Break out that big ’ol cage! The Elimination Chamber returns as an exclusive WWE Network offering on May 31. This will be the second pay-per-view this month, and will most likely overshadow this Sunday’s Payback event since the event often produces a fun night of wrestling with some memorable moments.
It was reported by the Wrestling Observer that almost nobody watches the older content (I do), so there is no rush to add more of it. However, the most popular offerings happen to be the newer stuff, such as monthly pay-per-views, network specials, and NXT. Last week, Chris Jericho’s interview with Stephanie McMahon was one of the most watched shows.
The masses have spoken and they want to see what’s next instead of what’s already happened. This is similar to the popular streaming service Netfilx which has earned even greater success with releases of their exclusive movies and television shows. Elimination Chamber is a great way to capitalize on the demand for fresh content since it’s been fifteen months since the last chamber match.
The two chamber matches will be contested for the WWE Tag Team titles and the newly vacant Intercontinental title. There will also be a U.S. title and a WWE World Heavyweight title will be defended on this show which means they are pulling out all the stops to make this more than just a throw away event put together at the last minute.
I like the idea of the tag titles being up for grabs inside the chamber because it creates a whole new dynamic. Instead of six individuals there will be three teams vying for the same prize. This presents the opportunity for a lot of double team spots and increased drama in two on one scenarios, especially when that first inner chamber is opened and it benefits one of the two wrestlers already in the ring.
IMO, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro along with Kofi Kingston of the New Day are a lock to be in this match. While Xavier Woods wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world, the entry of Big E will produce more options with the power moves that come into play. While they just reunited as tag team, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan would be the best fit for this sort of affair, creating carnage in an entertaining fashion, like they have in other matches with hardcore rules.
It will be interesting to see how the eliminations will occur. Will both team members need to be eliminated? Or, will only one member need to be knocked off for the whole team to be eliminated? This was usually the case in traditional Survivor Series matches and Battle Royals that featured tag teams exclusively.
WrestleMania made a strong push towards making the United States and Intercontinental titles relevant again. The injury to Daniel Bryan halted the momentum on the IC title front, but now the chamber match gives WWE a second chance to make a new first impression. On the heel side of things, Sheamus, Stardust, and King Barrett makes the most sense. Dolph Ziggler, Neville, and Dean Ambrose as the babyface entrants almost guarantees this match to be a classic.
WWE needs more heels that matter and having Harper and Rowan win the tag straps would make a statement that these are the new monsters on the block. In the IC title realm, Neville is the perfect choice to exit the chamber as champion. No one would benefit more since putting the belt on any of the other five won’t raise their stock. Neville still has that new car smell and a big time win here would go a long way to making him a star.
The fans in Corpus Christi, Texas must be thrilled with the event upgrade as this was originally scheduled to be just another house show. Even though I’m still going to watch Payback, it seems like a moot point with the Elimination Chamber on the horizon. If a lot of people watch this event and it’s received well, this could lead the way to exclusive live events on WWE Network. Maybe, we will finally get Starrcade or War Games….hey a guy can dream, right?
Updated While this could change, the official website of the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, where RAW will be taking place on 6/15, listed Sheamus as WWE Intercontinental Champion in the official listing of the show. This would seem to spoil Sheamus winning the title at the upcoming Elimination Chamber event.
Hopefully, WWE will change this and I think it would be kind of a downer for Sheamus to win it since his stock as a heel won’t increase one iota, and they just had a heel in Wade Barrett win King of the Ring. However, sometimes, WWE refuses to change their direction once their mind is made up. We shall see.