WWE Elimination Chamber 2013: Handicapping No. 1 Contender Chamber Match Field
Betting on professional sports is one of the world's oldest pastimes, but one aspect of that which is fairly new is betting on wrestling. I wouldn't say that wrestling betting is rampant, but several sportsbooks now offer WWE betting lines for pay-per-views. Few matches are more receptive to bets than the Elimination Chamber match.
The Royal Rumble is probably the most-bet-on match in professional wrestling due to the large field, and WrestleMania gets a lot of play as well as it is the Super Bowl of wrestling. Aside from those two events, I have to believe that the Elimination Chamber match is among the bettors' favorites. The match is often unpredictable and it features six top stars, so there are a lot of possibilities.
This year's chamber match is even tougher to call than usual as there is no title on the line. The incumbent champion usually has the advantage from a storyline standpoint, but that won't come into play on Sunday. Randy Orton, Jack Swagger, Chris Jericho, Mark Henry, Kane and Daniel Bryan will do battle in the demonic structure to earn a World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania.
The following are my personal betting odds for those involved in the chamber match. These odds aren't taken from any sportsbooks, rather they are based off my own opinion with regards to each superstar's chances of winning.
Real odds are likely to be released in the coming days, so don't hesitate to use this article as a guide if you plan on placing a bet.
Photo courtesy of WWE.com
There is no doubt that Kane adds some credibility to the Elimination Chamber match as he is a wily veteran who has held countless championships in the WWE, but he isn't much of a threat to prevail on Sunday.
The fact that Kane is still one half of the Tag Team Champions with Daniel Bryan obviously complicates matters, but even if he weren't tied down by a title, I don't believe Kane would be considered much for the No. 1 contender position.
Kane had a nice World title run a couple years ago, and while I can't say for certain that it was his last, he really doesn't need to be around the WWE's top titles in order to make an impact. He has been great for the tag-team division as he and Bryan have helped build it from the ground up.
When their partnership inevitably dissolves, Kane can move on to the mid-card and put over younger wrestlers who need the rub. His resume suggests that he is world champion material; however, he is better utilized in other roles.
I have no problem with Kane being in this match because his partner was already in it and he wouldn't have had anything to do otherwise. Also, Kane is a destructive force who will add another dimension to the match.
I believe Kane is far better than Big Show, but when Big Show was in the chamber last year, he made Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett look good as they eliminated him. Perhaps Kane can do something similar for a guy like Jack Swagger this year.
It is also almost guaranteed that Kane and Bryan will get into an argument of some kind that could easily lead to one or both of them being eliminated. Team Hell No is on the verge of breaking up and that will be the focus during the road to WrestleMania rather than one of them chasing the world title.
Daniel Bryan (18/1)
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Like Kane, Daniel Bryan's potential to win this match is damaged by the Tag Team Championship around his waist. I wouldn't say that the title totally disqualifies Bryan from winning the Elimination Chamber, but it certainly doesn't help him.
With that said, Bryan does have a slightly better chance of prevailing than The Big Red Monster. Bryan is much younger, and even though he has been world champion before, he has many more reigns in his future. Perhaps the WWE could use Bryan winning the chamber as a catalyst for Team Hell No's breakup.
After all, Bryan constantly has great matches, gets a huge reaction constantly and is capable of playing the heel or face role depending on who is the World Heavyweight Champion heading into WrestleMania.
The two potential world champions are Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler, and Bryan could have an incredible program with either of them. That alone prevents me from saying that Bryan has no chance to win, but he is still a long shot at best.
Bryan won the SmackDown Elimination Chamber last year, and that makes him appear as an obvious threat, but a threat is all Bryan will ultimately be. Team Hell No has never been a stable team, however, there has been a lot of tension between them as of late.
Bryan eliminated Kane from the Royal Rumble and they have involved themselves in each other's matches in recent weeks, so their involvement in the Elimination Chamber has little to do with becoming No. 1 contender.
