Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
It’s exactly four weeks from WrestleMania and WWE Superstars are looking to stamp their ticket to the year’s biggest event. The last PPV before Tampa threatens to be one of the more brutal events of the year, as the Elimination Chamber looms large for tag teams and the women’s division alike. King Of The Ring Andy Spoors sets the scene…
After a bitterly disappointing show in Saudi Arabia, WWE wasted little time in course correcting and setting plans in action for WrestleMania. However, as has been the case for the entire world, the threat of coronavirus can’t be denied and there will be many nervous fans in attendance and thousands more anxiously waiting on news during the next few weeks.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds have been spent by each of the WWE Universe to fly into Tampa and one month removed from their annual pilgrimage, storylines and feuds will unfortunately be the last thing on their minds. WWE, to their credit, have stated the show will go on until they are told otherwise from higher powers. In the meantime, the company are right to continue as close to business as usual as they possibly can.
Back to the wacky world of sports entertainment and with most of the main event card set for Mania, the card for Elimination Chamber looks to firm up the mid to undercard for the ‘show of shows’. With no scheduled appearances for Roman Reigns, Goldberg, The Undertaker, Edge, Randy Orton, John Cena, The Fiend, Brock Lesnar or Drew McIntyre, Elimination Chamber is the perfect opportunity for someone to step up and force themselves into the hearts of the WWE Universe.
The roster is stacked with talent throughout, so it should be a refreshing turn of pace for the tag division and women’s divisions to get some much-needed time in the spotlight. The first of two Elimination Chamber matches sees the Smackdown Tag Team Championships on the line. To give some context, the Elimination Chamber match consists of a hulking steel structure with four pods surrounded the ring. The match starts with two Superstars (or two teams) in the ring and four other Superstars/teams are contained in the surrounding pods and released at regular intervals. The winner of the match is the last Superstar standing.
One of the curious underlying themes of the night will be the showdown between Otis and Dolph Ziggler. The former has been receiving a groundswell of support from the WWE Universe in his seemingly doomed pursuit of Mandy Rose’s affections, while Dolph has inserted himself into the ‘will they won’t they’ storyline. There is an abundance of talent on display, so expect fireworks throughout that could well set another multi team match at Mania.
The second chamber match will crown a number one contender to Becky Lynch’s Raw Women’s Championship and a guaranteed Mania match to boot. Some of the contenders may not have had an opportunity to showcase their talents on a big stage before, so the experience gained here for the likes of Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan will be invaluable.
There is likely to be two realistic contenders to Lynch’s title, both with roots in NXT. The loud Philly crowd is likely to ramp up the noise when Asuka and Shayna Baszler face off against each other. Asuka was undefeated in her time in NXT – dropping the title to move over to Raw and Smackdown – whereas Baszler has enjoyed a brutal and dominant reign as NXT Women’s Champion since Asuka’s departure.
A somewhat puzzling match up sees Braun Strowman defend his Intercontinental Championship against Sami Zayn and his followers Cesaro and Nakamura. A chance for the Monster Amongst Men to assert his dominance after a lacklustre few months that has seen Strowman relegated to the mid card. The other option is to finally reintroduce Zayn to the ring, following an injury that has seen his contributions limited to manager and mouthpiece to Nakamura.
The self-appointed Monday Night Messiah, Seth Rollins, has been slowly building an epic feud with Kevin Owens in recent months. Owens cost Rollins and his tag partner Murphy their Raw Championships on Monday, so expect The Street Profits to be the beneficiaries of more assistance from KO tonight. WWE seem keen on showcasing Rollins vs Owens at WrestleMania, which is a smart decision. Both are currently on the outskirts of the main event scene, but both are hugely talented with a rivalry that spans back to the independent scene. With only four weeks left to build the rivalry into something fans can be excited for, the pair will need to use every moment they have left between now and April 5.
One of the strangest booking decisions at Super Showdown was The Undertaker’s win over AJ Styles with an awkward looking chokeslam. With Aleister Black going head to head with Styles on Raw and again here in a ‘No DQ’ match, there seems to be a bigger picture at play. All should be revealed shortly, but should The Undertaker show up to make a save for Aleister Black, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that Taker and Black will team up at Mania. The epic entrances of the pair alone are tantalising and could give a huge rub to Black, catapulting him into superstardom.
The last couple of matches on the card, see Daniel Bryan face off against Drew Gulak and the US Championship on the line as Andrade defends against Humberto Carrillo. Bryan seems to be happy working his way back up the ranks, while shining a light on under-utilized talent in the company.
After serving a 30-day suspension, Andrade will pick up his rivalry with Carrillo in what should be a high flying and franticly paced bout. Both have experience in Lucha style wrestling, so those watching can settle in for a Mexican masterclass.
Full card and Rushonrock Predictions:
Women’s Elimination Chamber Match (Winner faces Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch at WrestleMania) (Shayna Baszler vs. Ruby Riott vs. Natalya vs. Sarah Logan vs. Liv Morgan vs. Asuka)
Reese: Shayna Baszler
John: Shayna Baszler
Andy: Shayna Baszler
Intercontinental Champion Braun Strowman vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro & Sami Zayn (3-on-1 Handicap Match)
Reese: Braun Strowman
John: Braun Strowman
Andy: Braun Strowman
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber Match (The Usos vs. Roode & Ziggler vs. Heavy Machinery vs. Lucha House Party vs. The New Day vs. John Morrison and The Miz)
Reese: Roode & Ziggler
John: Morrison and Miz
Andy: Morrison and Miz
Aleister Black vs. AJ Styles (No Disqualification Match)
Reese: AJ Styles
John: Aleister Black
Andy: Aleister Black (With Undertaker Appearance)
Raw Tag Team Champions The Street Profits vs. Seth Rollins & Murphy
Reese: Seth Rollins and Murphy
John: Street Profits
Andy: Street Profits
United States Champion Andrade vs. Humberto Carrillo
Daniel Bryan vs Drew Gulak
Reese: Daniel Bryan
John: Daniel Bryan
Andy: Daniel Bryan
*Main image courtesy of WWE