Earlier this month, the WWE sprung a surprise event on us all, and cut no corners in doing so. After passing by one of the biggest special attractions of the year in favor of the ‘Fastlane’ in its usual time in February, the return of the Elimination Chamber will take place tonight. And it will be a double or nothing situation, when two championships will decided within the ultimate steel cage construct.
Despite being a quickly announced show (and an exclusive to the WWE Network, a final push for bringing eyes to the WWE Network during its free for the month of May promotion for new subscribers), it is shaping up to be one of the strongest cards the promotion has put on in sometime. With the aforementioned two Chamber matches joining a hellacious WWE Championship defense, an interesting plot twist in the world of John Cena and an appearance by Daniel Bryan, the Elimination Chamber is set to be a booster shot in the flow of events around the WWE today.
Bring Out The Chains And Chambers
In an effort to settle a vacancy, as well as teach an old dog a new trick, the Elimination Chamber will see two firsts tonight, as both the Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships will be contested for the first time inside of structure. The IC belt will be done in the traditional format of two men starting in the ring and then another one being randomly introduced into the match from the holding cells inside the chamber. With a mixture of recent beefs between Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, Rusev, R-Truth, Ryback and the newly crowned “King” Barrett, it should be a very physical match that could have any number of outcomes that could have the type of legs that were intended for the Intercontinental Championship to have going into this year when Daniel Bryan was slated to carry it up the card.
The tag team scene has been surprising hot as of late, especially considering the top tandem in the company, The Usos, are out of action currently. The rise of The New Day has been a surprising plus for the division and their battles with Tyson Kidd & Cesaro have been regularly good over the past few months. Now adding the element of introducing new teams into a tornado tag match that could shake the entire Chamber when all six teams, including the Lucha Dragons, Prime Time Players, The Ascension and Los Matadores join the two other teams that have been fighting it out the belts recently, all appear in the ring together in a 12-man, all-out roar of a contest. It is a chance to give some teams a chance to establish themselves firmly and make the tag division into more than just a championship match-based element on the show.
The Reign of Rollins Turns Back Time
Regardless of what has been thrown at him – or him thrown through in some cases – Seth Rollins has remained the owner of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship through thick or thin. But despite the fact that the odds have been regularly swerved in his favor over the past year leading up to his title reign, and more than ever since he has gained the strap, Rollins is now pitted against the ultimate wild card the WWE has to offer: Dean Ambrose.
Ambrose, who forced his way into his title shot against his former Shield cohort tonight by menacing him, The Authority and even the law with a juggernaut-like resilience, brings forward a foe that Rollins knows step by step and has faced in a very good main event match in the past. While it seems unlikely that Ambrose’s special breed of mayhem can force the belt around his waist just yet, it is virtually guaranteed that this should be the best wrestling match on the card tonight.
Will Kevin Owens snatch the torch from John Cena?
Many years ago back in 1999, a young and fired up nobody by the name of John Cena walked the aisle to answer an open challenge made by a firmly established, former WWE Champion by the name of Kurt Angle. Working his “Ruthless Aggression” persona, Cena pushed Angle to the limit, before narrowly losing to Angle after pushing the Wrestling Machine to his limits.
Fast forward 16 years later and there is Cena, standing as a 15-time World Champion and current United States champ. And enter Kevin Owens, the NXT Champion and the undeniable new force on the horizon of making a WWE impact. Owens closed that gap within the first 10 minutes of his first appearance on a main roster show, attacking Cena twice in the past two weeks and leaving the US Champ sprawled out with his foot on his belt.
While also embroiled in beefs with Sami Zayn, William Regal and the newest member of NXT, former TNA star Samoa Joe, Owens has become arguably the most undeniable element in all of WWE. Will Owens be able to affirm this further by putting Cena to the mat when the element of surprise is not on his side and Cena sees what’s coming? It may be torch passing time in Corpus Christi tonight.
Will Daniel Bryan Say “Yes” or still no?
Usually the preshow is just a constantly renewing hype reel of the storylines that are going to play out later in the show. But tonight, Daniel Bryan will join The Miz for an interview that will be worth tuning in just a bit earlier. Will Bryan give an update on his unpredictable health situation and a potential return? Or will it be a way to put over the Intercontinental Championship match later on for DB’s vacated title, while keeping him on screen and active? The latter is likely closer to the truth, but the intrigue is there.
Neville and Bo Dallas’ huge opportunity
NXT as a brand itself has been hugely successful. It regularly puts on the best wrestling matches of any brand under the WWE umbrella and has created legitimate stars in the same sense that a hot prospect in Major League Baseball carries or popular collegiate player going into either the NBA or NFL would.
Around a year ago, Neville and Bo Dallas had one of the biggest rivalries around the NXT Championship that the promotion has showcased to date, and showed major potential to make an impact on the next level as well.
Both have had some losses in translation of their characters, but are still strong performers. When both were pit against each other and the former greatness of their pre-WWE showdowns was brought up, it gave the first attempt to merge the storylines of the feeder system into main WWE scene. If they can put on a show tonight on the level of what they did in the main events down on the NXT farm, they could open the door for a quality feud for two potential new stars.
I’m a firm believer that the closest I’ve gotten to Heaven is Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. In the meantime til we cross paths again, I’ll pass along the gospel of the Field of Dreams here, Cheap.Seats.Please, I70 Baseball, and ‘Live From The Cheap Seats’.