Yes, we’re doing another live special already.
Following WWE Payback two weeks ago and last week’s NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable, WWE Network presents ELIMINATION CHAMBER 2015, the show about a half-month in the making. Elimination Chamber airs Sunday and features two Chamber matches; one for the Intercontinental Championship, and one for the Tag Team Championships.
Here’s the complete WWE Elimination Chamber 2015 card, as we know it:
1. Elimination Chamber Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev vs. Sheamus vs. R-Truth vs. King Barrett vs. Ryback
2. Elimination Chamber Match for the Tag Team Championships: The New Day (c) vs. Los Matadores vs. The Prime Time Players vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd vs. The Ascension vs. The Lucha Dragons
3. Non-Title, Champion vs. Champion: John Cena vs. Kevin Owens
4. WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
5. Neville vs. Bo Dallas
6. Triple Threat for the Divas Championship: Nikki Bella (c) vs. Paige vs. Naomi
And now, as always, our analysis and predictions. We’re right at least 33 percent of the time!
Triple Threat for the Divas Championship: Nikki Bella (c) vs. Paige vs. Naomi
What Should Happen: There’s been a lot of talk about the “Four Horsewomen of NXT,” right? Let’s turn them into the Lady Nexus, have them invade the Divas Championship match at Elimination Chamber, wreck everyone, declare the Divas Division “dead” and rechristen it the Women’s Division. I know that would make Bayley a heel, but I’m sure she’s got it in her. Emma’s been trying to bring out her dark side, so you could just say Bayley’s lost her way. She could end up being the member of the group who realizes what they’re doing isn’t right and defects, then feuds with them. The Daniel Bryan, if you will. The Divas Division (aka “the cast of Total Divas”) would be forced to band together and prove that the “Divas” brand has grown to mean more than it did when it was created, or, you know, they all just jump in a garbage can and live there forever.
What Will Happen: Haha, not that. In my brain, the match is a triple threat to give Nikki Bella an excuse to drop the title without being pinned. Naomi can pin Paige out of nowhere and win the championship, leading to a thing where the Bellas chase her and she hides behind Tamina. That feels right to me. Of course, there’s always a 80 percent chance in Divas title matches that the champion will retain, because the only story they ever have for the Divas Champion is “she holds the Divas Championship.”
Nate Birch – This actually has the potential to be pretty damn good — the closest the main roster ladies could get to an NXT Women’s Title match. Assuming they aren’t going to passive-aggressively have Nikki beat AJ’s Divas Title record, I think they finally pull the trigger on Naomi.
Jessica Hudnall – Naomi all day, erryday y’all. She’s going to jam her light-up shoes so far down Paige and Nikki’s throats, they’ll have fluorescent poop for weeks.
Austin Heiberg – I really have no idea here. I’ve completely lost the plot. Are there Total Divas storylines in play here? The fact that I’m even asking such a question should be indicative of a larger problem. I’m just going to take a stab at this one and go with Nikki. I mean, who beats her at this point? (It’s Sasha. Sasha Banks eventually beats her. Let me have this.)
David D. – The match is interrupted by the Cervexus or whatever the NXT invading women’s division is called. I’ve been yelling this since November and it needs to f*cking happen ASAPtually.
Danielle Matheson – Either the sudden celebration of “women’s wrestling” happening in NXT will rub off and this will be all forearms and scorpion crosslocks and non-asshole-based maneuvers, or it’ll be a wet fart into a paper bag. Either way, I’ll pick Nikki to retain.
Neville vs. Bo Dallas
What Should Happen: We add Seth Rollins and Big E to the match to see who is the greatest NXT Champion of all time. Ah, I’m kidding, the point of the match is for Bo to be a slimy yet non-threatening heel for Neville to fight off and hit a Red Arrow on for a big crowd reaction. Nothing more.
What Will Happen: The same. If Bo Dallas wins this match for any reason, WWE has no idea what they’re doing. Neville is the “new sensation” with an overprotected finish and he almost beat John Cena clean. Why on earth would he lose to Bo Dallas, especially a Bo Dallas that had been living in the Phantom Zone until this feud began?
