Sunday brings us WWE’s latest Raw-exclusive pay-per-view, Elimination Chamber. This event is supposed to be one of the more important shows on the road to WrestleMania. This year’s show is set to determine who will be the No. 1 challenger for Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship, who will be the Raw Women’s Champion heading into WrestleMania, and whether or not Nia Jax will end Asuka’s record-breaking undefeated streak. We’ll also be treated to Ronda Rousey’s official WWE contract signing. Those are the only matches and attractions confirmed for the show at this point, though more will possibly be added as the day of the event approaches.
Unfortunately, everything on this list seems very predictable. Unless WWE ups its creative game in the next few days, Elimination Chamber could end up being one of the most pointless shows of the year.
The Professor’s WWE Elimination Chamber Preview and Predictions
Someone named McMahon or Helmsley (or both) will interrupt Ronda Rousey’s contract signing– Ronda Rousey signing with WWE is a major deal for both parties. WWE is getting one of the most famous female combat athletes in the world, and Rousey is getting a chance to display her talents in an environment somewhat safer than the Octagon. The addition of Rousey to the Raw roster reminds me a lot of Mike Tyson’s affiliation with WWE during the Attitude Era. Neither Rousey nor Tyson were at their peak in the boxing or MMA ring, but both still had enough name recognition to be huge assets to WWE. On the surface, Rousey’s signing looks more like a permanent thing than Tyson’s deal. Time will tell. Possibly more interesting is how the contract signing will go off the rails. (Admit it, when is the last time someone came down to the ring, signed the contract, and left without incident?) The safe bet is that Rousey ends up in some sort of verbal or physical confrontation with Stephanie McMahon. That means that McMahon’s husband, HHH will become involved. The big question is which male member of the WWE roster will step to Rousey’s side for the nearly-inevitable mixed tag match at WrestleMania. Ideally, WWE would love to have the Rock partner with Ronda, but chances are that’s not going to happen. That leaves a limited number of possibilities. Kurt Angle might be a good choice, since he’s had storyline issues with Stephanie in the past. I’m hoping that WWE can avoid the urge to add Shane McMahon to this bout, since he’s already embroiled in a conflict with Daniel Bryan on SmackDown. If I were booking it, I’d have Braun Strowman come down to the ring after Hunter shows up to defend his wife. Strowman and HHH have some history, engaging in a stare-off at the end of Survivor Series a few months back. Since Strowman probably won’t be involved in a marquee match at WresteMania (more on that later), why not have him get the rub of appearing with some of the biggest names on the roster?
Asuka will stay undefeated – It feels like WWE got itself into a no-win situation with the Asuka/Nia Jax match and stipulation. First of all, the angle is confusing. As of Monday night, Asuka hadn’t indicated which women’s champion she wanted to face at WrestleMania. This makes some sense, since the Raw titleholder won’t be determined until after Elimination Chamber. However, the stipulation that Jax will be added to the title match if she beats Asuka is confusing. If Asuka, already guaranteed a title match in New Orleans, decides to face the SmackDown champion, would Jax be added to that match, even though she’s on the Raw roster? Would Jax be in any title match involving the Raw Women’s Championship, whether or not Asuka was in it? The direction here needs to be clearer. The only way I can see WWE getting out of this is to have Jax lose to Asuka, either by disqualification or count-out, or to have a no-contest finish. Then, if Asuka chooses the Raw champion, the match will be contested as a triple threat bout. If Jax loses clean to Asuka, she loses most of her momentum as a monster heel at the worst possible time. If Jax were to beat Asuka, ending her winning streak, WWE will have blown up the most compelling storyline in either women’s division. If Jax loses by DQ or there’s a non-finish, and Asuka chooses to battle the SmackDown champion, it will look like she’s purposely avoiding Nia. The best bet is that there’s a non-finish to the match Sunday. On Raw the Monday after EC, it will be announced that due to the inconclusive finish to Jax’s match on Sunday, she’s being added to the Raw championship bout. Later, Asuka can choose to face Jax and the Raw champion at WrestleMania. For the record, WWE should put the belt on Asuka at WM 34 and leave it there until she finally loses a match, presumably at some other WrestleMania down the line. Confusing, right? The only thing I’m (reasonably) certain of is that WWE won’t be dumb enough to have Asuka lose her first match on Sunday.
The Raw Women’s Champion will be a heel – If WWE wants to capitalize as much as possible on Asuka’s aura, and make her the champion at WrestleMania, the best way is for them to book a heel winner on Sunday. That way, at the big show, Asuka would presumably be facing the new champ and Nia Jax, a monster heel. That’s the only way to make the invincible Asuka seem like an underdog, and we know how much WWE likes a good underdog story at WrestleMania. I predict that Alexa Bliss either retains the title, or Sasha Banks finally pulls the trigger on the world’s slowest heel turn, and beats Bayley using underhanded tactics to get the win. Either way, Banks needs to cement herself as a heel on Sunday. The Bad Boss is more legit than the Good Boss.
Roman will Reign – I don’t see any way that WWE abandons their plans to have Roman Reigns face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. The only possible way I can see that happening is if someone like Strowman were to win the Elimination Chamber match, and Reigns would be added to the match later on. However, I don’t think WWE wants a multi-man match in the main event, either. Assuming that Reigns wins, the most entertaining part of this match might be seeing how WWE manages to give the win to Roman without making everyone else in the contest look weak.
Hopefully, WWE will add a couple of interesting matches to the EC card before Sunday rolls around. Otherwise, what used to be one of the marquee events on the road to WrestleMania could be a complete waste of time.
– Next time, we’ll take a look at what happened at Elimination Chamber, and predict what it means for the Raw brand headed into WrestleMania 34. Until then….