With the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view right around the corner, it seemed like a good idea to take a closer look at the revamped structure to have a better idea of what these Superstars are facing on Sunday.
WWE eliminated said original chamber in 2015, as the sheer size and weight of the cage restricted them to certain venues. With the introduction of the brand split and accompanying brand-specific pay-per-views, Elimination Chamber returned to its February slot under the Raw banner. Atomic Designs (responsible for many a WrestleMania set) went to work, and with only three weeks to prepare gave Satan’s Prison a full Revenge Body makeover.: it has lost weight, has more angles than curves, and we can only assume is much more confident in its day-to-day life.
The video of the new chamber being built not only reveals the incredible amount of work and materials that went into its construction, but also that they built what they call “an oculus.”
*record scratch* Hold up, you built a what now?
But when I looked into the mirror, I shrieked, and my heart throbbed: for not myself did I see therein, but a devil’s grimace and derision. — Friedrich Nietzsche, The Child with the Mirror
WWE has an extensive history of flirting with the supernatural, from the handful of vampires they let run around in the early 2000s, to some guy named The Undertaker. Yeah I dunno, I’ve never heard of him either. While the company is more than happy to openly celebrate the cadre of demons on its roster, over the past few years a more sinister paranormal element has been lurking under the noses of the WWE Universe, housed in the hallowed halls of Full Sail University.
Long-time readers of our very own Brandon Stroud’s Best and Worst of NXT column may remember how a mystical mirror in the Divas locker room kept turning people heel/making them live their best lives at the expense of others. What followed were NXT-WWE Studios tie-ins for their film about an actual cursed mirror distorts reality and causes murder and mayhem for those who look upon it, titled Oculus. Is it a coincidence that an “oculus” is part of this iteration of the Elimination Chamber? Probably! Is that going to stop us from going down a conspiracy theory rabbit hole to justify what we think can happen during the first ever women’s chamber match? Hahaha nope!
To really grasp the potential of what can happen during Sunday’s event, we need to go back to 2012 with the first appearance of the mirror — or, better yet, it’s first victim: Raquel Diaz. From the Best and Worst recap: “Shaul Guerrero showed up to be a scrappy babyface legacy Diva on week 1 at Full Sail, but when she sat down to do her makeup, she turned heel, went crazy, lost her identity and became obsessed with what she saw in the mirror.”
In the following years, some segments were overt references to the film, like Adam Rose looking into the cursed mirror, seeing Penn Jillette, and then slowly turning into a crazy asshole. While I’m honestly not sure how many people that inspired to go see a movie wherein the Dr. Who chick eats a lightbulb, the subtle injection of that same idea had a monumental influence on how the women’s division looks today.
I your glass
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of.
— Cassius to Brutus in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
WWE Legends Lex Luger and Shawn Michaels both used mirrors as props to illustrate their self-absorption and inflated sense of self-worth. This was later coopted by Tyler Breeze, whose smartphone became a 21st century prop in service to his own vanity. When these men looked at their reflection, what they saw was a fully-realized, ideal version of themselves — a modern day Narcissus captured by a front-facing camera lens. The Divas’ personal locker room oculus follows a similar concept, but elevates both the object and its use as a storytelling device.
There’s a scene in Goethe’s Faust where Mephistopheles takes the titular character to the home of a witch, where he becomes enthralled by a magic mirror that reflects the subconscious desires that haven’t been fulfilled by his conscious persona. He becomes inspired to make manifest what he saw and seek out the joy his inner self was seeking. Did it work out for him? No spoilers on 15th century German literature, please!
After weeks of berating, Summer Rae finally broke down the meek spirit of Sasha Banks. When Banks looked in the mirror, she saw her own subconscious desires; the desire for fame, for championships, to be the one in control. This simple moment was the birth of The Boss as we know her. The revelations of the mirror would ultimately come between them when it helped (convinced?) Summer to turn on BFFs Sasha and Charlotte.
Whether Sasha realized it or not, the idea of using the mirror as a tool in manipulating others became a driving force in the efforts to fulfill the desires revealed by her reflection. She would go on to enact a similar scenario with Becky Lynch, causing the Lass Kicker to turn heel and go after literal rainbow of a human being Bayley.
In the film, the cursed mirror is said to have initially belonged to the “Levesque” family. Another coincidence? Probably not, as it’s still a WWE movie. Is it also a coincidence that this cursed locker room mirror hangs in Full Sail, where Triple H is the self-appointed daddy of NXT? Also probably not. Do we have theories about how all of this could play out in a big ass cage, the idea for which came from Papa Bear himself? YEAH WE DO.
1. Sasha Banks Gives Fans The Heel Turn They Think Is Coming, Resumes Boss Status
In many cultures, there’s an idea that what someone sees in a mirror is their ‘shadow soul,’ the true nature of that person’s being. In myth and modern fiction, a vampire doesn’t have a reflection because there’s no soul for the mirror to reveal. If we subscribe to that idea and also really love keeping things canonical, Sunday’s event is the perfect time for that speculated heel turn of Sasha’s to become a reality.
Deep down the self-serving, cutthroat Boss is who Sasha really is, and lacking the exposure to the deep dark truthful mirror after being called up has made that persona sink back into her subconscious. Being a heel all along is why it was so easy for her to eliminate ‘best friend’ Bayley from the Royal Rumble. Bayls, come on. You’ve seen Sasha be BFFs with people. You know how this ends.
2. Bayley Is Introduced To The Oculus In Satan’s Playpen, Turns Heel
When Bayley gazes into the abyss, what will gaze back? Um, more than likely it’s this, really. However, with Sasha becoming increasingly hostile towards her, wouldn’t it be a surprise to see Bayley meet the Oculus and go f*cknuts on everyone who gets in her way?
Like pre-mirror-curse Sasha, she too spent all that time being denigrated by a sassy blonde. She’s been humiliated and all but neutered since coming up from NXT, and maybe she does know how this ends. Instead of being betrayed again and beat down and underestimated, Bayley could take matters into her own hands and hurt others before they hurt her. Build those emotional walls and lash out, girl!
3. Mickie James Gets In On The Cursed Mirror Action
There isn’t really much to this theory, we just really, really love smarmy condescending heel Mickie James and want her to be that always. Either that, or someone shows her the oculus but all it does is tell her that her pants look awful and she should seek out new gear.
4. Nothing Particularly Surprising Happens And You Are A Legitimate Crazy Person
Are we expecting too much from a writers room with a rapid turnover rate when it comes to the idea of a multi-year sequential narrative about a cursed mirror coupled with an almost Kubrickian exploration of duality? Oh gosh, absolutely. But is it more fun to embrace the weirdness of pro wrestling and focus on cursed mirrors and how good Summer Rae has always been instead of trying to be right about stuff? Definitely.
(Though we’re absolutely right about the mirror.)