WWE Elimination Chamber 2017 airs this Sunday, February 12, live on WWE Network. The Smackdown-exclusive event is headlined by (get this) an Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship, as well as a Smackdown Women’s Championship match and Tag Team Turmoil for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship.
Here’s the complete Elimination Chamber 2017 card as we know it.
WWE Elimination Chamber 2017 Card:
1. Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship: John Cena (c) vs. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. The Miz vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose
2. Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Naomi
3. Tag Team Turmoil Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship: American Alpha (c) vs. The Usos vs. The Ascension vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. Breezango vs. The Vaudevillains
4. Mickie James vs. Becky Lynch
5. Handicap Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Apollo Crews and Kalisto
6. Nikki Bella vs. Natalya
7. Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper
As always, we’ve got a complete rundown of the card, including analysis and predictions for all seven matches.
Be sure to drop down into our comments section and let us know what you think will happen, and who will walk out of Elimination Chamber as champion. Bonus points if you’ve got a logical argument for anyone other than Bray.
Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper
What Should Happen: It’d be fun to have Suddenly Important Luke Harper pull off the biggest victory of his career here, legitimizing him as a main-ish-event-level talent and setting up Orton’s first logical challenger after his inevitable WrestleMania win. I mostly just want to see Luke Harper be happy and do well.
What Will Happen: … That said, despite how very WWE that booking is if you change your focus from “what should happen” to “what could they do the most wrong,” I’ve got to think Orton wins. A discus lariat into an RKO, because the quality of Orton’s modern matches are based on how cool of an RKO counter you can think of. Too bad Seth Rollins is going to be hurt for WrestleMania and we can’t find an illogical way to shoehorn him in jumping into something again.
Scott Heisel – Doesn’t make much sense to have Orton lose twice in a week, considering he’s going to be “main eventing” (heavy air-quotes on that one) WrestleMania, does it? Sorry, Luke, the Viper gets the duke here.
Austin Heiberg – Kind of a weird holding pattern for a Royal Rumble winner to be in, but I guess I wouldn’t want to risk his health and put him in the Chamber if it were up to me, either. In any case, Orton is a lock to win here.
Justin Donaldson – If I could be granted one Elimination Chamber wish, it would be the Luke Harper wins this match. Orton can afford the loss. He won the Rumble, he’s probably going to win the title once again at Mania … but alas, I can’t imagine that happening outside of the Elimination Chamber in my mind. Randy Orton wins.
Bill Hanstock – Luke Harper had maybe the biggest breakout night of his life on Tuesday, and it seems like fans might actually give a crap about him as an on-his-own babyface who is crazy and can beat the everloving piss out of fools. Sort of like Dean Ambrose, but with punches that look like they hurt more than a kitten batting a catnip toy while falling asleep. That being said, he’s not going to lose to Orton before Orton’s guaranteed WrestleMania “main event.” This could be a terrific match, but it’s not going to end with a Harper victory.
Nikki Bella vs. Natalya
What Should Happen: It’s Smackdown’s Most Personal Feud! Even more personal than the one about the cultist cronies punching each other!
WWE’s match preview (and honestly way too much of the build) has been built around the idea that both of these veteran, decorated performers needs to escape someone’s “shadow” — Nikki Bella has to find the strength to compete despite her boyfriend also being a wrestler, Natalya must find a way to find personal worth despite having several famous relatives — but at least they’re beating the hell out of each other about it, right? If we’re booking this ourselves, we put the focus on the physical element of the match to differentiate it from the other two women’s matches on the show — Mickie/Becky can be the technical work, Bliss/Naomi can be the sports-entertainment match full of shenanigans or whatever — and, I guess, put Nikki over. Because it’s always hard for me to type, “Natalya should win.”
What Will Happen: Natalya should win? I mean, if the rumors of Bella taking a powder after WrestleMania are true, the better decision in my brain feels like having her take a hard loss here, struggle with existential crisis or whatever between now and Mania, then get her big shining moment to peace out on AT Mania. Plus, I mean honestly, there’s only so many times you can pitch Natalya as a threat to someone without letting her win a few.
Scott Heisel – Can I quickly just say that it’s pretty awesome we’re getting three women’s singles matches on a WWE pay-per-view? Presumably all three are making the actual show and not the pre-show, which is even more impressive, and all three matches have clearly defined stories and every wrestler has well-crafted motivations for their actions. If this is really Trump’s America, maybe it’s not so bad after all? (jk we’re all doomed) I pick Nikki Bella to come out the victor here, but either way I expect the match to be as brutal as these two women are allowed to have, as the buildup to this has been awesome in the physicality department.
