Friday, February 15, 2013

WWE Elimination Chamber Preview

This Sunday the WWE brings us the Elimination Chamber PPV. It is the final gear change before we go "Full Throttle" into Wrestlemania season. There's only been three weeks in between the Rumble and this PPV. That has definitely affected the build to the show. It also doesn't help when the WWE Champion isn't on one of the RAWs leading up to the show. But again, that's another story to talk about at another time.

Looking at the PPV card as a whole, it has the potential to be a good show. The wrestling should be good. The WWE usually does a good job with their Chamber matches, and with the people involved in this one I think it should be a good match. I kind of wish there were two matches like normal, but I get the idea of having a second Rock/Punk rematch. I like the idea of the Elimination Chamber being the last chance for a wrestler to sacrifice it all for a chance to fight for a Title at Wrestlemania.

With that brief intro out of the way, lets jump into the Preview!

Brodus Clay & Tensai vs The Rhodes Scholars

Well, the Rhodes Scholars break up lasted pretty long huh? A week after they decided to break up and go their own ways, the team is back together on the pre-show of a PPV. Some reunion. Once again, a simple case of the WWE not knowing what the hell they are doing with some of their wrestlers. It appeared that Sandow and Rhodes were bound to be jobbers for the stars anyways, so maybe it is a good thing they are back together, no matter how short term it may be. Brodus Clay and Tensai look like the new "it" team of the WWE. Remember when there was hope for Tensai to be a monster heel in the company? That seems like a long time ago. He could never escape the "ALBERT" chant from the fans. I'm going with Clay and Tensai to win here and start a push towards the tag team titles.

WINNERS: Brodus Clay and Tensai

Divas Championship: Kaitlyn (c) vs Tamina

The last time these two fought all hell broke loose during the "Showgirls Lumberjill" or whatever you want to call it match. Since then? These two haven't even been on RAW to have any sort of feud for the WWE audience to possibly care about. This match is the definition of filler. There isn't much to talk about. I'm going with Kaitlyn to retain and set up a possible feud with A.J. for Wrestlemania.

WINNER: Kaitlyn

United States Championship: Antonio Cesaro (c) vs Miz

From pre-show to actually on the PPV. It is a step up for these two! I don't know why this feud is still going on after Cesaro beat Miz clean at the Rumble. Cesaro continues to impress as United States Champ. He was good on commentary this past Monday. And him throwing Miz around like a rag doll was fun to watch. The only reason Cesaro should drop the U.S. Title is to give it to someone who could benefit from it. Miz would not be that guy. Miz's face turn continues to flounder right in front of us. Even a segment a couple weeks ago with Ric Flair could not do anything for him. Miz just doesn't connect well as a face. His jokes are about as good as John Cena's. Cesaro should move on after this match. To who? Well your guess is as good as mine. But Cesaro is retaining here.

WINNER: Antonio Cesaro

Smackdown Elimination Chamber: Randy Orton vs Jack Swagger vs Chris Jericho vs Mark Henry vs Kane vs Daniel Bryan

I like this match for a lot of reasons. First of all, the combination of wrestlers in the match are good. Bryan and Jericho will probably carry the wrestling portion of the match. Mark Henry and Kane will be in there for the big man spots. Henry especially should be able to hit some strong power moves in the Chamber. Jack Swagger and Randy Orton are no slouches either and can carry their own in the match. The second reason I like this match is because there really is no clear cut favorite as to who the winner is. I would say that 4 out of the 6 guys in this match have a reasonable shot of winning. Lets break down each wrestler's chance of winning.

Kane: The least likely to win from all the wrestlers involved. Kane should really be nowhere near the Title scene at this point in his career. He's good exactly where he is on the card as a mid-card act who can be in a Tag Team or could be used to put a younger talent over. Odds- 250:1

Daniel Bryan: I've been the biggest advocate for a Daniel Bryan main event push for as long as I can remember now. Bryan's a great wrestler and has evolved his personality so much over the last few months that he deserves a shot at the main event again. But Bryan is still part of Team Hell No with Kane, and they are still the Tag Team Champions. There is a break up coming for these guys and it will more than likely happen at Wrestlemania. I expect them to drop the Titles before Mania and then have a match there. So Bryan is not winning the Chamber. Odds- 50:1