Nate Birch – I’m split on this feud. On the one hand, Bo’s been fantastic as usual, but Neville’s the guy with more potential, and really shouldn’t be anywhere near Bo. Neville wins (hopefully).
Jessica Hudnall – I BO-LIEVE, you guys. Plus, Neville’s knee is made out of dry spaghetti at this point, right?
Austin Heiberg – Is this a ladder match? No? Darn. It’ll have problems living up to their encounter at NXT, but it’ll probably still be just fine. I’ll take The Man of Ever-Increasing Nicknames, Neville.
David D. – Even though Neville wins, he’ll bring out enough greatness in Bo Dallas to get Vince and his buddies to see Dallas as something more than a comedy act. This might steal the show.
Danielle Matheson – Neville will win, because Neville, but I really do want it to be Bo Dallas. I still bolieve, man. I still bolieve.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
What Should Happen: We rewind two weeks and don’t build the feud around contract signings and Dean Ambrose dressing up like a sassy police officer. WWE had a great narrative with the Shield reunion tease, where Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns could all be forced to acknowledge how great and special that team was, and their feelings could open up old wounds. We could address some of the elephants in the room, like why Ambrose and Rollins changed, but Reigns still wears his Shield gear, does The Shield entrance and enters to The Shield’s music. We could ask hard questions like, “did the mental stress of losing his brother make Dean Ambrose crazy?” Because he was wild or whatever before, but he wasn’t cosplaying and beating people up with mustard.
What Will Happen: Is this the main event of the show? Is this even important?
Seth Rollins kinda has to keep the WWE World Heavyweight Championship until Brock Lesnar returns in late June and terrorizes him over it, so there’s no way Ambrose can or should win. Especially not on two weeks build, ESPECIALLY not after Payback gave him an easier opportunity to win it. Rollins retains, probably by unnecessary Authority interference. Ambrose continues running in place, holding one of those Bugs Bunny signs with a picture of a screw next to a picture of a baseball.
Nate Birch – Like I said for Payback, there’s really no reason they can’t give Ambrose the title for a couple weeks to give people a reason to watch this clump of mostly useless pay-per-views. They’ve done a good job of making title changes more meaningful over the past couple years, but you also need the occasional surprise title switch too. If they want to give Dean Ambrose Mick Foley’s finisher, they may as well give him a few of his short title reigns too. So yeah, I’m going to foolishly pick Ambrose again.
Jessica Hudnall – Daniel Cormier cheered for Seth Rollins and became a champion in his own right. That’s some serious mojo that won’t be stopped by a weird, crazy, greasy guy.
Austin Heiberg – In all honesty, I’m fine with variations on the Shield theme as main events from now until Wrestlemania. I could very well end up being sorry I wished for such a thing, but as of right now, it seems to be working. Rollins will retain the title here, but Ambrose winning at some point this year doesn’t seem as crazy as it once did.
David D. – Rollins wins because Ambrose is, like, 1-for-12 in his last PPV matches. There’s a slight chance WWE pulls some sort of trigger on a title change to get subscribers into the match, but that’s not likely.
Danielle Matheson – I’m gonna go out on a limb and say Seth Rollins doesn’t drop the belt until…I dunno, let’s say SummerSlam. It should be a fun match full of more than a few of us (or just me, whatever) shouting NO YOU’RE SHIELD FRIENDS YOU LOVE EACH OTHER STOPPPPPP. Or Brock Lesnar shows up, rips Dean Ambrose apart, drapes himself in his intestines and poses in the ring while Seth Rollins runs for his life into the crowd. …wow, that got dark.
