Like a lot of grappling fans, I’ve always been rather puzzled by the placement on the calendar of the Elimination Chamber PPV. The preceding Royal Rumble offers a single challenger the chance to headline Wrestlemania, and this is sold to us as a pretty big deal. As it should be.
Yet here we are, just three weeks later, with 10 guys having the chance to dethrone a world champion and also headline Wrestlemania – this time as the champ. Furthermore, they don’t even have to best 29 guys in this instance – nope, just 5. It certainly dilutes the prestige of the Royal Rumble, doesn’t it just?
Be that as it may, the elimination chamber concept is a rather appealing one, and hopefully WWE will serve us up a couple of big surprises before they set off on the final lap to Wrestlemania. My predictions, should you care, are as follows…
RAW Chamber: Sheamus v HHH v Cena v DiBiase v Kofi v Orton
It seems half the contenders in this match already have their Wrestlemania agenda sorted: Cena with Batista, and Orton and DiBiase with one another. The rapidly declining Kofi is clearly destined for another Money in the Bank spot and certainly won’t be leaving this one with the strap, so I’ll go with HHH to put over his buddy Sheamus, and then go on face the Ginger Ninja in a singles bout at Wrestlemania. But I hope I’m wrong. Lord, I hope I’m wrong.
Smackdown Chamber: Taker v Punk v Mysterio v Truth v Jericho v Morrison
This is a trickier one to foresee as it seems incredibly likely that HBK will crash the party at the expense of the “injured” Morrison. If that is the case, I hope WWE works it so that the Taker and HBK don’t actually get to meet in the match – further increasing HBK’s frustration.
With Taker and HBK both scheduled to be taking time off after Mania to heel their creaking bones, they’re not obvious choices for the win here. R-Truth doesn’t really stand a chance, although it is refreshing to see him in a main event. (Or maybe odd… Refreshing or odd? You pick). Punk’s character is so strong right now, there’s really no need to put the title on him. So, by process of elimination (pun very much intended, I thank you), Jericho or Mysterio should prove the victor here.
I’m gonna side with Jericho, because a Jericho v Edge match at Wrestlemania would be fantabulous. Or a triple threat pitting Jericho v Edge v Rey would be even more fantabulous. Especially if fantabulous was even a word.
Gail Kim v Maryse
No WWE women’s title match has improved the buy-rate of a PPV since the dawn of time. So, quite frankly (to quote Vinnie Mac), I’m a tad bemused as to why this match features on a card where the likes of The Miz, Edge, Christian, Batista, Swagger, Ryder and others don’t have a match.
Maryse is the obvious pick here solely on the basis that WWE lets her have mic time.
Drew Mcintyre v Kane
Kane’s only purpose now is to put over other talent. Not that I’m dissing the gesture – it’s a jolly nice service that he provides. Hopefully he’ll be willing to put me over in a impromptu street fight one day whilst some hot chicks look on.
Pick – Mcintyre
Just four matches? I’m afraid so, kiddo. I’m pretty sure they’ll add another match on the night – likely ShowMiz defending their tag titles – and whilst I’m all for increasing the number of bouts on the card, wouldn’t it make sense to announce all the matches BEFORE the PPV airs? Sure seems an obvious way to boost the buy-rates to me. WWE must have missed that class at business school.