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Elimination Chamber takes place in Phoenix, Arizona and will be hosted by the Smackdown brand. There’s a rumour flying that the actual chamber itself will be revamped. No idea what it will look like or what changes have been made to the structure itself.
I don’t even know if that rumour is legit or not.
The other talking point about this card is that it will host three women’s matches. That’s amazing. Hard to imagine that ever being possible. It’s not as if they’ve been added for the sake of beefing out the card. Far from it. They have been build up well and deserve a place on the show.
Anyway, let’s get to the predictions
Mojo Rawley vs. Curt Hawkins
Not got a lot to say about this one other than its there for Rawley to “HYPE” (see what I did there, kids?) up the crowd before the main show begins.
Winner: Mojo Rawley
Apollo Crews & Kalisto vs. Dolph Ziggler
I’ve got a feeling that Ziggler is going to get cheered here. Got nothing against Apollo or Kalisto. Both guys are immensely talented but they just aren’t over. Apollo Crews should have stayed in NXT. They obviously had no long-term plan for the guy for his main roster debut. I still believe it was the wrong decision to split up the Lucha Dragons. The other problem I have here is that the numbers disadvantage is going to give the villain unwanted sympathy. Isn’t the idea of a handicap match to put the face at odds with the disadvantage of his opponents? In this case, it just makes the faces look overpowering.
Maybe one of the babyfaces turns and joins him? I would have Lawler come out to seemingly join in on the fun of outnumbering Ziggler, only to low blow Crews and join Dolph as an advocate. Or maybe a heel Sin Cara? Who knows.
I’ll go with Crews and Kalisto as the safe pick. However, if they went the Ziggler route with somebody helping him that would be better.
Winners: Apollo Crews & Kalisto
Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James
I had some reservations about Mickie James joining the Smackdown brand. I thought that she would have been more suited towards the Raw brand since they only have four women going there and maybe could’ve have had a programme with someone like Dana Brooke or Emma(lina).
After a few weeks on the blue brand, I’m glad that I was wrong. She is ideal for Smackdown.
The whole reason for her return makes sense. She’s insulted by this Women’s Revolution that people have talked about. Her promos have been highlights. Simply put, she is perfect for Becky Lynch.
Huge admirer of Becky Lynch. She is easy to like as the woman that works hard, never gives up and unfortunately has people attack her all the time. I don’t see her winning against James, although, it wouldn’t surprise me if she did win. Expect this to go 10 to 15 minutes with Mickie James picking up the win.
Winner: Mickie James
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles
Tag Team Turmoil Match
American Alpha © vs. Breezango vs. The Usos vs. Heath Slather & Rhyno vs. The Ascension vs. The Vaudevillians
What’s this? Ascension AND Vaudevillians competing on a pay per view? It’s reasons like this why I approve of the draft. It allows underutilised talent to get a chance to shine (I say this whiles knowing that a Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar will take place at WrestleMania). It’s going to be some time before they are seen as worthy contenders to the titles. That plus whether creative can come up with something for them.
I want to say that I love American Alpha. I’ve been to three NXT show and they’ve always been on the receiving end of some hilarious chants (“Jordan, giz a wave”) but they’ve lost some of their shine since winning the gold from The Wyatt Family.
The tag team division on Smackdown needs a shot in the arm, somehow. They just threw all these teams into the ring for a brawling segment and expected the crowd to love it. The crowd didn’t care because WWE has done a poor job of making us care about this division. Hopefully the match is fast paced and exciting that can win over the crowd.
The Usos should have won a few months ago but momentum isn’t on their side. I can’t see anyone other than American Alpha winning here.
Winners and STILL Smackdown Tag Team Champions: American Alpha
Nikki Bella vs. Natalya
I like this feud. Yeah, a feud involving one of the Bella Twins is positive. This match has been built up quite well since November. I really do like how things have escalated from a match to determine the captain of the Smackdown Women’s Survivor Series team, to this bitter and personal feud. They’ve really gone out of their way to come up with new stuff to make it fresh and unique. The only negative I can give it is that it went from being real and raw to hokey after Natalya made a comment about that John Cena would properly end up with her if she wasn’t married (Hey, Tyson Kidd, you listening to this?). This feud has really allowed Natalya to shine as a true heel. She’s perfect in that role.
It makes sense for Nikki to pick up the victory. The big WrestleMania rumour is that Nikki will be involved in a tag match with that John Cena guy. It is also being said that Nikki will be retiring at that show, too. If that match doesn’t happen then I can see Natalya getting the win. I’ll go with Nikki in what should be a competitive match that gets around ten minutes.
