Thursday, February 16, 2012

WWE Elimination Chamber Preview

Yes, that's right. There is a WWE PPV this Sunday. It is the most RUTHLESS structure in WWE. Two matches in one show too. This Sunday is the WWE Elimination Chamber PPV. If you ask me, it is one of the weakest Elimination Chamber PPV line-ups in a while. And that all has to do with the lack of star power in both Chamber matches, especially in the Smackdown one now that Randy Orton has been taken out of the match. And Orton's replacement is an absolute joke.

Even with the "debate" this past Monday on RAW, there are only two real threats to walk out of the RAW Chamber match as WWE Champion. Oh, and then there is the great conclusion to the John Cena/Kane saga when they go at it in an Ambulance Match. That whole drama took another interesting twist this past week on RAW. Then there is some Divas Match too.

And you know what my favorite part of this PPV is? Did you know that Sheamus, the Royal Rumble winner, is nowhere to be seen on this PPV. Not a singles match, not anything. I'm sure he will make his way onto the PPV somehow, but the fact that he doesn't even have a match on the show is disappointing. He's even in the Elimination Chamber promo and poster, yet not on the PPV! The WWE has done a pretty terrible job promoting Sheamus since he won the Rumble. You know what have been perfect for this PPV? A returning Christian coming back and saying that the only reason Sheamus won the Rumble was because he was injured and not cleared to compete. Then these two could have had a match at the PPV with Sheamus going over, and continuing to look strong heading into the PPV. But nope. Instead Sheamus will appear unadvertised in a promo or match. It is just more proof that the Rumble this year was an afterthought. Chris Jericho should have won. It would have strengthened his claim of him being the "Best in the World." But Triple H has to play the Internet, so we got Sheamus instead. I was willing to give it a chance, but Sheamus as a Rumble winner has flopped.

Now that I got my Sheamus-Rumble rant out of the way, I guess it is time to Preview the PPV. If you are still reading this, I'm glad my negative intro didn't turn you away from reading. You guys must really like my writing! I'm guessing Sheamus ends up on the PPV, and maybe a surprise appearance by Shaq. I don't think we get any Triple H/Undertaker stuff. That stuff will be saved for RAW. Another match is always added to the show, so I don't see any reason it won't again.

Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix (c) vs Tamina Snuka

I put Snuka on because the WWE has been using it. And of course, that means that more people will care about this match now. If you read my RAW Reviews, you know I don't care much for Divas action. But I might now that Wrestlemania is coming around. It is quite obvious where all of this is leading too. Beth says that the talent level in the Divas division isn't on par with her, and that it is boring. Of course, that means Kharma is returning soon. She appeared at the Royal Rumble, and a match with Beth Phoenix at Wrestlemania seems likely. Tamina is just a place holder. Tamina goes for the Superfly Splash and misses, allowing Beth to pick her up and hit the GlamSlam for the win. Beth moves on to Kharma in the coming weeks, and the Divas Division might finally get interesting.

WINNER: Beth Phoenix

Smackdown Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship: Great Khali vs Big Show vs Santino vs Daniel Bryan (c) vs Wade Barrett vs Cody Rhodes

Who would have thought that taking Randy Orton out of this match would have made it drastically worse. I think Orton has been better the last few months. When he's not completely in the Title picture he is better. Now did I want him to be in the World Title Match at Wrestlemania? Absolutely not. But having Orton in this match would have at least added another legitimate threat to win the match. This may be the least star-studded Elimination Chamber Match of all time. There's some good young talent in Barrett and Rhodes, but they aren't at the star level yet. This will be tough to watch at times. Lets look at each participant and breakdown their chances of winning.

Great Khali: If Wrestlemania was in India, then I would say the Great Khali would have an excellent shot at winning. Could you smell the buys for Khali/Mahal at Mania. I'm honestly surprised the WWE brought Khali back. Sure he gets a pop when he comes out, but he's so immobile in the ring that his matches are not entertaining. Nothing would be gained from Khali winning. He is more of a special attraction than a legitimate threat to win.

Big Show: Show has had his problems with Daniel Bryan, and he has been showing signs of frustration the last few weeks. I think slowly the WWE is trying to turn Big Show back heel even though he is a top face on the Smackdown brand. But Sheamus can easily take over Show's spot on Smackdown. Show is rumored to be in a match at Wrestlemania with NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal. Show has been somewhat tolerable in his time in the main event scene. While he isn't the best in ring worker, his promos aren't bad and I'm sure he can cut a good one in a potential match with Shaq.

Santino: Yes, this is Randy Orton's replacement in the Chamber. I guess they wanted a face to replace Orton to balance things out, but there was no one better??? Brodus Clay? Justin Gabriel? Hell, I would have taken Goldust to build to a potential match with Cody at Wrestlemania. At least he could work better than Santino. If Santino wins the Elimination Chamber, I will write a 5,000 word Santino Tribute Column next week.