Austin Heiberg – I’ll go with Nikki, just because I think John Cena holding the WWE Championship is an automatic +5 to all her stats.
Justin Donaldson – My gut tells me this match is not happening. Maybe Nikki’s too injured to compete after Nattie’s attack on Talking Smack, or maybe Nattie and possibly Maryse takes her out on the pre-show. I just can’t imagine WWE’s going to have three women’s singles matches on one three hour pay-per-view. This will end up getting replaced with Curt Hawkins vs. Mojo Rawley.
Bill Hanstock – I’ll be honest: Natalya might be my least favorite person in all of WWE. I love Nikki to death, but this entire thing has been like nails on a chalkboard to me. I’m hoping beyond hope that this is the blowoff, and that Nikki wins clean as a sheet. Smackdown got me a bit worried, with Nikki playing up that Natalya’s legacy will be ruined if she loses, because all she’s ever had to comfort her was that she’s the better wrestler, but I’m sticking with my prediction. Nikki wins, wears a hat, is happy.
Handicap Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Apollo Crews and Kalisto
What Should Happen: Someone should sit whoever booked this match down and give them a stern talking-to.
But no, the only way this can possibly be saved is if there’s a catch. You’ve got a heel talking himself into a 2-on-1 handicap match, so if you play it straight, you’re either building sympathy for a guy who shouldn’t have it, wasting everyone’s time by having a coward heel fart around while two inept babyfaces can’t get the job done, or you completely bury those faces by saying they can’t beat one person, even together. So there’s gotta be a catch, whether it’s Ziggler bringing in someone to be his tag team partner and tricking the guillible faces into letting him even the odds, or bringing in a bodyguard, or SOMETHING. Something’s gotta happen for this to exist.
What Will Happen: I … sure hope something is going to happen here, because if it doesn’t, this might be the most ill-advised booking of the year. And this is on a show that thinks James Ellsworth x Carmella is a good idea. Ziggler wins via HOPE SOMETHING HAPPENS.
Scott Heisel – In what world does a handicap match where the heel has the disadvantage make any sense whatsoever? This thing screams pre-show, and I will be half-watching Dolph win as I absent-mindedly scroll through Twitter looking for the latest GIFs from @TrumpDraws or something. The only thing that might make this feud interesting is if Ziggler brings out someone new to play the Diesel role to his Shawn. Bonus points if he recruits Kane and makes him put on his old Diesel costume.
Austin Heiberg – I think conventional logic would say that Ziggler cheats to win here, but I’m discarding said logic because I want this CrewListo tag team to be something. Did you see their matching gear? So many good lucha things could come of this. I’ve got Crews and Kalisto.
Justin Donaldson – At least the booking of the Tag Team match is just lazy; the booking of Ziggler’s heel turn has been truly bizarre. I guess Ziggler wins this match. It’s hard to predict a logical conclusion when there doesn’t seem to be any logic behind this.
Bill Hanstock – The tried and true rule of WWE handicap matches is that the outnumbered guy generally wins. Since Ziggler has been such a fan of chairs in recent weeks and handicap matches basically become no disqualification matches, I feel like Ziggler is going to get frustrated, use a chair on both guys, get the win, and manage to make both Crews and Kalisto look even more like goobers than they already do. WHICH SHOULDN’T BE POSSIBLE.
Mickie James vs. Becky Lynch
What Should Happen: What the staff says. If the big match you’re rebuilding to is Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch, you can either have Becky roll over La Luchadora Dos, or you have Bliss help Mickie win so Bex has even MORE motivation to try to kick her ass at WrestleMania. One of the big problems of WrestleMania as a thing is that booking and predictions for months around it turn into, “this is what makes sense at the IMPORTANT show, so here’s what they’ll set up on the one they don’t care as much about.”
That’s a bummer, but I’m hoping this’ll find a way to steal the show.
What Will Happen: I’ve got to go with the consensus and say Bliss helps Mickie cheat to win, pissing Becky off and motivating the next cycle of shows. You don’t need much motivation, I guess, but I don’t think anyone thinks we’re heading into a WrestleMania program of Naomi vs. Mickie James, right? (That honestly sounds pretty good.)