Speaking about Bella retiring, I was there for Brie Bella’s final ever match. That match also marked Eva Marie’s WrestleMania debut. As one door closes, another opens. Never forget.
Winner: Nikki Bella
WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss © vs. Naomi
I really want to see Naomi’s entrance live. Perhaps that will come true in May when I attend the TV tapings in London. Also attending the live event in Newcastle but got no idea which brand will be there.
Naomi’s promo on Smackdown made me think that a title change could happen. Hear me out. She talked about wanting the win the title so she can enter WrestleMania, in her hometown of Orlando, as the Women’s Champion. Her entrance is cool like I mention before. Imagine her having some huge elaborate entrance at ‘Mania? Holy shit, that would kick some serious arse!
Bliss hasn’t even had the title for two months, so I would keep it on her longer. She will probably win a cheap manner in order to give Naomi another match at some point, perhaps at WrestleMania in a singles match or a multi-woman match. It’s also possible that this ends in a DQ win for Naomi in order to keep her as a viable contender. I’ll go with Bliss in a match that may have trouble keeping the crowd interested, but the match quality should be good enough.
Winner and STILL WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion: Alexa Bliss
Luke Harper vs. Randy Orton
This has got to be the most interesting match on the card, just because it can go in so many directions. The more obvious outcome is that Orton wins because he can’t lose heading into WrestleMania, but I would argue that if the main event goes as expected, then Orton could feasibly lose to Harper and be just fine, while also elevating Harper in the process. They did something similar in 2001 when Steve Austin won the Royal Rumble heading into WM17, but lost to HHH at No Way Out in between.
I would love to see Luke Harper gets a fair crack of the whip as a singles competitor. You could say that this is Harper’s biggest match in his career. Yes he’s a former Intercontinental Champion but that only lasted for a month. Crowds have reacted very favourably to him getting fed up with Bray and finally attacking him, so the potential for a babyface run is there. This could very well be the making of him. I don’t see him being booked worse than former Wyatt Family member Erick Rowan. It’ll be a nice surprise if he did win. I just don’t see WWE going down that route, though. Having Randy Orton lose two matches in a row doesn’t seem likely.
Winner: Randy Orton
WWE World Championship
John Cena © vs. AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Baron Corbin vs. The Miz
This match is very much the match that plants for the seeds for SmackDown’s contribution to WrestleMania. There’s a lot of talent involved in this one with different backstories and if booked right then we could very well be witnessing the best Elimination Chamber match of all time.
Who’s going to win? Let’s start with the process of elimination….
The Miz and Dean Ambrose are both good performers that have been top level guys before. Ambrose is the IC Champ while Miz had a lengthy run with the title. They’re there to add credibility and do some cool spots, but I don’t see either man having a big role. Maybe they’ll start off the match. Perhaps Miz will do a cheap attack on Cena after he gets eliminated to try to push that as an angle leading to the previously mentioned mix tag at WrestleMania.
Baron Corbin is a future main event guy and is going to be booked strong. He needs a good showing after a solid effort at the Royal Rumble. I think he’ll eliminate two guys, one of those guys being John Cena, after the aforementioned attack from Miz. It’s too early to put the title on him now. Mark him down as a future Money in the Bank winner.
That leaves us with three guys; John Cena, AJ Styles, and Bray Wyatt.
Cena is the transitional champion. Feels weird saying that, but it’s true. While I would love to see him drop the title to somebody in a one on one match to put the guy over clean, it’s not going to happen. I think Cena find himself in a situation where he takes two or three finishers in a row before getting pinned. He’s the storyline favourite in the match, so have the others work together to get rid of him. If memory serves me right he’s also the only guy in the match that has actually competed in an EC match before. That’s something that has happened in some EC matches in the past where the champ is taken out early. I think it would work well.
It seems unlikely that AJ Styles will win. I think he’s going to be in the role as one of the two guys that starts the match, he’ll fight until he’s in the final two and be the guy that puts over the winner. It also seems likely that he’ll turn face shortly after WrestleMania because the crowd likes him too much.
So that just leaves us with Bray Wyatt. Do you think it was an accident that Wyatt and Orton were the winners of the big Survivor Series elimination match? At the time it felt out of place, but then they had Orton win the Rumble and two weeks after that we could see Wyatt as the WWE Champion. It sounds like good long term booking to me. While it doesn’t scream out WrestleMania main event to me, I have faith in the Smackdown creative team to do what they need to do to make this a WrestleMania quality match.
Winner and NEW WWE World Champion: Bray Wyatt
Feel free to post your predictions in the comment section below, and I’ll be back again on Monday with my Random Thoughts on Elimination Chamber.