Apologies for the lack of activity on here of late. Even if I’d have wanted to write about RAW, I wouldn’t have had time. On the plus side, for both me and you guys, I have been working on a wrestling-related project in Glasgow, and you will all see the footage soon. Promises. As usual, for updates make sure to subscribe to this blog, and follow me for extras, info, and live-tweeting on twitter @RTVWOW.
Now, as for this event, it’s kinda creeped up on me … I’ve been watching RAW and Smackdown as usual but because i’ve been so busy with lots of big projects, the excitement about it all has crept up on me too. This is where everything comes clear, where the card for WrestleMania is crystalised; and not only that, but it all happens in (arguably) the most brutal match WWE has to offer. It is six men offering up their body for a shot at the Main Event at WrestleMania. It’s rather beautiful when you think about it … Only four matches on the card though. I imagine the two World title matches and Cena vs Kane in their race to hospital will go quite long (I certainly hope so in the case of the chamber matches), but it doesn’t rule out extra, unannounced matches. Most likely would be an impromptu tag title match, though after beating the Usos on Smackdown, I don’t know who could challenge Primo & Epico. A US Title match is possible, getting Swagger on TV for the first time since winning the belt, throwing him against Alex Riley or someone … ok, let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Hunico-DiBiase is also on the cards potentially, but the build has been so lazy and ineffective, it would be meaningless filler. Finally, its kind of a surprise that Royal Rumble winner Shaemus doesn’t have a place on the card. It’d be good to see him come out and squash someone (around Jinder Mahal calibre) before cutting a promo about how he has a close eye on the Chamber matches because his eventual WrestleMania opponent will come out from them, and they’d best be up for a fight, fella.
… PREDICTION TIME!
Match 1) Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs Wade Barrett vs Cody Rhodes vs The Big Show vs The Great Khali vs Santino Marella
Before this week, a lot of people were predicting (or worrying, depending on who you are) that Orton would just take the World title from Bryan because Orton = WrestleMania more than Bryan = WrestleMania. I was in the worried camp. I wasn’t initially happy when Bryan turned heel, thinking that he needed to be given a chance as plucky face champion. However, as a heel, Bryan has become one of the top stars in the company, a man who is taking the ball and making gold with a genuinely intriguing character. A Vegan champion who enjoys nature walks and being a role model is infinitely better than most things in life. The point of all this? I think Daniel Bryan wont get screwed out of his WrestleMania match. Yes, I think when he became champion, WWE foresaw a coffee-cup reign, but he’s working so well, and is being given more limelight from management. They have nothing to lose from Bryan in a title match; WrestleMania sold itself a year ago – let us see Bryan-Sheamus. After the way Bryan coerced Sheamus into DQing himself on Smackdown, there is definitely some beef there too – I think they were laying groundwork. As for the match itself, Khali needs to not be in there very long. Just him moving can spoil this match as far as i’m concerned. Big Show will be a monster and eliminate someone early, but will do something heelish and get eliminated. Its a shame Rhodes and Barrett have been kinda afterthoughts in all this, because they are two of the best. I expect them not to deliver some great moments, and perhaps survive to the end, but there’s no danger of either winning I think. A lot of people seem to be favouring Barrett, I guess because he vs Sheamus could be a great story for lots of different reasons but I just don’t see it – for one thing, Bryan is an awkward element here because surely he’d cash in his rematch at WrestleMania, which would shift all the stories between them anyway. Finally, I want to mention Santino. No, it’s not an outrage he’s in the match – because he’s going to only be a prop. There are two ways he could be used: 1) Fodder for Daniel Bryan to make him look good. Santino and Bryan in early, and Bryan makes him tap in two seconds for sweet heat after spoiling one of the most popular stars’ dreams with ease and celebrating in typical fashion. The second option is that Santino doesn’t even make it to the Chamber. Someone – Drew McIntyre, who is just waiting to take off again – assaults him on the way to the chamber, gets the heat, forces his way in to Santino’s pod, and then does well in the match. A lot of ‘x-factors’ then, as WWE will insist in calling them, in this match then, and eventhough the line-up is somewhat weaker than RAW’s offering, Bryan, Barrett and Rhodes, in an Elimination Chamber spells potential greatness.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Match 2) Divas Championship Match: Beth Phoenix (c) vs Tamina Snuka
Still not sure if I approve of how WWE are ram-rodding the fact that Tamina is Jimmy Snuka’s daughter. Its not the reference that bothers me, its just the extent to which they’re hammering us in the head with it. Pretty sure they dedicated about 30 minutes from Smackdown to show images of her imitating her dad, morphing in to her dad. Saying all that, she’s been built well as a powerful, viable threat to Beth, for now at least. It seems pretty clear, however, that Beth will have a dream match with Kharma at WrestleMania, and this is another step in the already successful process of making Phoenix look unbeatable going in to that. I don’t think it’ll be quite ‘Ding. GlamSlam. Ding’, but I think she’ll go over pretty easily.
