Let’s put aside the Greek God of Wrestling’s usual complaints about there not being enough time between pay-per-view events. Surely, there wasn’t enough time to build some of the matches that will take place Sunday at WWE’s Elimination Chamber, which will take place just two weeks after the Royal Rumble.
However, Elimination Chamber, which features the Smackdown roster, is an intriguing event for several reasons. The first reason is the Phoenix crowd will be treated to three women’s matches, the first time Achilles Heel can recall that happening at a pay-per-view event. The second reason is the Elimination Chamber match.
The Elimination Chamber is a frightening contraption. There is a lot of metal, which means the ring itself can be used as a weapon. Furthermore, the competitors are locked in pods. The order in which the pods will open is unknown. This is an elimination-style match, so the order or release from the pods definitely matters.
The other element is an uncertainty regarding the outcome. John Cena is defending the WWE Championship against A.J. Styles, Dean Ambrose, Baron Corbin, The Miz and Bray Wyatt.
The chalk choice is Cena. Having just won his 16th world championship by defeating Styles at the Royal Rumble, Cena is looking forward to defending that title at WrestleMania. A two-week title reign doesn’t seem long enough.
Baron Corbin’s star is rising, but he’s not ready to be in a WrestleMania main event. What could happen, though, is Corbin could eliminate Ambrose, the Intercontinental champion, setting him on a path to challenge for – and eventually win – that title.
Could The Miz, with Maryse, rise up to once again be the WWE champion? Unlikely. Miz has rejuvenated his career during the past year, but it doesn’t seem like he’s a serious championship threat right now. It would be more likely that he would eliminate Ambrose, which would put him in the role I gave to Corbin in the previous paragraph. And it makes no sense for Ambrose to add the WWE Championship to his Intercontinental Championship.
Styles could regain the title he represented so well. Styles lived up to his “phenomenal” nickname with a series of tremendous matches while WWE champion. But it’s more likely that he get revenge on Cena by eliminating him or by costing him the match.
And that leaves Wyatt. Could Wyatt become WWE champion? It’s possible. In fact, the Greek God of Wrestling is going to go out on a limb and say that it’s likely to happen.
Think about it. Randy Orton’s win at the Royal Rumble makes a lot more sense if Wyatt is the champion. An Orton-Cena feud is a good one, but we’ve seen it before. An Orton-Wyatt title match at WrestleMania would be fresh. The dynamic between the two members of the Wyatt family battling for the title should be extremely interesting.
Earlier in the night, Orton faces Luke Harper, the exiled member of the Wyatt family. Achilles Heel is a big Harper fan. The big man should have a terrific match with Orton. And if Wyatt wins the Elimination Chamber match, what role would Harper play during the WrestleMania storyline?
The three women’s matches include a title match and two grudge matches. Naomi challenges Alexa Bliss for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Naomi has never held the title. The Greek God of Wrestling would normally downplay the possibility of a title change, but, with February being Black History month, Naomi winning the championship for the first time could be a “feel-good” ending. Natalya and Nikki Bella continue their extremely intense personal battle, and Becky Lynch seeks revenge against Mickie James.
Achilles Heel doesn’t see any purpose to the Smackdown Tag Team Championship turmoil match other than to build up American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable). Jimmy and Jey Uso seem like the only tag team with even a remote chance of winning the championship. A more likely scenario is that Jordan and Gable enter the match early, a bad position, yet survive all the way until the end, defeating team after team. The only other realistic possibility is that a surprise team, likely The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder), enters the match at the end and takes the titles. The Revival and American Alpha had a tremendous feud in NXT.
Dolph Ziggler battles Apollo Crews and Kalisto in a handicapped match that makes no sense unless Ziggler destroys them with chairs after losing or Crews turns heel. Mojo Rawley and Curt Hawkins are being thrown out for the kickoff match without barely any promotion, which probably means the fans will crap all over it.
Elimination Chamber doesn’t appear to have the potential to be an awesome card. But the intrigue of the main event, the Orton-Harper match and the uniqueness of having three women’s matches make Elimination Chamber worth checking out.
RICHARDS TURNS HEEL: For those who missed Impact Wrestling this week, Davey Richards turned on long-time tag team partner Eddie Edwards while Edwards was trying to regain the TNA World Championship from Bobby Lashley.
For those keeping track, that’s the sixth of the Greek God of Wrestling’s predictions for 2017 to come true – and we’re not even halfway through February. Sometimes I get tired of being right all the time.
