WWE Elimination Chamber 2012 Results: 10 Matches We Must Get at WrestleMania 28
Gas up your car and pack your bags because it's almost WrestleMania time.
Tonight's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view was the last official stop on the road to the WWE's biggest pay-per-view of the year, and it definitely helped make future creative plans a little clearer.
It looks like we're headed for a number of great matches in Miami, with WrestleMania 28 shaping up to have one heck of a card.
Of course, that could all change by the time April 1st rolls around, but that won't stop me from taking a look at a realistic possible lineup for WrestleMania 28.
Here are 10 matches we need to see on the grandest stage of them all.
10. Intercontinental Championship: Cody Rhodes vs. Santino Marella
Holy crap. Is Santino Marella over or what?
The fans are behind him more than any comedy figure I can ever remember, and though I've always been a big supporter of his, even I am shocked by how much the crowd loves him.
Santino had the full support of the fans at tonight's pay-per-view, and they went absolutely bonkers for everything he did, like when he eliminated Cody Rhodes from Smackdown's Elimination Chamber match.
I thought Rhodes might have been headed for a WrestleMania match with Goldust, but since their beef hasn't been addressed in weeks, I say why not have Rhodes target the man who crushed his dreams of becoming a duel World and Intercontinental Champion?
It doesn't look like Rhodes is going to have a high-profile match at Mania, so having him beat Santino in a surprisingly good wrestling match could be a lot of fun.
9. Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio
There's been no indication that we'll see Rey Mysterio feuding with Alberto Del Rio on WWE TV anytime soon, but the stars are certainly aligned for it.
ADR made his return from injury tonight, and Mysterio is still out recovering from knee surgery last summer.
And who "injured" Mysterio and caused him to undergo that surgery? Oh yeah, it was Del Rio.
I know we've seen Mysterio vs. ADR a number of times before, but it would make sense for Mysterio to return and target Del Rio for putting him on the shelf and almost ending his career.
Mysterio has stated numerous times that his goal is to return by WrestleMania 28, so that return might just happen when he gets his revenge on the Mexican Aristocrat.
I'm all for it because a bout like this could vastly improve the undercard.
8. The Big Show vs. Shaquille O'Neal
Although we haven't seen any interaction between Shaquille O'Neal and The Big Show for a couple of years now, it is reportedly "a done deal" that they will have a match at WrestleMania 28.
And you won't hear any complains from me about it.
I know many wrestling fans don't like the idea of a big man vs. big man bout, a celebrity match or a mixture of both like this would be, but I think it's a great way to generate more interest in the PPV from both casual wrestling fans and sports fans.
There is going to be some sort of celebrity involvement at Mania no matter what, so why not Shaq?
He's a former professional athlete who just retired and has a ton of appeal and name recognition, which means that he's going to be a better fit for a WrestleMania match than just about any other celebrity.
Shaq vs. Big Show in the city where Shaq won an NBA title equals an increased PPV buyrate.
7. Kane vs. Zack Ryder
Kane has been tormenting Ryder for two months now, and he's attacked him what seems like 837 times, with the last major attack seeing Ryder take that nasty bump off the Raw stage.
Ryder has basically been Kane's punching bag, with the only match between the two being a Falls Count Anywhere Match that wasn't a match so much as it was a total beatdown of Ryder.
"Long Island Iced Z" hasn't really been able to get his hands on Kane in retaliation yet, but that should all change at WrestleMania 28.
I'm assuming Ryder won't be on crutches and in a back brace by then, and instead, he'll be ready to get revenge on Kane for everything The Big Red Monster has put him through.
Works for me because a big win over Kane at Mania could do wonders for Ryder's career.
6. Team Laurinaitis vs. Team Long (Winner Becomes GM of Both Shows)
At tonight's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, we saw John Laurinaitis start his campaign to take over as Smackdown General Manager (in addition to his Raw duties), and he had the support of Mark Henry, Christian and Alberto Del Rio.
I can't help but think that this was done for a very specific reason.
Laurinaitis has gotten over in a big way as the interim Raw GM, and Teddy Long is about as stale as they come in his current role as the Smackdown GM. It's time for Long to go, and this could be the WWE's way of replacing him.
