A live event on the WWE Network that didn’t even exist under a month ago is looking to be the dark horse candidate for event of the year. In a year where WWE events and PPVs are (seemingly) firing on all cylinders (perhaps in an effort to compete with NXT’s live events), we’ve got yet another event in Elimination Chamber that looks like it will totally deliver from top to bottom.
So who is going to win? Let’s take a look…
Neville vs. Bo Dallas – This is a very intriguing match because of the history that comes along with it. Bo Dallas defeated Seth Rollins to become NXT champion, and then was overthrown by Neville who went on to have the longest NXT reign to date. The fact that they are using their NXT resumes speaks volumes for the brand itself, but it also sets up a realistic storyline and reason for the match. I’m just psyched to see Dallas get an opportunity because I think WWE Creative has completely missed the boat with him and his potential. As much as I would love to see Dallas win using heel tactics to continue the feud (and really get a major career boost in the process), I think WWE Creative believe that having another high-profile loss (regardless of the reason behind it) for Neville would hurt him at this point.
Nikki Bella vs. Paige vs. Naomi (WWE Divas title match) – Here’s the thing with this match: all three women realize just how great the matches have been in NXT between the 4 Horsewomen, so all three realize just how much they need to display a great match here. The problem, though, is that only one of them is able to deliver in the ring. Bella gets by on doing average things in-ring while being beautiful and the girlfriend of John Cena. Naomi has proven to be a decent heel on the mic with incredible athleticism, but can’t string together a decent match (wrestling is more than just MOVES, Naomi). Paige will do her best to carry this match, but I don’t see it being nearly as good as what you can see in NXT on any given Wednesday. I think that if they’re going to pull the trigger on Naomi’s title reign, it’s gotta be now. If it doesn’t happen tonight, I don’t see it happening at all. Paige will have Bella pinned, but Tamina will interfere and allow Naomi to get the pin instead.
John Cena vs Kevin Owens (United States title match) – Boy oh boy…I’m sure I’m not the only one just salivating at the thought of Owens going over here. In an age where new stars are generated by being put over at the right time at the right place, Owens seems primed for a major introduction to the WWE Universe. From what I’ve read online, Owens is going to be a permanent main roster addition after tonight; whether or not that changes the outcome of this match remains to be seen. But Triple H sees something in Owens, which has resulted in winning the NXT championship two months after debuting. Vince McMahon must also see something in Owens, which has resulted in his first feud to be against, of all people, John Fucking Cena. He’s selling merchandise and setting live crowds on fire. There is nobody else like him on the roster and I think Cena recognizes that. While I don’t believe my own prediction here, I’m still going with my heart on this one.
WINNER: Kevin Owens
Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose (WWE World Heavyweight title match) – I’m as surprised at the singles push of Ambrose over the past month as anybody. Not because he didn’t deserve the push itself, but because it came so out of the blue after months and months of losing match after match. What I’ve liked about this short-term build-up is that they’ve set-up Ambrose as somebody who can legitimately pin Rollins at a time where other superstars have failed. The crowds have been reacting very positively to Ambrose and he has walked the fine line between “cool” and “silly” with his promos lately, which is something Vince had a difficult time doing with Roman Reigns (perhaps he learned his lesson?). Still, as hot as Ambrose might be right now, Rollins is twice as hot as the heel champion. It’s absolutely NOT the right time to take the title off of him. I expect a great match that results in a ton of interference that puts over Ambrose as a solid main event player who gets screwed out of his opportunity.
WINNER: Seth Rollins
New Day vs. Best Team Ever vs. Los Matadores vs. Prime Time Players vs. Lucha Dragons vs. The Ascension (Elimination Chamber WWE tag team title match) – This is a recipe for disaster. With twelve people inside the match itself, the eliminations are either going to take place WAY too quickly or the ring will fill up WAY too quickly. Either way, I don’t see this being anything other than a clusterfuck with serious potential for injury and/or massive booing and crowd heat. Much like Rollins, the New Day has been on fire since turning heel and winning the titles. It would make zero sense to have them lose already, even to an extremely hot team like the Lucha Dragons. The timing isn’t right, but expect the Dragons to come out of the match looking like the new top contenders to the belts.
WINNERS: New Day
Sheamus vs. Ryback vs. R-Truth vs. King Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. ??? (Elimination Chamber Intercontinental title match) – This, realistically, should be a fantastic match. Most of these guys have been inside the chamber before and should be able to structure a very entertaining match within the confines of the chamber itself. Let’s take a quick look at each challenger here:
- R-Truth – There is no way he’s winning here. Hell…I don’t even know why he’s here to begin with, other than to be the sacrificial lamb. Truth doesn’t belong in the title picture at all. He needs to continue opening up live events with matches against Stardust and Zack Ryder.
- Ryback – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: he’s NOT over. Sure, people chant “Feed Me More”…but then there’s silence in between that. He’s an inherently unlikeable character, so I’m baffled as to why they continue to push him as a babyface. It’s not working. He NEEDS the IC title to get more over as a babyface, but I don’t think that’s happening here tonight.
- King Barrett – I don’t understand the love/hate relationship this guy has with WWE Creative. If he’s not winning Intercontinental titles or becoming King of the Ring, he’s losing non-title matches to EVERYBODY and getting pinned left, right, and center with his crown at ringside. I just don’t get it. The guy may not be a main-eventer, but he’s an upper midcard player with mic skills, in-ring ability, and personality to spare. Stop the start/stop pushing with him and let him run with SOMETHING. Of course having said that, he doesn’t need a sixth IC title reign…especially where he’s “King”.
- Sheamus – This is a push that WWE Creative has dropped BIG-TIME since his return. You’ve got a proven in-ring talent with personality, charisma, gimmick, and a killer new look…and what’s he be doing since he came back? He should have been thrown into the main event picture or close to it. Instead, he’s been feuding with Ziggler and not being the killer he needs to be. I don’t think he needs the IC title, but he needs a run with something. He needs to be put into a position to be the #2 heel behind Rollins because that’s what they’ve got with him. I don’t see him picking up the title here.
- Dolph Ziggler – After becoming a two-time World champion and, subsequently, being put on the shelf due to concussions…I totally get why Ziggler is a force with the secondary title picture. But the best all-around performer in the entire company needs a title to justify his losses. He’s one of the top babyfaces in the entire company and will deliver in the ring every single time, so it certainly makes business sense to give him the belt. I just don’t know if it’s time right now. I think it’s time to move into a new direction.
- This brings us to the final participant. With the recent injury to Rusev, as of this writing it’s still not certain if he’ll even participate in the match itself or not. Kevin Owens has reportedly replaced Rusev on all house-show bookings for the foreseeable future, so Rusev may legitimately be on the shelf for a bit. However, if it’s something he can work through and hide on television, then he’s my top pick to win the Intercontinental championship. The guy is a monster and needs to bring prestige to the belt like he did to the U.S. title, and he needs to be hot again now that his feud with Cena is over. But having said that, I’ve also read that if Rusev can’t wrestle then Bray Wyatt will take his place. If that’s the case, then I’ll go with Wyatt to win it all. I mean, it’s about time he won a title. They’ve protected him for a very long time and it would be extremely intriguing to see how “The New Face of Fear” could run with a title around his waist.
WINNER: Rusev or Bray Wyatt
On paper, this looks like a really entertaining event. I think I haven’t been this excited for a live event since WrestleMania, which is odd considering the last-second booking for it.
What do you think? Am I totally off on these picks?