Cody Rhodes: I think I have said it a thousand times, but Cody has a bright future in the WWE. Someday, his time will come as WWE or World Champion. But he's still not quite there yet. Of course, it doesn't help that he has no actual program on Smackdown. That's a major problem with Smackdown right now. No one has any direction. I don't know what Cody will do at Mania. A potential match with Goldust, his brother, was talked about. But I don't think Vince liked that idea. Cody deserves to be on the show. Hopefully Cody puts on a good showing in this match to help bolster his resume.

Wade Barrett: If there is one potential "surprise" winner in this match, it could be Wade Barrett. Barrett and Sheamus had a bit of a mini-feud heading into the Rumble, but it never amounted to anything. Now yes, Daniel Bryan has been tremendous as World Champ, but you could still include him in the match if he loses. Barrett is another rising star in the WWE, and I think his time is coming sooner than Cody's. And there is backstory with Bryan/Barrett from their brief Nexus run-ins. I doubt it happens, but Barrett winning might not be as far-fetched as one would think.

Daniel Bryan: Bryan has been World Champion now for about two months, and I think it has been very fun to watch. I talked about holding off on a full heel turn until after Wrestlemania, but I'm glad the WWE has gone ahead with it the way they have. Bryan's slow turn has been great, and I can't believe he has gone from nothing to a World Title Match at Wrestlemania in less than a year. Bryan's promos have been improving and will only get better. If it is actually Bryan/Sheamus at Mania, it will be weird know that that same match was held off a Mania last year and was a pre-show match. It is disappointing the live crowds aren't as into Bryan's run as most Internet fans are. Most crowds just sit on their hands when he comes out. But Bryan's work has been great and I really hope the WWE doesn't pull the plug on him anytime soon.

So how does this all play out? Cody and Santino start. Bryan is in third, Great Khali fourth. Wade Barrett comes in 5th. Barrett picks Khali up and eliminates him with the Wasteland. Show comes in last. Bryan gets Santino to tap to the LaBell lock. Show catches Cody with the KO Punch and eliminates him. Barrett has Bryan up for Wasteland but Show catches him with the KO Punch and eliminates Barrett. Show has Bryan lined up for the KO Punch, but Bryan moves and Show punches the Chamber glass instead. Bryan locks in a submission hold focusing on Show's hand and he taps. Bryan walks out still World Champ.

WINNER: Daniel Bryan

Ambulance Match: John Cena vs Kane

A big part of me is happy to finally see this saga presumably come to an end. But there is also a part of me that is a little sad to see all of this come to an end. Some of these segments have been so bad that they are fun to watch. How could we ever forget Kane trying to get the Chicago crowd to chant "Cena Sucks" and fail? Or how about Zack Ryder vs The Flat Tire? And of course this week we had the evolution of the Cena/Ryder/Eve Love Triangle. And what about Eve's top notch acting skills? I was really hoping this would all lead to Eve being pregnant and Maury appearing to reveal who the father is of the baby. Now that's great TV.

When this program first started, I was actually looking forward to it. It gave Cena something fresh to do before he gets into full Wrestlemania mode. Kane and Cena had never feuded before so it was actually something new for him. But once Kane started actually talking, the feud got less appealing and way too complicated. Kane keeps trying to get Cena to embrace hate, but Cena continues to rise above it. Why can't Kane just give up? All of this is a big tease to a potential John Cena heel turn. His actions this week teased that even more when he kissed Eve. I'm of the belief that Cena will never fully turn heel. He means to much money to the WWE. Cena is almost a heel as is. He doesn't care what the fans that boo him think and he's not out to change their minds. Cena will get booed when he faces The Rock, so it is almost to the point where he is a heel without officially turning anyways.

The poor pawn in all of this has been Zack Ryder. Ryder has taken a beating from Kane in recent weeks. He's been chokeslammed onto pallets, tombstoned with a bad back, and this week he was thrown off the stage in his wheelchair. Oh, and he saw his crush Eve kiss his best friend John Cena. Bros before hoes Cena! I doubt Ryder appears on this show, but Eve may play a part in the match. If the program were to continue, you could see Eve siding with Kane. But I expect this to end for the time being.

I'm pretty sure the match ends once someone gets thrown in the ambulance. I don't think you have to drive the ambulance anywhere. I expect the match to be more of a brawl than a wrestling match. Lots of weapons will be used. Kane might chokeslam Cena through a table. Maybe Kane will try to electrocute Cena's testicles too. The match ends when Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment on Kane off the top of the ambulance and through a table. Cena throws Kane in the ambulance and drives to the parking lot, then drives a semi into the ambulance as Cena finally embraces the hate. Cena wins.