You have Team Laurinaitis (the heel trio of Henry, ADR and Christian) vs. Team Long (three baby faces, such as a returning Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, etc.), with the stipulation being that Laurinaitis will take over as GM of Smackdown if his team wins, and vice versa.
This is basically a match for stars who won't have legit feuds come WrestleMania, but it could be fun, especially if the Money in the Bank match doesn't return to its home.
5. The Undertaker vs. Triple H, with Shawn Michaels as Special Guest Referee
When rumors first started floating around of an Undertaker/Triple H rematch, I wasn't all that excited about it.
Then, Shawn Michaels returned to the WWE last week and upped my interest like a thousand percent after that great promo with his long-time friend Triple H.
Though HBK was involved in the feud between The Game and The Phenom in 2011, it appears as if he's going to play an even bigger role in their feud this time around, likely as the special guest referee of their match at WrestleMania 28.
I dig it.
It would be stupid booking to have Undertaker face an up-and-comer on the grandest stage of them all (like many of us want him to), only for him to beat that superstar and kill his momentum.
Having Taker beat Triple H for the second year in a row won't hurt the WWE's future, but at the same time, it will add another great wrestling match to the card. Not to mention that Michaels' addition to the match makes it even more interesting.
Call it a win-win for me.
4. Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix vs. Kharma
Kharma didn't make an appearance at Elimination Chamber like many were hoping she would, but that doesn't change the fact that a dream scenario for many wrestling fans has the former Awesome Kong taking on Beth Phoenix for the Divas Championship at WrestleMania 28.
Beth vs. Kharma is undoubtedly the most marketable Divas match that the WWE could put on right now, and the build to it would be relatively easy.
The Glamazon has gone on record saying that she has "no more competition" left in the Divas division, but it seems like she's forgotten about Kharma.
Given her lengthy absence (her short Royal Rumble appearance aside) from WWE TV, Kharma's pretty much a lock to return as a baby face and finally give Beth some "competition."
I've got this bout penciled in for Mania, though I wouldn't be surprised if Natalya and/or Layla are added to the match as well.
3. The Return of Money in the Bank
The Elimination Chamber pay-per-view showed that there are a ton of mid-carders and main eventers who have no feuds lined up for them in the immediate future.
Guys like Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Wade Barrett and others are sort of just there, with big roles on WWE TV but ones that aren't clearly defined.
Say hello to the Money in the Bank match, guys.
The MITB match has been rumored to be moving back to WrestleMania for a couple of months now, and with a bunch of big names in need of feuds, there's no reason why we shouldn't see one of the most exciting matches in WWE history back on the grandest stage of them all.
The WWE should take six or eight (10 is way too many) of these guys and let them battle it out for that coveted briefcase in the opening match of WrestleMania 28.
2. World Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus vs. Randy Orton
Sheamus made his intentions pretty clear tonight: He's going to challenge Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 28.
Oddly enough, these two faced off in the dark match at WrestleMania 27. But things are much different this time around, with Sheamus now a face, Bryan now a heel and the World title on the line instead of the United States Championship.
The interesting thing about potentially seeing Bryan vs. Sheamus in singles action at Mania, though, is that we just saw this bout on Smackdown last week, and the WWE might want to change things up a bit.
That's why I think we'll see Randy Orton thrown into the mix.
Orton seemed to start a feud with Bryan on Smackdown two weeks ago, but was not medically cleared to compete at tonight's PPV and thus, probably feels entitled to a World title shot.
I think he gets it at WrestleMania 28 (somehow, some way), when the World Heavyweight title is defended in a Triple Threat Match.
1. WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
We've been clamoring for CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho, and we're going to get it.
Although Punk's win at tonight's pay-per-view was somewhat controversial due to Jericho's "injury," this angle was obviously done to set up a clash between "the best in the world at what I do" and "the best wrestler in the world."
Punk retained his WWE Championship in Raw's Elimination Chamber, but Jericho never actually got eliminated from the match.
And there's a reason why: Jericho will use that as his reasoning to earn a WWE title shot at WrestleMania 28.
The booking of this match was smart because it protected Jericho in a big way while still making Punk look strong, thus giving both guys a ton of momentum as we head toward what should be a fantastic WWE Championship match in Miami.