber match.
It wasn’t just Dolph. It was everyone with the exception of the Great Khali who was in and out of the match. Even The Big Show at one point took a double suplex from Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett onto the chamber floor. Even if it was gimmicked, there is only so much protection you can offer in that situation. So why put a man that has missed time with chronic back problems into such a dangerous match?
The match needs to go. Someone is going to get hurt badly in the match, if they haven’t been already. While nobody has ever missed significant time to my knowledge from the match, the long term impact on the back, body, and head of such high risk bumps cannot be quantified. How will anyone know when Dolph is ready to retire whether he would have had more time in the ring if not for this match? Is it coincidence that Edge started to have neck issues after this match last year? Maybe, but you can’t tell me that the bumping he did in last year’s match didn’t exasperate his injuries.
These are all guys that have trained hard and worked their tails off inside of the pro wrestling rings to get to the point where they can earn a good living as a professional wrestler. These are guys that have been working from day one to headline WrestleMania and have a WrestleMania classic, not fall back-first onto metal or hit the back of their heads on the same hard surface. You want to book guys in this kind of a match? Fine, hire stunt men or gymnasts, not trained professional wrestlers!
It isn’t just the Chamber Match. The Money in the Bank Match also has its dangers, but at least you can manage your risks to an extent. In the Chamber Match you are working in an unsafe situation the second your pod is raised. It’s just not fair to these guys.
I don’t blame the guys for getting in there. What would you do if you were them? You’d do whatever you can to keep your spot. Yet the company owes it to these guys to at least manage their risks. I find it almost comical that WWE management is reportedly so upset at The Miz for missing R-Truth on a dive, yet they have no problem booking an injury-prone wrestler like Randy Orton or Mark Henry in such a match.
The risks are nowhere near the rewards. An injury here can take one of the key players on a roster that already has depth issues and put him on the shelf right before WrestleMania and for what? 100-200,000 buys? Is that revenue really worth losing one of your top guys a month before WrestleMania? What if more than one guy got hurt? What if someone’s career ended from one of those stupid bumps?