May 28, 2015
Sunday’s card from the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas was supposed to be an untelevised live WWE event before two weeks ago, but Vince McMahon made the decision to make the most out of his WWE Network’s free month offer for new subscribers and bring back an old pay-per-view concept in Elimination Chamber. February 2014 was the last time this event was a pay-per-view, but it’s being brought back and is hopeful to land a few more thousand subscriptions when it’s all over.
The timing couldn’t have been better, either. With Daniel Bryan surrendering the Intercontinental Championship due to ongoing injury concerns, this is the perfect opportunity to crown a new Intercontinental Champion while picking from a field of six superstars. The same goes for the Tag Team Championship Chamber match when the current champions will defend against six different tag teams, which is a great way to try to begin the resurrection of the tag team division. With Kevin Owens debuting on the main roster in a marquee match against John Cena, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins in the main event, and Bryan returning on the Kickoff Show as a guest on the returning Miz TV, this is looking to be one of the best events in recent memory.
Here’s how I see everything going down at Elimination Chamber:
The New Day (c) vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd vs. Prime Time Players vs. Lucha Dragons vs. Los Matadores vs. The Ascension
All these tag teams have been on television the last two weeks, and it seems like each one has hit a signature move on someone else in order to build the intrigue for this match. Four of these teams have been dug up from the grave while the champions and former champions, Cesaro and Kidd, seem to be the only ones who have any lasting momentum heading into Sunday night. Any other team that may win this match would be an absolute disaster, so I figure we’ll see a lot of the high spots, especially from the Lucha Dragons, to make this match somewhat competitive for each team. However, I see no reason to take the titles off of The New Day at this point, and, of course, there will be some shenanigans with the three members of the team to retain their titles.
Your winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day.
Neville vs. Bo Dallas
This match probably has the least build of them all, but I still expect it to be a good contest. While Neville should be wrestling in the Intercontinental Championship Chamber match, I still think he’ll need to “pay his dues” and this is probably WWE’s way of having him do it. Facing a returning Bo Dallas, who has attacked Neville’s knee the last couple weeks, will be a good test for him. Perhaps he does have a legitimate knee injury and WWE is keeping him safe by not putting him in the Chamber match for fear of possibly injuring it further in that structure, but it’s hard for me to be excited about this match. There’s virtually no reason to invest in this feud now, but both superstars are entertaining in their own ways, so I expect this to be good nonetheless. I just don’t see Neville losing to Bo.
Your winner: Neville
Nikki Bella (c) vs. Paige vs. Naomi
If we look at this match and use Pro Wrestling 101 to make a prediction, we would have to assume Paige wins this match and the Divas championship since she just returned as a fan favorite after being away for a month. That, of course, was thanks to a storyline beating by Naomi, who has shown some tremendous character growth the last few weeks and by adding Tamina Snuka to basically be her bodyguard, she’s an act worth watching on television each week. Nikki Bella has virtually no momentum at all going into this match and it’s gotten to the point where most of the audience [well, okay, me especially] is just waiting for her to lose the title. She’s not interesting and seeing the NXT divas week after week makes me yearn for the day they get the call to run the Divas division on the main roster. I’m not sure Paige will win the title because now that Nikki’s apparently a babyface, another babyface with the title will not seem any different, even if it is Paige wearing the belt. I think Naomi wins and gets a run with the title as a heel, and who knows; maybe she’ll make the most out of it like her counterparts in the tag team division have done after the entire wrestling audience wrote them off.
Your winner and NEW Divas Champion: Naomi
John Cena (c-US) vs. Kevin Owens (c-NXT)
The NXT Champion has made a huge statement the past two weeks, leaving John Cena laying in the middle of the ring while he had his hand with the NXT Championship held high. This match will be a non-title affair, meaning we could conceivably see Owens defeat Cena in some fashion, although I highly doubt that to be the case. However, given Cena’s opponents the last few months during his run as United States Champion, Owens may have the most to gain out of defeating him. Would that happen at a second-rate show that was thrown together two weeks beforehand? Maybe. I doubt it, but I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised at Owens coming out on top here, especially due to the fact he was eventually going to feud with Cena later this summer before the NXT special from last week changed plans and WWE decided to give Owens a bit of a push. Now, he’s in the most important match of his career Sunday night, and his career could be made by pinning Cena here.
