May 30, 2015 by Joey Keogh
The above poster exemplifies how last-minute the return of the Elimination Chamber PPV was this year. With only two weeks of build-up, it feels, much like Payback did, more like a feature-length episode of RAW than a real, serious PPV prospect. Having said that, EC is always tonnes of fun and it’s better to see it return in this diluted form rather than not at all. It’s probably not going to be the must-watch PPV event of the year, but Elimination Chamber 2015 should still be pretty entertaining, for the most part:
Elimination Chamber match for the Intercontinental Championship: Sheamus Vs. Ryback Vs. R-Truth Vs. King Barrett Vs. Rusev Vs. Dolph Ziggler
Right off the bat, we’ve got two chamber matches, which is weird considering there are only six bouts total on the night. Barrett has been kicking arse recently as King Barrett and, given his colourful history with the IC title, he could emerge victorious here. Sheamo is loving his new monster heel persona, so he’s also in with a shot, but given he’s just landed a role in the upcoming TMNT flick, it’s unlikely he’ll be gifted any major story-lines any time soon. Rusev will have his jealous sights set on Ziggler, given what’s been happening recently with his squeeze/manager Lana, and winning the title is likely to be the last thing on his mind. The two irregulars, on the other hand, Ryback and Truth, stand more chance of joining forces and creating a tag team called Ry-Truth than winning the championship. They’re mostly there to add colour and distract us from the fact it’s the same three guys in the running as always. My money is on Barrett for the win, because he just lost a match to Truth on Smackdown and will be eager to prove himself. Also, he’s taken to the smug King role very well and a shiny new belt will only add to that persona.
Predicted winner: King Barrett
Neville Vs. Bo Dallas
This is the only really “meh” match on the card, and it’s no disrespect to either of these guys, both of whom are pretty great in their own rights. It’s just that, out of all the scheduled bouts, this one feels the most like a RAW match. And that’s not to say that the whole damn PPV won’t feel like an episode of RAW, because it most likely will, but Neville/Dallas feels thrown together as, in spite of their history at NXT together, they haven’t interacted much since moving to the main roster save for a handful of run-ins over the past couple weeks. The Geordie powerhouse has been making his mark on RAW and he is guaranteed to emerge victorious here, perhaps kick-starting a feud with Dallas that might actually go somewhere once it’s given the time to do so.
Predicted winner: Neville
Tag Team Elimination Chamber match for the Tag Team Championship: The New Day (c) Vs. The Lucha Dragons Vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro Vs. The Prime Time Players Vs. The Ascension Vs. Los Matadores
The second chamber match of the night also happens to be the first EVER tag team chamber match so expect fireworks aplenty as the bodies repeatedly hit the floor. No word yet on whether both team members will have to share one little pod, but we live in hope. The New Day have been dominating this struggling division as of late, their annoyingly optimistic heels going totally over in a way Dallas could only dream of, but that doesn’t guarantee success here as, depressingly, they’re still not white enough to be pushed 100%. Granted, the matadors and The Ascension haven’t a hope in hell of winning the titles, but the newly-returned Prime Time Players present something of an underdog and they may just shock us all by stealing a win and establishing a feud with The New Day. Further to this, The Lucha Dragons and Kidd/Cesaro have a decent chance between them, as both teams are respectively over right now, but they don’t really need the belts to make a mark. The New Day are most likely going to cheat and retain, making them even cockier in the process while simultaneously injecting some much-needed friction into the tag team division also.
Predicted winners: The New Day
Triple Threat Match for the Divas Championship: Nikki Bella (c) Vs. Paige Vs. Naomi
In spite of vocal support from even the darkest corners of t’internet, the ladies are still getting a bit of a shit deal on the main roster, particularly in comparison to NXT where their counterparts aren’t just headlining but stealing the show time and time again (see: the terrific Unstoppable Special Event). Last week’s RAW match, a warm-up for this, was bullshit of the highest order and not only did it make us collectively cringe for what these chicks have to put up with just to get a shot at the gold, but it also made the PPV title match seem dull and uninspired. Along with the Neville/Dallas bout, this is the most nothing match on the card and it really shouldn’t be because all of these women work hard and all of them deserve an opportunity to shine. Paige is going to walk away the champion, which is fine because she’s great, but it won’t change anything in their division and it certainly won’t help distinguish who’s heel and who’s babyface and how the hell we’re supposed to be cheering for women who are being given absolutely no chance to show off what they can do.
John Cena Vs. Kevin Owens
NXT upstart Kevin Owens stormed onto Cena’s seemingly never-ending open challenge on RAW a couple weeks ago, basically to tell him he ain’t shit, and it’s got better and better from there, with Owens tearing developmental apart while popping up to deliver cheap shots to the US champ whenever he feels like it. Owens is an absolute legend and if he wins against Cena it’ll be the making of his wrestling career, but sadly we know better than to expect what’s fair and just in the twisted world of the WWE and, although Cena may put Owens the fuck over, he’s never losing to him – not now, not ever and definitely not clean. This isn’t a title match, so Owens has more of a shot than he would if the belt was on the line, but he still isn’t really getting a shot opposite Cena. It’s an exhibition match, a taster for what’s to come when Owens moves up and takes on someone like Bray Wyatt. Owens either has a few tricks up his sleeve for this match, or his old buddy Samoa Joe is about to show up and wreck his chances. Either way, it’s going to be a hell of a fight and, if nothing else, it’s at least comforting to know we can still kind of get excited for a Cena PPV match again (at least he’s not headlining, which is something).
Predicted winner: John Cena
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) Vs. Dean Ambrose
Speaking of deserving to headline, these two ex-Shield members killed it when they took top billing at Hell In A Cell and now we get to see them do it all over again – the only difference being that, this time, there won’t be a cage obscuring our view of the madness (and Wyatt probably isn’t going to appear in the middle of the ring as a badly-rendered ghostie at the end). This is my most-anticipated match by far, I love both of these guys, I think they work super well together both inside the ring and out and, most importantly, they’ve properly fought for the chance to do this and have proven themselves over and over again. There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be the match of the night, with The Authority angle, the Reigns connection and the bad blood that’s been simmering between the two of them ever since their shortly-lived feud was forgotten about months ago. Rollins and Ambrose are going to kill it, plain and simple, and even though The Lunatic Fringe hasn’t a hope of walking away champion (he’s not Foley, times have changed and weirdos can’t be heroes anymore), he will give it all he’s got and, when he loses, it won’t be clean and he won’t be bested easily. Hopefully, this isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning.
Predicted winner: Seth Rollins
Catch Elimination Chamber LIVE this Sunday, 31st May at 8E / 5P