Who would have guessed one month after the Royal Rumble the biggest story in WWE would be the sudden, abrupt departure of CM Punk? Worse yet for the company, this story is not scripted by Hollywood tv writers. This story is all too real, and could be a sign of things to come as more superstars debate whether to stay with WWE when their contract expires. Punk’s “sabbatical,” as WWE Chairman Vince McMahon characterized it during a conference call this week, has created an opportunity for a new star or stars to emerge. This is the first big chance for those future stars to make an impact at the peniultimate PPV of this WrestleMania season. Elimination Chamber may lack in its undercard, but its double main event has much potential. Before we look forward, let’s take a look back at our Royal Rumble picks last month…
4 for 5 (Quite the bounce back!)
Kickoff- Tag Team Match:
The Brotherhood (Cody Rhodes & Goldust) vs. RybAxel (Ryback & Curtis Axel)
An unfortunate demotion for the former Tag Team Champions as they have a meaningless match with a throw together tag team in RybAxel. The former Champions need a win to get back on track. Hopefully, Cody & Goldust get the win here because there’s no reason for Ryback & Axel to go over here. The only other outcome would be the Rhodes brothers splitting leading to a match at WrestleMania XXX, which would be a show-stealer.
My Pick- The Brotherhood wins.
Darren Young vs. Titus O’Neil
Since there isn’t a divas match on the card, here is your designated bathroom break.
My Pick- Darren Young wins.
Batista vs. Alberto Del Rio
There’s only one outcome here. Batista destroys Del Rio. Batista needs momentum heading into the main event of WrestleMania XXX, especially since he’s being booed by half the audience.
My Pick- Batista wins.
Tag Team Championship:
The Usos vs. New Age Outlaws (c)
If you told anyone 10 years ago the Outlaws would be Tag Champs in 2014, you would have been laughed at and received many puzzled looks. Of course, you would also be right. While I enjoy the nostalgia of the Outlaws, there’s no reason they should be Tag Team Champions. It’s difficult to believe the Outlaws are the best team in WWE. My guess is they will be transistional Champions to The Usos (something I predicted a month ago). Anything beyond a one month reign for the New Age Outlaws is too much. I predict new Tag Champs here, with a rematch at WrestleMania XXX.
My Pick- The Usos win.
Big E (c) vs. Jack Swagger
In case you haven’t figured out, WWE wants you to forget he was once Big E Langston. He’s now just Big E. And Big E needs someone to do the job on his road to WrestleMania XXX. Sorry Jack, but that’s where you come in.
My Pick- Big E wins.
Six-Man Tag Team Match:
Wyatt Family vs. The Shield
This is why you’re ordering this PPV. A dream match that for a while looked like it would never happen is ready to explode at Elimination Chamber. The two most dominant factions in recent memory are set to square off in a battle of young stars ready to grab the brass ring. The standouts of this match are Bray Wyatt of the Wyatt Family and Roman Reigns of The Shield. The Bray Wyatt character has quickly become one of the more entertaining since he debuted with the Wyatt Family. His over-the-top mannerisms and crazed in-ring style have put him on an apparent collision course with WWE’s top star John Cena. That match is rumored to occur at WrestleMania XXX, so expect Bray Wyatt to shine once again as he builds to what will be the most important match of his career with Cena. Bray put on an impressive show with Daniel Bryan last month at the Rumble, and he could bring out the best in Cena. But that requires the Wyatt Family to win this match.
Why? Simple. Roman Reigns is ready to fly solo. After an impressive showing in the Royal Rumble match, including a setting a new record for most eliminations in a single Rumble match, Reigns is primed for a big babyface push. The finish here is simple, but powerful. Roman Reigns inadvertently spears Dean Ambrose. Bray goes for the cover, but Ambrose kicks out. A melee ensues between the two teams with Bray Wyatt laying out Seth Rollins with his Sister Abigail finish, hopefully off a springboard attempt by Rollins. As the ring clears, Ambrose, Reigns & Bray Wyatt remain. Ambrose kicks Reigns in the gut and plants him into the mat with his Headlock Driver finish and Bray Wyatt gets the pin. Post-match, Ambrose yells at Reigns that no one is bigger than The Shield, and as he turns to leave, Reigns recovers and hits him with a spear. That should get people talking heading into the WWE Network launch the next night. (You didn’t really think I’d overlook that did you?)
My Pick- Wyatt Family wins.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship- Elimination Chamber:
Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Randy Orton (c) vs. John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Christian
There are a couple different ways this match could unfold. I expect Cesaro to be the long man in the Chamber, possibly with Daniel Bryan as #1 & #2 to start the match. Cena is likely going to eliminated by the Wyatt Family to set up the aforementioned WrestleMania XXX match. Christian & Cesaro are newcomers to the Chamber, while Orton will compete in the structure for the 6th time. Orton has yet to win a Chamber match, and it seems this match is designed to give him his first Chamber win. However, Daniel Bryan’s overwhelming popularity, combined with the extremely negative response the Royal Rumble match received for not having Bryan could cause WWE to call an audible and have Bryan win the Chamber. It cannot be overstated how much of an effect the WWE Network launch has on this PPV. WWE needs a big hook to gain subscribers to the Network the next night. Having Bryan win the Chamber match would be one way to do it. Another way would be a massive number of legend/Hall of Fame returns at the Raw in Green Bay, WI. Since the latter is more likely to happen, I’m resigned to picking Orton to win the Chamber match.
My Pick- Randy Orton wins.
I expressed my excitement for the WWE Network launch last month. Now with an idea of the programming on the Network, I am even more excited. Every PPV in WWE, WCW, & ECW history including some controversial WWF Attitude era events plus NXT has me hooked and ready to subscribe on Monday. This Monday’s Raw could be one of the most impressive shows in the last 5 years, with the confirmed return of Hulk Hogan to WWE, Elimination Chamber fallout, and various returns, it will be can’t miss! WWE needs buzz like this because it is sorely lacking from the 30th WrestleMania. I don’t think we will get a sudden change to the WWE World Title match with Orton & Batista. But a possible Shield Triple Threat match and Cena vs. Bray Wyatt are both intriguing possibilities. As wrestling fans, WrestleMania is our Super Bowl. As Jim Ross said, “It don’t get any bigger than this!” WWE needs to bring it with this WrestleMania and I believe they will. But it’s time for them to reveal their hand. We need more than just Orton vs. Batista to sell this. Starting Feb. 24th it’s put up or shut up time for WWE.
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