Scott Heisel – I’m thrilled Mickie James is back, but there is a massive disconnect between her current character and how she’s being presented. Like, why would the crowd boo someone who comes out to a “Hey Mickey” ripoff and has an enormous smile in every match graphic? Here’s to hoping she debuts new music and ring gear to go along with her new attitude this Sunday. As for the result? Mickie wins with an assist from Alexa.
Austin Heiberg – As previously stated in my picks, I rarely bet against Mickie James, the coolest of Cool Moms. So I’ll go with her here, but if we want to do this again at Wrestlemania and give Becky her win back, I think that’d be pretty cool.
Justin Donaldson – Becky Lynch was the Mickie James return opponent I was looking forward to the most. This match should be good. If they’re going to make Mickie a legitimate contender and not just a nostalgia act (like the flawed Dudleys return), then she needs to gets some marks in the win column. I think Mickie wins by some sort of devious means.
Bill Hanstock – This is probably going to be awesome, and will probably be even better than Mickie vs. Asuka was (if given the proper time). That being said, Mickie just got back, and her alliance with Alexa is just getting started. I think she’s going to get the win here, and Becky will have to seek final retribution at a later date.
Tag Team Turmoil Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship: American Alpha (c) vs. The Usos vs. The Ascension vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. Breezango vs. The Vaudevillains
What Should Happen: Everybody into the pool!
If we’re talking what absolutely should happen, American Alpha should find a way to survive all the announced teams, only to be told that wait just a minute folks, there’s ONE MORE TEAM. And then WE GO HAAAAARD, ALL DAY ALL NIGHT.
I know that can’t logically happen because the Revival just launched into an NXT feud with the Authors of Pain, but the formula works if you want to introduce ANYONE to be a cool WrestleMania opponent for Alpha, which is a thing that should happen. Smackdown’s pile of tag teams can only be so interesting if you forget about them and don’t replace the fodder with new blood every now and then. Hell, run Sheamus and Cesaro against them and make it an inter-promotional match or something. I just wanna see Alpha go on (the) WrestleMania (pre-show).
What Will Happen: This feels like the Usos. Why does this feel like the Usos? American Alpha is great at winning tag team gold, but not very good at keeping it.
Scott Heisel – As much as I’d like to see American Alpha retain here, I think the stipulation dictates they have to lose. If they run through the entire division, then who the hell is left for them to square off against? I think they drop the belts to the Usos and feud with them up until the WrestleMania Sunshine Pre-Show Fueled By Stacker2 YJ Stinger, where Jordan and Gable win the belts back in front of the handful of people who have managed to make it past security by 3:30pm. The boyhood dream has come true!
Austin Heiberg – Is it bad that I kind of want pure chaos out of this? Like, a total surprise victor along the lines of The Ascension or The Vaudevillains, just to shake things up. That’s more of a whim, though. My real pick goes to the Ambiguously Suplexing Duo of American Alpha.
Justin Donaldson – I’ve put more time and energy into the Smackdown Tag Team Division this year than WWE has. I’m going with American Alpha I guess. They’ve left the Tag Division on autopilot, so I don’t anticipate anything happening here. The real question is, how will they go about humiliating The Vaudevillains?
Bill Hanstock – The only real options at this point are for American Alpha to run the table (or a reasonable facsimile) and retain, or for the Usos to win via underhandedness. That being said, it also wouldn’t be out of the question for Alpha to get screwed out of their titles by a heel team and have to regain them at Mania. But since I don’t think we’re getting any sort of Smackdown tag title match at Mania, I’ll pick Alpha to retain. But my heart says Breezango, now and always.
Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Naomi
What Should Happen: Interference from Cameron! But no, if Mickie vs. Becky ends up being the show-stealer like I’d like, I’d want this match to be the sleeper. And then we’d have evidence of not only multiple women’s matches on the same pay-per-view, but GOOD ones. Let them go, you know? Naomi’s in that class of obviously talented women who were taught to wrestle in a way that never let them look very good, alongside Summer Rae and Alicia Fox, and just like them (at least to me) I always predict, “THIS is the match where she breaks out.” Because she should, already.
(She’s still losing, though.)
What Will Happen: We heard “Naomi has pinned the Smackdown Women’s Champion!” twice, which means there’s no way it happens with the belt on the line. One of the worst things about WWE’s obsession with non-title losses to set up title victories is that it telegraphs the result of the matches more than ANYTHING. They think it fools us every time. “I’ve seen this person pin the champion! I bet they can do it again since I’ve seen it. There are no other variables!”
