Sunday, 23 February 2014

WWE Elimination Chamber Preview By Adam Ferguson (@ElloJasonIsaacs)

It’s the final stop on the road to Wrestlemania, and normally a reliably entertaining pay-per-view. Elimination Chamber, once a match, now also a three hour extravaganza, will clunk its way into the Target Center in Minneapolis through an air of all too familiar predictability. Because for all the pre-Wrestlemania dressing up the PPV wears, at the time of writing tonight’s show does appear to be a fairly generic box-ticking offering - though this is wrestling, and I could be eating those words by tomorrow.

Lets have a look at the card.

Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. Curtis Axel and Ryback, part of the Kickoff

I cannot help but feel disappointed at the Rhodes brothers’ lack of Tag title action tonight, given they have been a popular mainstay in said title picture since last autumn. In all honestly, this Kickoff placement feels a bit like an unnecessary demotion, and who’s forgetting that awful action figure segment on a recent RAW? The pair should win tonight against Rybaxel, another case of two flailing singles wrestlers being paired up in an odd solution attempt by creative.

Winners: Cody Rhodes and Goldust

Darren Young vs. Titus O’Neil

Having missed the last few Smackdown shows - rather, choosing to watch the best bits on YouTube - I don’t really know what’s going on here. The Prime Time Players were a fine team, and splitting them up before Wrestlemania reeks of nonsense. Both guys are decent, but I’m not really interested in a singles run for either. Titus by tallness default.

Winner: Titus O’Neil

The New Age Outlaws vs. The Usos, for the WWE Tag titles

So let me get this straight: it’s 2014 and a censored Road Dogg and hair-struggling Billy Gunn could be on their way to Wrestlemania as the champs? Lets be honest, we’re no longer in a New Age and these two are most certainly not the outlaws they used to be, if even at all. The Usos are terrific, always buoyed by charisma as they inject energy into everything they do; from an intimidating entrance, to an simultaneous over-the-top rope dive. Give ‘em the gold.

Winners: The Usos

Big E vs. Jack Swagger, for the WWE Intercontinental title

A mid-card filler match pitting two powerful and athletic guys against each other in a battle for the now dilapidated IC title. Swagger is good, but always seems to spend his time in the shadow of a tag team partner (first Ziggler, now Cesaro). New to the roost, it would seem Big E still has a lot to bring forth and those ‘higher-ups’ apparently like him. This one will be hard-hitting, and although he’s recently lost a name, Big E wont lose his title.

Winner: Big E

Batista vs. Alberto Del Rio

After the Royal Rumble debacle, I really enjoyed the fire Batista showed when hammering Alberto Del Rio through the announce table a few weeks back. Finally big Dave showed some fire, seemingly turning on the ignition as we approach Wrestlemania. An ignition screechingly brought to a halt at the announcement of this bout. What is the purpose behind a match between Batista and Del Rio on pay-per-view? The chaps over at Inside The Ropes put it best during their Elimination Chamber preview show: “Pay $50 to see Batista shoot fish in a barrel this Sunday”.

Winner: Forgot about this match, go give Inside The Ropes a listen instead

The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield

Now we’re talking. Absolutely the most anticipated match on the card, fans have been waiting for this clash of clans since last summer. Both factions have had a tremendous start to 2014; The Wyatt Family having targeted John Cena after beating Daniel Bryan, on the same night as The Shield’s tremendous performance in the Royal Rumble match. It’ll be interesting to see who the Minneapolis audience favours during this encounter, though given Roman Reigns’ ascending popularity The Shield is a good bet. Prepare for organised chaos, a Shield dissemination, a Wyatt victory and probably match of the night.

Winners: The Wyatt Family

Randy Orton vs. John Cena vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Christian vs. Daniel Bryan, for the WWE World Heavyweight title inside the Elimination Chamber

Unlike past outings involving brutes like The Great Khali, all of the guys in this chamber match can go, therefore we should be in for a cracker. Recently returned Sheamus wont win, nor will Cesaro (although expect a massive showing from him, and maybe even a final three appearance). Christian might not even be in the match, signifying his fodder status. Although betting against John Cena is like betting against a Vladimir Putin election victory (in that a win is always probable, not that you’ll be assassinated for favouring Cena’s opponent), it appears Cena and Bray Wyatt are marker-ed in for Wrestlemania. That then leaves Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. The immediate backlash to Bryan’s non-involvement in the Rumble match was almost disastrous for WWE, therefore a Bryan win to appease the masses could conceivably happen here. I smell shenanigans though, in the form of Triple H and his monstrous pecker costing the bearded warrior a truly deserved moment of glory. Looks like Orton vs. Batista is going to happen in New Orleans. Oh lord.

Winner: Randy Orton

There we have it! Who knows, the beast Brock Lesnar may even show up in his hometown. Elimination Chamber 2014 ain’t the best February card we’ve ever had, but it does boast one, maybe two, potentially great bouts. As if Vinnie Mac gives a damn about this PPV anyway, he’s got a Network to launch on Tuesday.

Follow me on Twitter @elloJasonIsaacs for more wrestling talk, I’ll be tweeting during the PPV tonight!

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