The 2011 WWE Elimination Chamber pay per view takes place this Sunday night as the prelude to WrestleMania 27. As seen in the past, the entire WrestleMania landscape could change as a result of the Elimination Chamber. This year’s chamber show has the potential to shake up things like never before.
WWE Elimination Chamber matches have been hit and miss since its inception back in 2002. The WWE has expanded the concept and turned the big match into a big event beginning in 2010. The Elimination Chamber event replaces the spot previously held by No Way Out as the gateway to WrestleMania pay per view. I don’t know if it was the reappearance of The Rock, Alberto Del Rio winning the 2011 Royal Rumble, or the rebirth of the King in the WWE, but I am more excited for this show than I have been for a “B” WWE pay per view in a long time.
The Miz vs. Jerry Lawler for the WWE championship. The hypocrisy amongst wrestling fans can be a funny thing sometimes. The same fans that have criticized TNA Wrestling for pushing the older guys are reveling in seeing Jerry Lawler challenge for the WWE championship in 2011. Well guess what? I am one of those hypocrites and I don’t mind saying so.
It is funny that out of all the matches and angles that The Miz has had since becoming WWE champion, this angle with Jerry Lawler seems to have clicked more than any other. I think a big reason for this was the origin of the angle. The angle started in Philadelphia, PA which is more of an old school town, thus a lot of the fans that saw Lawler vs. The Miz live went crazy for the King which was seen by millions in the WWE universe at home. That excitement has carried this feud well past where it probably would be if the angle started in a different city.
I will give the WWE a ton of credit for this match and the angle. For one, they listened to the fans and went with something that was hot. Two, and really most important by making this match here they didn’t water down the Royal Rumble concept. I absolutely hated the idea of seeing this big Royal Rumble match built up with the winner getting a title shot only to see five guys who didn’t win the Rumble get the next title shot at the Elimination Chamber. I have no problems seeing Lawler vs. The Miz in this circumstance and I love how the champion is kept out of the match entirely.
So for the match, I think The Miz wins this one in compelling fashion. As stated above, I was feeling a Lawler win until this past Monday. That is no disrespect to the King but it is just how the cookie crumbles. I think this match is going to be fantastic. I like The Miz with some kind of interference from Michael Cole leading to a Lawler vs. Cole match or stipulation at WrestleMania 27.
Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio non-title match. This match is a result of an angle on SmackDown in which Del Rio cost Kingston a spot in the Elimination Chamber match. It is a little odd to see the 2011 Royal Rumble winner challenging for the intercontinental title before WrestleMania but what the hell, it should be a really good match.
I won’t go that deep into this one because I think of everything on the show it is fairly insignificant. I don’t think any member of the WWE creative team would have the balls to suggest Kofi Kingson going over to Vince McMahon in a writer’s meeting. I think Alberto Del Rio wins the match and maybe the I-C title. The I-C title is currently not on the line but that could change. My prediction is Del Rio, although there is an argument to be made in having Kofi go over to set up a future WWE title program between champions.
Edge vs. Wade Barrett vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Zigglervs. Drew McIntyre vs. Kane – SmackDown Elimination Chamber match for the WWE world heavyweight title. After a bunch of wackiness over the last few weeks involving Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero, Edge will wind up walking into the Elimination Chamber with the WWE world heavyweight title after all. While RAW gets it right, SmackDown drops the ball as this kind of match in my mind kills a lot of the emphasis on the Rumble.
As stated above, you have five guys here getting a title match that failed to win the Rumble before the guy that actually won the Rumble. The WWE could have skated around this by holding up the title and having the guys fight for the held up title, but instead it is business as usual. Bad move and the WWE really need to come up with some way to do this without watering down the Rumble. Maybe stick the champions in a tag team match or something else?
Let’s just go through the process of elimination first by looking at guys that have zero chance of heading to WrestleMania 27 as the world heavyweight champion. Kane, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, and Wade Barrett don’t have a prayer in this one. I really would have liked to see Kofi in this one but for some reason creative believes that Drew McIntyre is a bigger lure here than Kofi. I don’t get it.
So it really comes down to Edge and Rey Mysterio. There are arguments for both sides. I would really love to see Rey win this one. First of all, I think a Rey vs. Del Rio match for the title at WrestleMania would have a ton more heat than Edge vs. Del Rio. Two, Del Rio vs. Rey would probably have a much better match. Three, I am just sick of Edge at this point. The guy is in serious need of a makeover. For all of those reasons I believe that the WWE will shake things up and give Rey the win and the match. This gives Edge vs. Ziggler a blow off at WrestleMania (which will predictably wind up with Edge turning heel for the 789876834th time and going with Vickie I am sure). I am fine with that if we get Del Rio vs. Rey in a SmackDown main-event at WrestleMania 27.
John Cena vs. CM Punk vs. Randy Orton vs. R-Truth vs. John Morrison vs. Sheamus – RAW Elimination Chamber match for the WrestleMania 27 WWE championship match. At least this one has a bit more creativity than the SmackDown match. You have a lot more star power here in this one with four former world champions (five if you count Truth’s NWA title reigns). There are more possible scenarios in this one than the SmackDown match so once again, let’s start with process of elimination and conclude that R-Truth, Sheamus, and John Morrison (maybe WrestleMania 30 Morrison fans) don’t have a prayer.
So it comes down to Randy Orton or John Cena for the WrestleMania 27 main-event slot. I can’t imagine how the WWE will be able to cap the excitement of seeing Cena or Orton in the WrestleMania title match again. Anyway, logic dictates that it will be John Cena and while the WWE generally likes to swerve fans from the obvious they aren’t going to bite their nose to spite their face. While Cena vs. Punk or Orton vs. Punk both work for WrestleMania, Cena and Punk have wrestled too many times on RAW to generate any interest in a bigger match. I am going with Cena.
There is some real potential here to create high drama on RAW the next two weeks if the WWE want to shake things up. One scenario would see Lawler win the title, John Cena win the Chamber, and put Cena in the position of having to go after a guy would end the “Rocky” like dream of Lawler. Throw the promo The Rock cut on Cena last week into the mix and you have a guy that doesn’t understand why the world is turning against him when all he is doing is the right thing. Promote a rematch for The Miz vs. Lawer next week on RAW and for one week completely shake up the landscape. Miz goes over and this sets up a double turn at WrestleMania 27 for Miz and Cena. I hate playing fantasy booker but there are too many enticing ideas on the table here that should prevent the WWE from going status quo.
Will they happen? I won’t hold my breath but if they do I’ll be counting down the hours until RAW.