Jack Swagger: So Jack Swagger is now a Tea Party member? That is where it seems like we are going with his character. It is definitely a bit more edgy than we are used to seeing from the WWE. Pairing Dutch Mantel with him was a bit weird. The reason Swagger has an outside chance here is because Mantel's, or Zeb Colter, promo almost was aimed at someone like Del Rio. Colter said that his country is becoming filled with people that don't look like him. That's pretty much calling out all the illegal immigrants that live in the country. While some people may be offended by it, I personally am not. Maybe it's because it takes a lot for me to be offended, but to me wrestling is just entertainment. But while a Swagger/Del Rio feud is possible, I don't think it will be for a World Title at Wrestlemania. Odds- 30:1

Randy Orton: The star of Randy Orton has fallen a lot lately. You could once say that Orton was the second biggest star in the WWE. But because of his own short comings backstage, Orton's star has fallen in recent months. You could make the case that Orton should be in the World Title Match at Mania, but none of the opponents mix well with him. If Orton stays face a match with Big Show just isn't that appealing at all. If Orton were to turn heel, then he faces a man in Alberto del Rio that he just had a feud with a few months ago. You don't want to have that happen so quickly. I still think Orton turns heel, but I see a match with Sheamus happening at Mania. Its a big match that doesn't have the Title involved. Odds- 30:1

Mark Henry: It seems like Mark Henry has been getting a strong push since his return. Of course, you would expect them to do that with Henry upon his return. When Henry was pushed as a monster in 2011, it was the best work of his career. I enjoyed every minute of his push up until he lost the World Title. Will the WWE push Henry strong again? It's possible. But does a Mark Henry/Alberto del Rio World Title Match really appeal to most people as a World Title Match at Wrestlemania? Plus, does the WWE really want to move Del Rio on from one big man right to the next? I don't think they will. Yes that means Henry will have to take a pinfall. But there are ways around it. Odds- 15:1

Chris Jericho: Jericho is my favorite to win this match for a couple of reasons. First of all, he has been over with the crowd since his comeback at the Royal Rumble. He has been getting great reactions from the live audience. Second of all, Jericho can put on a good match with anybody he steps into the ring with. And finally, Jericho works well with either of the two candidates he could be in the World Title Match with. And he also has no problems with putting people over. Jericho may only be around for the short term, and you know he probably agreed to put someone over at Wrestlemania. Whether it'd be against Alberto del Rio or Dolph Ziggler, Jericho would put on a solid program with either man. Survey Says- 10:1

So what happens here? Jericho and Bryan start. Swagger enters third. Kane fourth. Henry fifth, Orton sixth. No one is eliminated until all six men are in the Chamber. Everyone gangs up on Mark Henry and hits their finishers on him, eliminating Henry. A mis-communication between Bryan and Kane leads to Kane walking right into an RKO, eliminating him. Kane and Bryan argue and after a chokeslam is pinned by Swagger. Jericho eliminates Swagger with the Walls. After an exchange between Orton and Jericho, Jericho is finally able to hit the Codebreaker on Orton to pick up the win.

WINNER: Chris Jericho

World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto del Rio (c) vs Big Show

This feud has been going on for less than two months, but it seems like it has been going on forever. It also feels like the feud, at least match wise, is going in reverse. It just seems weird to from Last Man Standing Match, then another one, then a regular match to finish off their feud. Of course, it is just the way the WWE does their booking. They don't like to think ahead.

I was enjoying Alberto del Rio's face turn until he gave that terrible promo a couple weeks ago pandering to the audience why he has become a good guy and why the fans should cheer him. If a face turn is done right, a promo like that shouldn't need to be done. And I was actually enjoying Del Rio's face turn before that promo. But since the Royal Rumble, things have gone down hill for Del Rio. I didn't like the finish to the LMS Match at the Royal Rumble. I HATED the duct tape finish. I was waiting for Batista to come out and cut a promo tearing it to shreds on RAW. It just makes the face seem a bit cowardly when it comes down to it all.

When I look at this feud, I ask what has it done for me. The answer? Not a whole lot. It doesn't have anything memorable attached to it. Its done its job of establishing Del Rio as a face, and Big Show is a good heel to work off of. But it is a feud that just needs to end at this point. Similar to the Show/Sheamus feud, it has just gone on too long.

WINNER: Alberto del Rio

Despite the push Del Rio has been getting, I don't see him walking into Wrestlemania as World Champ. After the match, Big Show hits a KO Punch on Del Rio. Dolph Ziggler comes out to the ring after and cashes in his MITB Contract, winning the World Title. I thought about holding off the Ziggler cash in until at Wrestlemania. But then I couldn't think of anything else for Dolph Ziggler to do at Wrestlemania. There's no other ideal feud. A Ziggler/Jericho match at Mania at least has a backstory and would be a great 15-20 minute match to put on the card. It also would be another good rub for Ziggler to finally go over Jericho before he leaves again.