Winner: Beth Phoenix
Match 3) Ambulance Match: John Cena vs Kane
Cene-Kane has been one of the weirdest feuds I can remember. I love Kane, theoretically. His glove-handling, fire-throwing monstrousness is always shocking and always has the potential for some pretty awesome spots, but in matches, especially with Cena, have been incredibly forgettable brawls, usually punctuated with throwing Zack Ryder off something. With this the last stop before WrestleMania though, and Cena having to turn his attentions to The Rock, this will have to be the blow-off match, and so I expect something a little more memorable from the pair. An AA off the top of the ambulance? Something ridiculous but kinda cool like that i’m sure. If the match centres around the ambulance and not the ring, it could be really good; if its just another brawl, then perhaps not. There is no doubt that Cena goes over here – he’s going to have to look as strong as possible going in to his match with The Rock.
Winner: John Cena
Match 4) Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship: CM Punk (c) vs Chris Jericho vs Dolph Ziggler vs The Miz vs R-Truth vs Kofi Kingston
This match is the one i’m most looking forward to – I mean, it has my two favourite wrestlers in it, and they’re the two only real prospects to win the match! Indeed, with the WrestleMania 28 main title match being all but announced as Punk vs Jericho, only one of those two can win. But hey, lets talk about the contributions from the other participants. The Miz has been miz-firing (clever) of late, and while Truth is hilarious on the mic, in the ring, he is a step below the rest. Kingston seems to me to be on the receiving end of a modest push, and there is no doubt why he’s there: to do some sweet flips inside the chamber and get pinned. That may seem derogatory, but he was in the Rumble to do a spot, and it made him ten times more popular than before the match, and helped make the match great! Ziggler too is fantastic (it feels kinda pithy to feel I have to repeat that every time I write about him). I expect he’ll be in the final three with Punk and Jericho (unless they do a major swerve and have one of those two out in minutes) as he’s clearly on his way to the top. What more to say than he’s being given a new platform here, and will surely shine. Then down to Punk and Jericho. In some ways i’d be surprised to see it come down to these two. After all, it might affect the mystique of the WrestleMania match. Perhaps i’m being short-sighted and not seeing the potential for an amazing mini-match in the Cell … we’ll see. Logic seems to point to a Jericho win because if he doesn’t win here, how does he earn himself a title shot at WrestleMania after losing? It makes sense, but at the same time, it’s true of everyone else in the chamber, and when those five are taken out of the picture, who could challenge Punk? Del Rio again? Kane? No, for a good Mania match, it basically has to be Jericho whatever happens. With the main event already decided, I would like to see Punk go over, and I think it makes more sense; it gives Punk a longer reign and a strong defence to help build his strength as a star and as a champion with a longer reign. I also believe Punk has to go over at WrestleMania, for his Mania Crowning moment ala Cena, Batista, Rey Myseterio, and a Jericho win would hand him a cup of coffee reign. What about Jericho then? I think Kingston eliminates him for the rub, after Jericho’s taken multiple finishers. This allows Jericho to leave the chamber with the possibility that he could still beat Punk one-on-one, and still allows him to somehow earn his match with Punk somehow going forward. Its a bit messy, but they’ve booked themselves in to a bit of a corner. That awkwardness aside, the talent in that chamber is pretty formidable, and it’ll be interesting how the Punk-Jericho story continues. I just hope it is the main event, and not Cena-Kane!
Winner: CM Punk