However, I don’t think that’s going to happen, and a more likely outcome would be a DQ win for Cena. I just don’t think Owens will be able to overcome SuperCena, even though it’s a non-title match. I hope I’m wrong.
Your winner: John Cena
Sheamus vs. Ryback vs. Rusev vs. King Barrett vs. R-Truth vs. Dolph Ziggler
I still for the life of me cannot understand why R-Truth is in this match and Neville isn’t. I thought maybe Neville’s knee injury was legitimate, but with him wrestling on this show, I still see no reason why they couldn’t add him to this match. R-Truth will never be a legitimate contender again at this point and having him in the match only confirms who won’t win the Intercontinental Championship.
With each person in this match being involved in other angles, save for King Barrett, I don’t think it’s impossible to see the Brit once again take the gold. Barrett has been on a hell of a losing streak lately, despite his King of the Ring crown, and that’s nothing new. Sheamus and Ziggler seem to be winding down their feud, as Rusev* has his sights set on the one Lana now adores, so I think he and Ziggler cancel each other out. With Bray Wyatt not being on the card at the moment and Ryback being involved in the match, we’ll see Wyatt show up in the match and cost Ryback somehow. That really only leaves Barrett or Sheamus as your new Intercontinental Champion, which isn’t a bad thing. Since Barrett has his King gimmick for now, Sheamus needs something to spice up his heel run, and this might be the best choice out of the six participants.
This one has a lot of subplots to it which I think will make for an exciting match, but I ultimately believe Sheamus is walking out of the Chamber with the gold.
* Rusev, who was injured at Tuesday's SmackDown taping, may not be able to compete Sunday night. If that's the case, Wyatt is expected to replace him in he match.
Your winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Sheamus
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
To what do we owe this pleasure of seeing Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose in a main event on a pay-per-view in 2015? I think this is really the first main event we’ve seen for a big event that includes two superstars that have been built brilliantly by WWE through their system development in NXT despite having a long and good career before joining the company. I’m not sure either wrestler would be in this position had they not started at NXT upon joining WWE. They’ve both done a tremendous job of changing not only their characters but the way they interact with the crowd. Rollins is a true heel. Ambrose is that babyface that sometimes doesn’t know is a babyface just because of how wild he can be. Former Shield partners colliding for the world championship is also a nice subplot that WWE has certainly been teasing the last few weeks, especially with the triple powerbomb spot on Randy Orton at Payback. The two will undoubtedly put on a great match, as they’re so used to each other, so I think we may be in for a classic.
While I enjoy a feud that goes back and forth with title changes [i.e. Cena/Edge, Flair/Rhodes, Lesnar/Angle], I’m not sure we’ll be seeing that here. Ambrose winning the championship would absolutely do wonders for the WWE Network subscriber count, for sure, but I would automatically assume The Authority will get involved and Rollins will somehow remain champion if that does happen. Though, I still don’t think it’s time for Rollins to lose the title, even if it means a few people won’t keep their Network subscription.
Your winner and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Rollins
This card is on par with WrestleMania when it comes to how much I’m looking forward to it. A bunch of good matches and a great main event, a guaranteed new Intercontinental Champion, and what could be the coming out party for Kevin Owens makes this show a must-watch Sunday night. With Randy Orton not being heard from since Payback, will he get involved somehow? Will Roman Reigns make an appearance? These are questions we still don’t know the answers to. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Reigns wrestle Kane one-on-one [yes, I know, again] but I really hope that doesn’t happen. We’ve seen the same match countless times before, and we don’t need to see it Sunday night. Maybe Orton and Kane? Blech.
I’ll have a review of Elimination Chamber Monday morning, along with your SmackDown rundown tomorrow.