Scott Heisel – Was I the only one who thought it was bizarre that out of all four women involved in the double contract signing on Tuesday, Naomi was the only one in ring gear? Kind of an odd choice, if you ask me. But I loved all four of the combatants’ promos, which leads me to believe this quadrangle will not be going away any time soon. Naomi comes within a breath of a three-count but Alexa sneaks out a win with Mickie’s interference — maybe a DQ, maybe not, but either way, the belt stays with Bliss.
Austin Heiberg – First of all, good for Naomi getting this opportunity. She’s been passed over for too long. However, with that said, I’m still going with Alexa Bliss here. She needs to be the one defending at Wrestlemania.
Justin Donaldson – It’s time for Alexa to get a strong clean win and Naomi is the right person to give it to her. Actually, Naomi may be the only person to give it to her. She doesn’t have a lot of options for opponents at this point.
Bill Hanstock – As I said earlier, Alexa’s reign is just getting started. Naomi keeps getting better and better, and the fans keep getting behind her more and more, but now isn’t the right time. Maybe Alexa’s best friend Mickie James will help her retain, or maybe even that mysterious La Luchadora will pop up again. But Naomi has two clean pinfall wins over the Divas — whoops, Women’s — Champion, so that means she’s taking that L.
Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship: John Cena (c) vs. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. The Miz vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose
What Should Happen: In a perfect world, AJ Styles would pin Cena to win back the WWE Championship and head into WrestleMania as champ, where he gets a lengthy, marquee, prestige title defense against someone great. He deserves that for the year of work he’s put in. Plus, you got Cena his 16th title win. Really all there is to do for him now is lose it and win #17 later, right? In a slightly less than perfect but still reasonable world, Cena would just retain and head into Mania to face someone way more fun than Orton, who has suddenly been injured after stepping on a rake.
Man, I don’t know. Bray Wyatt winning this and facing Orton at WrestleMania is such a foregone conclusion at this point, is it even worth saying what should happen?
What Will Happen: If they swerve the expectation at Chamber, they take it back on Smackdown. Bray Wyatt wins.
Scott Heisel – After a killer fatal four-way on Tuesday, I’d honestly be cool with any of the competitors taking the belt off Cena — even Corbin. But man, could you imagine if the Miz somehow snuck out with the victory here? Sure, it would make zero sense in the current Smackdown storylines (absolutely zero people want to see Orton vs. Miz at Mania), but hear me out: Miz wins through underhanded means, then the following Tuesday Daniel Bryan puts him in a championship rematch triple threat against Cena and Wyatt, in which Wyatt prevails. Cena’s furious at Miz that he cost him his rematch, Miz is furious at Cena that he helped end his title reigns at 48 hours, and the oft-rumored mixed tag begins to take form. Plus, that transitions the belt from Cena to Wyatt without Cena actually being pinned by Wyatt, which is something WWE creative is highly allergic to, and the end result is still Wyatt/Orton at Mania. Voila! I wasn’t going to pick Miz for this match until the fantasy booker in me came out, but fuck it, why not: Mike Mizanin for the win.
Austin Heiberg – There’s a lot of interesting routes we could take here (Corbin going to Wrestlemania as champion, Ambrose as a double champ), but I think a lot of the rumor-mill chatter is pointing to the most interesting way we could go. Bray Wyatt versus Randy Orton at Wrestlemania has the makings of a good feud that they can slow-burn their way towards, and I think it’s the right thing to do here. Wyatt wins his first WWE Championship.
Justin Donaldson – Orton and Bray Wyatt’s No Mercy rematch take place as one of the main events of WrestleMania 33. Here’s how I think this is going down: Ambrose goes out first by Corbin, Corbin out second by Cena, Styles pins Cena then The Miz, Bray pins Styles after interference from one or more past or present Wyatt Family members. Everybody leaves the Chamber Mania ready.
Bill Hanstock – My god, no one has ever deserved the title more than The Miz, but sadly he won’t be the one winning the match. Nor will Dean Ambrose, nor Baron Corbin. So that leaves Styles, Wyatt, and Cena. I’m still completely confident there’s no way in hell WWE would give us a singles match between Cena and Orton for a world title at WrestleMania in the year of our lord 2017, so Wyatt is the only option that makes a lick of sense. Bray Wyatt gets his first world championship reign and heads into WrestleMania — where he never wins — as the true Eater of Worlds to defend against his erstwhile stablemate. LIKE MISTER FANTASTIC RUNNING A PONZI SCHEME, RANDY ORTON HAS PLAYED THE LONG CON.