Non-Title, Champion vs. Champion: John Cena vs. Kevin Owens
What Should Happen: A non-finish. I hate calling that, but it’s absolutely what should happen. You don’t want Top Dog John Cena to lose to a (for all intents and purposes) developmental guy we’ve only known on formal WWE TV for two weeks, but you also don’t want your hot-sh*t NXT Champion who has been crushing everyone for months to lose like an idiot to John Cena. Since you’ve booked the match, you have to have it end stupid. If you want to be brave and continue the narrative, have Owens powerbomb Cena into the ring apron and incapacitate him for a few weeks. If you don’t, have them brawl to the outside and let Cena put Owens through a table with an Attitude Adjustment or something to “win” without really winning. Whatever you do, don’t go the easy route and have Sami Zayn show up and distract Owens for the loss. I know that seems like a good idea, but … it’s probably not.
What Will Happen: John Cena wins. John Cena always wins, I can’t pick against him. It’s not a punchline or anything, it’s just playing the odds. My safe WWE booking bet is that Cena and Owens have a hard-fought match, but Cena gets the win. Cena does his “I’m impressed” face and offers Owens a handshake or whatever, Owens boots him in the nuts. That way Owens saves face, Cena gets everything Cena wants and the internet has a reason to use their “Cena made him look GREAT” talking point.
Nate Birch – I know “Cena wins and destroys all our dreams” is always the safe bet, but Owens is the new big thing, and Cena seems to be in a giving mood lately. Owens rolls through Cena to establish the legitimacy of the NXT Title.
Jessica Hudnall – I would have said Cena in a cakewalk if this was for a title. But, with no belts at stake, things get more interesting. I’m going with Owens here, because that would make his kid happy, and Cena is contractually forbidden from disappointing children.
Austin Heiberg – This is the perfect example of What I Want versus What I’ll Get. What I want is for Kevin Owens to fire the first shot of the NXT Civil War with a bad-ass win over WWE’s golden boy. Cena is Captain America — why not have Owens be the mercenary who guns him down on the courthouse steps? Think how much that could set up for the summer, and then realize it’s most likely not going to happen. Cena takes it.
David D. – I don’t think this match actually happens. If Cena wins, we goddamn riot. And I don’t think Owens wins, either. So he does something dickish to cause a DQ.
Danielle Matheson – If Cena goes over, it makes sense, but sh*ts on NXT a little. If Owens goes over, I mean…there’s no real reason to. You could argue that it makes the highest belt in NXT equal to the lowest belt in WWE. Everyone’s jerking off over the same brand of lazily delivered cheap heat that Owens has been delivering for years, so I’m totally removed from this. I guess the only thing that could possibly make me care is a schmoz finish that doesn’t devalue the NXT belt. Samoa Joe will be working Beyond Wrestling that night, so I’m not sure what in-canon distraction would work, but hey, WWE’s specialty is distraction finishes so I’m sure they can work something out.
Elimination Chamber Match for the Tag Team Championships: The New Day (c) vs. Los Matadores vs. The Prime Time Players vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd vs. The Ascension vs. The Lucha Dragons
What Should Happen: If I’m picking the Divas Championship to change hands and a new Intercontinental Champion is happening, the tag titles can stay put, right? No team in this match is doing as much to help WWE TV as The New Day, so they should retain. Having them overcome adversity through the power of positivity (and also cheating) is a good story, especially if Cesaro and Tyson Kidd get eliminated from the match in a shady way. Maybe get the third New Day member into the ring somehow. Elimination Chamber matches are no-DQ, right? If he gets in there, he should be able to do whatever he wants. Big E can burst up through the ring in a spray of powder like a fitness-based Kane.
What Will Happen: It makes sense that one of these teams gets taken out by Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, because why reunite the Wyatts and not have them do that? You know Los Matadores is a decoy team. There’s no way we’re building Elimination Chamber entrance heat for Diego or Fernando. I still think The New Day will retain, but the Wyatt should make an impact.
Nate Birch – I’m actually kind of fascinated by this one. Usually only important guys get to fight in giant cages, so it will be interesting to see this pack of mostly-goobers flying around in the chamber. I’m going to make a slightly left-field prediction and say the Prime Time Players win on the heels of Titus being named Greatest Dad in All The World.