NEW World Champion: Dolph Ziggler

Sheamus, John Cena, Ryback (aka Team Super Faces) vs The Shield

Just like the Smackdown Elimination Chamber Match, I think this one is a bit unpredictable as well.

Lets look at the SUPER FACES first. John Cena is going to main event Wrestlemania. The WWE, even though he is always booked this way, would want Cena to look strong heading into Wrestlemania. There's no reason for it. Cena is already the strongest booked face in the company. Taking a loss, especially in a team match, isn't going to hurt him. Ryback has kind of been stuck in neutral for the last month or so. He was pushed faster than the WWE should have pushed him. They forced him into situations where he had to take a loss. If built right, Ryback could have had a bigger role headed into Wrestlemania. He can't afford a pinfall loss here. Sheamus was once looked at as the next big superstar in the WWE, but that star has faded. He lost the World Title earlier than expected. Like Ryback, Sheamus doesn't have a set program headed into Wrestlemania. But it isn't like any of these guys can't afford a loss.

Then there is The Shield. As much as I have enjoyed everything they've done, they need to do something else to branch out. You can only attack so many people without it getting a little bit repetitive. I liked their promo this past Monday on RAW. I also like the fact that they are pretty much making the Shield out to be not intimidated by anybody. You don't see that with heels that often. But similar to Ryback and Sheamus, The Shield doesn't really have anything set going into Wrestlemania. If I'm the WWE, I want The Shield in a big time match at Wrestlemania. For how over they have gotten with the audience, they deserve a match rather than another run in.

So it comes down to what result would benefit the WWE the most. If you ask me, a loss by The Shield would do more damage than a loss to the faces would. If The Shield loses, what do they do after? Just go back to beating up and jumping everyone again? People wouldn't take The Shield that seriously anymore if they lose to Super Cena and Friends. Cena doesn't need to take the pin in the match either. I would prefer this to be a No DQ Match or something. I don't want to see Ryback or Cena in a normal 6 man tag where they have to wrestle. But if I'm booking this, I have the Shield win here by pinning Sheamus. They would benefit more from the win than the faces.

WINNERS: The Shield

WWE Championship: The Rock (c) vs C.M. Punk

The three week build this rematch has had hasn't done this match any good. Of course, it doesn't help when the WWE Champion isn't there for one week of the build. The exchanges these two had leading up to the Royal Rumble were good. But the two weeks The Rock was on RAW, he barely talked about the match these two were going to have. Hell, this past Monday The Rock talked about being in a bar with a crack whore at 15 rather than his match with C.M. Punk at the Elimination Chamber. As was pointed out on the Creatively Endeavored Podcast this week, The Rock doesn't care about the build to his match. He just cares about the money he is making.

C.M. Punk continues to be the best thing about this program and the WWE in general. I honestly can't look at anything that C.M. Punk has done in the last year plus and criticize it. And of course, C.M. Punk might not have a main event program set at Wrestlemania. He's suppose to fight The Undertaker, but at this point we don't even know if Taker will wrestle. If he can't go, I have to think he gets added to the WWE Title Match at Wrestlemania. It doesn't have the allure that Rock/Cena might, but Punk deserves it after the year he has had.

I don't like the idea of C.M. Punk losing clean here. It wouldn't help him at all going into Wrestlemania. Why would fans think he could beat Taker at Mania if he lost to The Rock twice the last two PPVs. I'm really starting to think at this point that Taker isn't going to go at Mania. If that's the case, C.M. Punk has to be put in the WWE Title Match. So how do we get there? Enter John Cena. Sure Cena is the all American good guy. He wouldn't do anything bad. But he still has that lingering thought about losing to Rock at Mania last year. So I think Cena interferes here to help The Rock retain the WWE Title. Will it happen? Probably not. But if I'm booking the show I would do that. It gives Punk an out to be added to the WWE Title Match at Mania as well.

And the added No DQ/No Countout stipulation? That won't mean anything. Remember, Heyman said he would do anything to have the stipulation added. So Vince gets his revenge on Brock Lesnar by having HHH fight him at Wrestlemania.

WINNER: The Rock

I'll be doing a live review of Elimination Chamber here at my blog. Be sure to follow along.

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

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