WINNER: John Cena

RAW Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston vs Chris Jericho vs Dolph Ziggler vs C.M. Punk (c) vs The Miz vs R-Truth

Man, these two matches must be the two least star-studded Chamber matches ever. The build to this Chamber match has made the outcome pretty obvious. There are only two competitors who have an actual shot of winning this match, and it all depends on how the WWE wants the build to Wrestlemania go. The debate segment on RAW this Monday really did nothing for me. And the fact that the build for this match didn't close the show isn't helping things. It seems like WWE Creative has put in a lack luster effort into building up to this match. Everything is invested in Cena/Kane and the WWE CHAMPIONSHIP is actually playing second fiddle to that. Again, lets look at each competitor's individual chances of winning.

Kofi Kingston: There was a time a few years ago where it looked like Kofi Kingston was on the verge of a main event push. He took out Randy Orton at Madison Square Garden and received a huge ovation. Then the push was abruptly pulled away from him. Kofi seems to have settled nicely where he is as an upper mid-carder who is over with the crowd and can be thrown in a multi-man main event and not seem to out of place. But I don't know if I can ever see Kofi being WWE or World Champion. I think that time has come and gone.

R-Truth: Spiders! I hate them spiders! R-Truth is trying to get over as a face, and while he is over the top goofy, I just don't see it getting over in the long run. I think the crowd wants to boo him but they can't because the WWE is trying to push him as a face. While breaking up Miz and R-Truth was necessary due to Truth's suspension, it was just done the wrong way. Truth is never going to main event a PPV in the mear future, especially Wrestlemania. He's a mid-carder for life.

Miz: I don't know if there has ever been such a steep drop off in one year. Miz has gone from being WWE Champion and main eventing Wrestlemania to being an afterthought and not having a set program heading into Mania. Online reports cite Miz not being as motivated as he was one year ago, and that many people don't like him backstage. Miz's character has become stale and bland, and is in need of a major shake-up. Miz is the type of character that could use some time off TV to become refreshing once he returns. A move to Smackdown might help, as well as a possible face turn. But it might be too little too late for him.

Dolph Ziggler: So whose Cherios did Dolph Ziggler piss in? Ziggler seemed on the cusp of a main event push. But then in the build to his match with C.M. Punk at the Royal Rumble, it was clear Ziggler played second fiddle to the Punk/Laurinaitis storyline. Ziggler has since taken consecutive losses on TV. He was pinned in the six man scramble match, and then lost to R-Truth this past Monday on RAW. Dolph is one of the better in ring workers in the WWE, and I don't know what they are doing with him. I thought Ziggler might wrestle Mick Foley at Wrestlemania but who knows if that will happen. Ziggler should still be a WWE or World Champion by the summer, if it isn't screwed up. But he's not winning here.

Chris Jericho: We already know that Jericho will enter the Chamber last, giving him the 'advantage." Jericho's return to the WWE has kind of fallen a bit flat in recent weeks. His whole being the "Best in the World" schtick would work so much better had he actually one the Royal Rumble. It would have given it more creedence. Jericho has instead gone on saying that everyone in the Chamber match has ripped him off. Jericho having a WWE Title run all depends on two things: How the WWE wants thebuild to Wrestlemania go and how long Jericho will stick around with the WWE. Jericho can make any program he is in entertaining and one with Punk should be outstanding.

C.M. Punk: It is amazing how much C.M. Punk has gotten over as a face in the WWE. He's apparently neck and neck with Cena in merchandise sales. Punk is one of the few men who gets continuous pops whenever he come out. It is also refreshing to see C.M. Punk hold the WWE Title for three months. Not hot shotting the Title does wonders for it. Punk's character has yet to get stale, and I'm sure a program with Chris Jericho will actually help improve his charcter a little bit. Looking back, it is great to see that C.M. Punk re-signed with the WWE in the summer. Punk has gone from mid-carder to top star and it has been a grat ride along the way.

I think I've said this about five times now, but this match result depends on how the WWE wants to book Mania. Do they want Punk chasing or do they want him to continue to hold the Title? Lets say Kofi and Dolph start and give us a good five minutes of wrestling. Miz is in third, C.M. Punk fourth. Punk eliminates Miz with the GTS. R-Truth is in fifth. Jericho is in last. Jericho eliminates Truth with the Code Breaker. Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise on Ziggler, who walks right into a Code Breaker and is eliminated. Jericho gets Kofi to tap to the Walls. Punk and Jericho then give us a good ten minute preview of their match at Wrestlemania. Jericho goes for a Lionsault off the ropes, but Punk catches him and hits the GTS for the win. I think if Jericho is leaving in the summer again, the WWE won't put the Title on him at all.


There you have it. I will be doing a live Review of the show. So make sure to tune in here Sunday.

I am also starting to work on my NFL Off-Season Previews. Look for those in the coming weeks.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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