SKATE ZONE DOUBLEHEADER: There will be a doubleheader today (Saturday, Feb. 11) at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees. Women’s Superstars Uncensored (WSU) celebrates its 10th anniversary at 4 p.m. Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) follows with “Eighteen: And Still Like Nothing Else” at 7:30 p.m.
At WSU 10, Mercedes Martinez, who will be inducted into the WSU Hall of Fame, will challenge Allie for the WSU Championship. WSU Spirit champion Su Yung will defend the title in a triple threat match against Veda Scott and Kiera Hogan. The Fella Twins have issued an open challenge for their WSU Tag Team Championship.
Martinez, who will have a busy day, will also team with Homicide to battle Greg Excellent and Crissy Rivera in an intergender tag team match at CZW Eighteen. The main event of CZW Eighteen features Joe Gacy defending the CZW World Championship against Shigehiro Irie. Another featured match pits Progress Atlas champion and rising star Matt Riddle, who trained at the famous Monster Factory in Paulsboro, N.J., against WXW Shotgun champion David Starr. Other matches include Joey Janela defending the CZW Wired Championship against Stockade, Shane Strickland against Jake Crist, and a “fans bring the weapons” match between Notorious Inc. and the team of Danny Havoc and Conor Claxton.
ROCK ‘N ROLL: The Rock ‘n Roll Express will join Kurt Angle as inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame on March 31. The Rock ‘n Roll Express, consisting of Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, was a consistently entertaining and innovative team throughout a long career. Although the Express only appeared briefly in WWE, Gibson and Morton were tag team champions for numerous promotions, including Smoky Mountain Wrestling, the United States Wrestling Association and the NWA. Most recently, Gibson and Morton reunited to battle Matt and Jeff Hardy in TNA’s Tag Team Apocalypto open invitational, in which the Hardys want to face the best tag teams from all over the world.
Despite their size, Morton and Gibson more than held their own against the bigger teams of the 1980s and ‘90s. In fact, the size disparity to their advantage, perhaps perfecting the “babyface in peril” act. The Rock ‘n Roll Express is a worthy addition to the WWE Hall of Fame.
NXT IS HOT (CHOCOLATE): In a cool gesture, NXT’s Tye Dillinger, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins brought hot chocolate out to the fans waiting in line Thursday prior to the NXT event at the Tower Theater. That trio certainly had the fans on their side later. Dillinger defeated Eric Young, but Dawkins and Ford lost to Sanity’s Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain.
In the main event, Shinsuke Nakamura, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa defeated new NXT champion Bobby Roode and NXT Tag Team champions The Authors of Pain. Kassius Ohno, the former Chris Hero, defeated Patrick Clark in the opener.
STYLE POINTS: The Greek God of Wrestling feels the need to point out what an amazing first year A.J. Styles had in WWE. He made his debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble, had terrific matches against virtually everyone he faced, and represented the company well as WWE champion. For those who doubted whether Styles could make the transition from being a star on the independence scene to WWE, those questions have been emphatically answered.
BIG SHOW VS. SHAQ? Shaquille O’Neal has been involved in WWE before, but it may be time for him to step into the ring for a match at WrestleMania. While featuring the slimmed-down Big Show training, WWE’s Web site mentions a Big Show-Shaq rivalry. Considering that WrestleMania is in Orlando, where O’Neal played for many years, Achilles Heel sees a Big Show-Shaq showdown at WrestleMania as a distinct possibility.
FAN FRIENDLY: Ring of Honor is presenting “The Experience,” a uniquely fan friendly event Sunday in Columbus, Ohio. Fans voted on the stipulations for matches between Ring of Honor World Television champion Marty Scurll and Lio Rush (2-out-of-3 falls) and a the team of Adam Cole and Hangman Page against Jay Lethal and Bobby Fish (falss count anywhere). During the event, fans will choose the opponents for Six-Man Tag Team champions Matt Taven, Vinny Marseglia and T.K. O’Ryan.
Other matches include The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) defending the Ring of Honor Tag Team Championship against War Machine (Ray Rowe and Hanson), Cody Rohodes against Dalton Castle, and the Briscoe Brothers (Jay and Mark) against the Tempura Boyz (Sho and Yo).
TRIOS GOES OVERSEAS: CHIKARA announced that it will take King of Trios, its biggest event of the year, to the United Kingdom. The three-night, six-man tag team tournament will be held Sept. 1-3 in Birmingham, England.