The annual Road to WrestleMania used to follow a very distinct path: The winner of the Royal Rumble in January would challenge for a world title at WrestleMania, and the Elimination Chamber in February would determine the actual title holders heading into the biggest show of the year. In 2015, however, the Elimination Chamber was removed from the equation before returning to determine tag team and Intercontinental champions in May, and was off the calendar entirely in 2016. But now, thankfully, it’s back, baby!
Tuesday night’s episode of Smackdown Live opened with a big announcement from Shane McMahon: the Elimination Chamber is once again returning to the Road to WrestleMania at the Smackdown-exclusive Elimination Chamber pay-per-view (and WWE Network special) on February 12. The WWE Championship will be defended inside the Chamber between six competitors, with the winner of the match heading into WrestleMania 33 as champ.
Before we get there, though, we have to get through the Royal Rumble in two weeks, when current WWE Champion will defend his title against John Cena, who is eyeing a record-tying 16th world title reign. Presumably, no matter who walks out of the Rumble as champ, both Styles and Cena will be in the Elimination Chamber. A third likely combatant would be The Miz, who is doing everything he can to re-insert himself into the world title picture after an incredible 2016.
Dean Ambrose is currently at the start of a reign as Intercontinental Champion, so he doesn’t seem likely to be a Chamber participant, but Baron Corbin does, and some other possibilities for the Chamber world title match would be Dolph Ziggler and perhaps the Undertaker, depending on what happens with the Dead Man at the Rumble, and whether he’s actually a member of the Smackdown roster.
No matter who is in the match, the return of the Elimination Chamber in February is very welcome, as its removal from the Road to WrestleMania was missed in the short time it was gone. After the Royal Rumble on January 29, the Raw-exclusive Fastlane PPV on March 5 will be the final stop before WrestleMania on April 2.