Jessica Hudnall – Los Matadores are getting bounced first, then PTP to make me sad. Ascension are gone next, and then Tyson and Cesaro go down out of nowhere. The New Day, who have been putting in outstanding work, retain after cementing Kalisto’s status as the new Rey Mysterio by throwing him through a pod.
Austin Heiberg – While I’d love to see the Lucha Dragons, Prime Time Players, or Cesaro and Kidd win the titles, it’s not time for The New Day to lose just yet. In such a cynical world, they’ve got so much work to do. The champions will retain, and eventually we’ll all see that we can wash away our problems with clapping and champagne flutes of milk.
David D. – HOW ARE NEW DAY GOING TO FIT?!?! New Day retains because we’re all God’s children and He loves us unconditionally.
Danielle Matheson – NEW. DAY. WINS. I am so into jerkwad New Day, you guys. This whole match has the potential to be a glorious spotfest, or a total disaster. Either way I’m kind of OK with both. I want confused baby goth Ascension members eating European uppercuts, and the Lucha Dragons wrestling their faces off while Titus O’Neil has an intense heart-to-heart with Torito on the apron. The more I think about it, the more I am super psyched for this match, which means I probably won’t get what I want, but hey. I’ve gotta have hope somewhere, right?
Elimination Chamber Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev vs. Sheamus vs. R-Truth vs. King Barrett vs. Ryback
What Should Happen: Remember a couple of months ago when you could just walk up and take the Intercontinental Championship, and that made you sorta-champion? Remember how the payoff to that was a ladder match, where they kept people from grabbing the belt and bailing by hanging it above the ring and making them work for it? I think Stardust should run out during the Elimination Chamber match, steal the IC title from whatever lectern they’ve got it sitting on and run away as champion. The rest of the guys can kill themselves in the PG chains and booths match.
What Will Happen: Sheamus, I guess? Rusev and Dolph Ziggler are the other bets, but they cancel each other out because they’re fighting a war of love. R-Truth and Ryback are the same kind of situational jobber, and King Barrett couldn’t win a match if you booked him in a “Wade Barretts Automatically Win” match. Sheamus is the one with a future outside of the under-under-midcard, so let’s go with him. He’s got the added bump of being the guy who “took out” the former champ anyway. Plus, get some of that Ninja Turtles movie heat!
Nate Birch – Is this the show’s main event? I guess it sort of is, but I’m less invested in it less than anything else on the card. I really think I may be permanently done caring about who holds the Intercontinental Title. They should have a top heel hold the IC Title to balance Cena holding the U.S. title, and Rusev is apparently in no condition to be taking bumps on metal grating, so I suppose Sheamus wins.
Jessica Hudnall – Kind of how I pick both the winner and method of victory in my UFC predictions, I’ll try and guess the order of elimination in the two chamber matches. Truth is gone first, then The Ryback. Next up, Barrett dies a sad death, and then there’s some shenanigans betwixt Ziggler and Rusev, leading to a Sheamus win.
Austin Heiberg – The only one who seems to have any forward momentum going into this is Ziggler, and that’s only because he recently equipped his new +3 Lady Friend. So yeah, I’ll take Dolph here. Maybe with a side of Lana distraction.
David D. – Winner gets to lose every non-title match on RAW, yay! I imagine we’ll get Ziggler winning and the Rusev/Lana/Ziggler triangle becomes an IC belt thing. And my heart continues to break.
Danielle Matheson – Rusev’s status is (as of writing this) still in question, but this whole Rusev-Lana-Ziggler thing is gross, and the opposite of what I’d like to watch. My lack of trust in WWE makes me fear Sheamus proclaiming that his asshole is a better thing to kiss than Lana’s face or whatever. My mom super loves Ryback for literally no reason, even though she’s afraid he’ll push himself too hard and self-implode in the ring. Can you tell I’m stalling yet? Uhhhhhh I’ll say King Barrett, because I’m really into ridiculous monarch gimmicks, and wrestlers wearing capes will never not be funny to me.