Six-man tag team match: The Shield vs. John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback
Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins made a surprise debut at last year’s Survivor Series when their attack on Ryback allowed then-WWE Champion CM Punk to retain his title. Ever since, they’ve been strictly booked to attack mostly babyfaces on Raw and Smackdown and do the occasional live or pre-taped promo. Curiously, they’ve only had one high-profile match to date: a victory at TLC over Ryback and the tag team champions, Hell No.
Now they’re facing the top three babyfaces in WWE at Elimination Chamber: John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback. There was an internet rumour suggesting this might be re-booked in the actual Chamber but that appears to be unfounded. Unlike the TLC match, it’ll be a regular tag encounter minus the furniture.
It’s really hard to see the good guys lose here considering how each of them rarely lose cleanly. When The Nexus came on strong in spring/summer 2010 all roads led to a major loss at SummerSlam that year which clearly derailed their momentum. Would a loss for The Shield here have the same impact? It all depends on how they lose.
At any event, this is not an easy outcome to foresee. The company needs to protect The Shield in some way without their good guys taking a major hit. Ryback, in particular, needs a pay-per-view win badly. He wasn’t won in this situation since Money In The Bank last July. In the end, give this one to the babyfaces with some kind of inconclusive decision.
Prediction: Cena, Sheamus & Ryback by either disqualification or countout
Elimination Chamber match to determine number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship: Jack Swagger vs. Chris Jericho vs. Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton vs. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan
Every one of these participants is a former World Heavyweight Champion (the Smackdown version) vying for a future title shot at WrestleMania 29 which hopefully won’t be the curtain jerker for the third year running.
Obviously, the tag champions, Kane and Bryan, have their own program going so they cancel each other out. Orton, who has two Wellness Policy violations, is probably still in the doghouse. That leaves Jericho (who replaces an injured Rey Mysterio), and the returning Swagger and Henry.
The World’s Strongest Man is sticking with his brilliant monster heel character which makes him a great candidate to push. Swagger is now some kind of a right-wing “real American” who has recently aligned himself with the returning Zeb Colter who delivered an eye-opening promo on Raw that hinted at a possible future feud with Alberto Del Rio and other minority superstars. The new mouthpiece allows the Oklahoma native to focus strictly on his stiff wrestling skills, the only thing he does well. Jericho is now a babyface thanks to last summer’s feud with Mr. Money In The Bank, Dolph Ziggler. They rekindled their rivalry last month as the first two competitors at the Rumble match.
Either one of these guys will likely get the push but for some reason I think Chris Jericho is going to win. The angle in his resumed feud with Ziggler is that he can’t win the big one, that his days of being the man in WWE are over. What better way to keep that going than have him become the number one contender for the WHC and possibly beat Ziggler for it at WrestleMania?
Prediction: Chris Jericho
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. The Big Show
It was a major surprise when Del Rio suddenly became a good guy at TLC last December. But eight days later, he ran over Mick Foley in a Santa outfit on Raw temporarily turning him heel again. Then, when The Big Show was picking on his ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, on Smackdown, the guy who once ran the giant over with one of his boss’ fancy cars two years ago, Del Rio became a permanent ‘face and went on to become the WHC by beating Show during a Last Man Standing match on Smackdown. (Crazy booking.)
They’ve been feuding ever since. Del Rio won their LMS rematch at the Royal Rumble (thank you, duck tape) but this time there appears to be no special stipulation. The angle this time is that Del Rio has never pinned The Big Show and therefore has his work cut out for him. In the end, I don’t think Big Show will be pinned. But he will submit to the cross arm-breaker.
Immediately afterward, though, Show will get so pissed off about this he’ll go on to incapacitate both Rodriguez and Del Rio to the point where Dolph Ziggler, after countless teases in the past, will finally cash in his Money In The Bank briefcase and become the new World Heavyweight Champion which will set up the WrestleMania title match with Chris Jericho.
Prediction: Alberto Del Rio retains by submission but Dolph Ziggler pins him for the title.
WWE Championship: The Rock vs. CM Punk (If Rock is counted out or disqualified, the title changes hands)
Ever since his infamous June 2011 pipe bomb on Raw I’ve been a major champion of CM Punk (although truthfully I also enjoyed his previous Straight Edge Society shtick). I’m an even bigger fan now that I’ve seen his superb (albeit flawed) DVD which I highly recommend. As you can imagine, I wasn’t thrilled when I learned that he lost the WWE title at the Rumble last month.
The feud with The Rock started at Raw 1000 this past July (a war of words between the two followed by an exhilarating show-concluding attack by Punk) before cooling off significantly for much of the rest of 2012 and then firing up again in the build to the Rumble. Since losing the title Punk’s been in complete denial of his setback going so far as to actually steal Rock’s belt and not return it. Put simply, he’s not been a happy camper claiming he was screwed by Vince McMahon. (He had Rock beat but the chairman restarted the match at Rock’s insistence because of the sneaky way he won. The Shield triple powerbombed Rock in the dark.)
Because John Cena won his second Rumble match last month, it’s inevitable that he’ll be facing The Rock for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 29. Depending on whether The Undertaker is going to work with Punk at that event or not Punk might still be in the hunt for the belt. The idea of a triple threat sounds good but doesn’t a potentially historic WM match with The Dead Man sound better?
In spite of the added stipulation of giving Punk plenty of opportunities to skunk away with the title (like any true villain would take advantage of), even though I honestly hope the Straight Edge Superstar becomes champion again, it’s just not going to happen.
Prediction: The Rock retains the WWE Championship by pinfall.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, February 17, 2013
UPDATE: I was right about The Rock, Alberto Del Rio, Antonio Cesaro (even if it was a DQ not a pinfall finish) and Kaitlyn retaining their respective titles and Brodus Clay & Tensai winning the pre-show tag match. I got the Chamber result wrong (it was Jack Swagger who won, not Chris Jericho, which doesn’t surprise me since I did say he was definitely a contender), The Big Show didn’t attack Del Rio or Rodriguez in a fit of rage and The Shield did in fact beat the team of Ryback, Sheamus and Cena, not the other way around (which is a good thing). I was also wrong about Dolph Ziggler cashing in his MITB briefcase. (There was no tease.) He ended up winning his one-on-one with Kofi Kingston which wasn’t announced beforehand hence the lack of a prediction.
So, in the end, I went 5 for 7. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, February 17, 2013