On the latest episode of the ARN Podcast, Arn Anderson covered the 2011 Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. The main event of the show was centered around the winner receiving a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania 27. The match came down to John Cena pinning CM Punk to win the match. Four months later, CM Punk would cut his infamous “Pipe Bomb” promo describing his issues with the company. Anderson talked about Punk being upset with the company around the time of Elimination Chamber in 2011 and said that he was expressing his feelings with the “Pipe Bomb” promo.
“I knew that that was him expressing his real views, too strong not to be,” Anderson mentioned. “That’s one of those things that the braintrusts said, ‘let him go say what he wants’. I don’t know if they expected it to go that far but they’re still talking about it today.
“I know he was dinged up and he was working hurt, that bothered him some, he needed to get well. I know he wasn’t happy for a number of reasons but it was never one of those things where I sat down beside him and said what’s bugging you. I would just go by, see that he wasn’t joking, kidding around, he would just kind of be to himself and I would ask him if he’s alright and he’d go ‘I guess.’ I wouldn’t question it, that’s a guys personal space, but I knew something was going on.”
John Cena went on to face The Miz in the main event of WrestleMania 27 for the WWE Championship. The finish of the match built towards Cena vs. The Rock at the next year’s event. Anderson said a lot of talent backstage, including CM Punk, were upset that The Miz was put in that main event spot.
“I would say there’s a lot of talent at that WrestleMania that were pissed that Miz was in that spot,” Anderson said. “When being in the match with Randy Orton is looked at as being mid-card, that’s pretty friggin’ stout. And I mean at any time and under any circumstances. To look at that as being as less than tells you somethings going on in somebody’s mind.
“There was a lot of animosity around and a lot of people that were trying to get over and move up in position. When Miz was wrestling Cena I just know that there were a lot of guys that felt like they should’ve been in that spot. If you didn’t want to be in that spot, somethings wrong with you. There was some tension here or there.”
The Elimination Chamber debuted at Survivor Series 2002 in a match that saw Shawn Michaels win his last World Championship in WWE. Since that moment 19 years ago, the Chamber has gone through many design changes to help make it safer for talent to work in. Arn talked about the early design of the Elimination Chamber, and how the cage was truly dangerous for talents to work in during its early existence.
“The fact is for 9 tenths of its existence, that cage was built not to be talent friendly,” Anderson said. “I got up in it and walked around and there were very few padded spots. A lot of it was chain link, I know it was designed to look dangerous but when it really becomes dangerous, who are we working here? Who are we ribbing? There were not many soft spots.
“The way it was designed there wasn’t a whole lot of things that you could do in there because you were trapped. There wasn’t a lot of excess room on the roof of the cage where you could go up top and stand up and do a lot of stuff, without a soft place to land your choices got really really small.”
Anderson noted that the Elimination Chamber made talents feel uncomfortable and frustrated with how dangerous it was. He said wrestlers would be reluctant to work in the chamber, but knowing it would be the main event and for a world title certainly changed their minds.
“They did not like it, they did not enjoy it,” Anderson said. “Of course it was a main event that had World Title ramifications, if you were a top guy you wanted to be in it even though you know it was dangerous. I’m talking about guys I heard them talking, they weren’t kidding ‘I expect to get hurt tonight in that cage.’
“But still it was the main event on the show, the main event pay off. It put you in a scenario where you could try to be creative and come up with something different, a lot of challenges but a lot of positives as far as the guy that walked out of there as the winner.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit ARN Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.