Kane and Bryan are going to mix it up in the chamber and that will essentially ruin their chances of winning. As a fan, I would definitely love to see Bryan challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. He is extremely entertaining and gets better with each passing week, but he is wrapped up in another storyline that has to play out first.
Jack Swagger (12/1)
Photo courtesy of WWE.com
Since returning from a five-month hiatus, there is no question that Jack Swagger has been impressive. Perhaps his gimmick hasn't changed as much as many hoped it would, but at least the WWE has finally decided to make him look like a legitimate superstar rather than a jobber.
Add in the presence of Swagger's new manager, Dutch Mantel, and he is suddenly a very intriguing character who could conceivably find his way into the World Heavyweight Championship mix.
Swagger is a former World champion in his own right and he once appeared to have a ton of potential. He has ideal size, a good look and impeccable wrestling skills for a big man, but he has been betrayed by the writers on a number of occasions.
Swagger was made to look weaker than perhaps any World champion in WWE history when he won the title and he never recovered. Swagger eventually became a joke who went on a three-month losing streak prior to taking some time off.
Luckily, the WWE once again realizes what it has in Swagger and seems to be grooming him. The biggest criticism of Swagger has always been his struggles on the mic, and while I believe he is better in that regard than most give him credit for, there is no doubt that he will benefit from his new mouthpiece.
Swagger can now focus on being a vicious in-ring competitor and that should take him a long way. Whether that leads to a win at Elimination Chamber is uncertain.
My guess is that Swagger won't win because I'm not sure the fans have responded enough to him, and that might give the WWE some pause when it comes to putting him in a main-event match at WrestleMania.
At the same time, I feel very strongly that Swagger will feud with Alberto Del Rio. Swagger's character now resembles that of a Southern conservative, so Del Rio is a natural rival due to his Mexican roots.
I do expect Dolph Ziggler to cash in on Del Rio, though, making Swagger a non-factor. If Del Rio keeps the title, however, Swagger is definitely an option.
If you're looking to bet on a longer shot rather than one of the favorites, then Swagger is definitely the guy I would recommend.
Randy Orton (7/1)
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At this time one week ago, Randy Orton was definitely the favorite to win the Elimination Chamber match and become No. 1 contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. As we have seen many times over the years, however, a lot can change in the WWE in one week.
Quite a bit of star power was added to the Chamber on Raw and last week on SmackDown, and that suddenly leaves The Viper in the middle of the pack. Orton hasn't had a singles match for the world title since Hell in a Cell 2011, so he is long overdue, but a win doesn't appear to be in the cards.
The biggest factors going against Orton at the moment are his potential opponents. As I have already mentioned, the winner of the Elimination Chamber match will probably face Alberto Del Rio or Dolph Ziggler at WrestleMania.
Orton is capable of having a great match with either of them, but he has faced them on many occasions already. Orton feuded with Del Rio just before Del Rio's face turn and Orton has gone at it with Ziggler so many times on Raw and SmackDown that I've lost count.
Repeat matches aren't necessarily a bad thing all the time, but they would be in this situation. I'm not much of an Orton fan, but I value his in-ring work and his pedigree. He has accomplished a lot in the WWE and probably deserves to be back in the main-event scene.
With that said, the logistics are working against him right now. The mere fact that his name is Randy Orton makes him a threat in the Elimination Chamber, but it won't be enough to get him a win.
Truth be told, I firmly believe that Jack Swagger is more likely to win the match than Orton is. Due to the fact that Orton will unquestionably get more play from bettors, though, his odds are lower in order to entice more cash flow.
There just isn't an obvious feud on the table for The Viper that includes the World Heavyweight Championship. Right now the best move for Orton would be a heel turn and a potential match with Sheamus.
That would be just as big as any world title match and it could possibly get him back on track moving forward.
Mark Henry (7/2)
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From the very moment that Mark Henry made his return from injury on Raw last week, it was clear that he was a prime candidate to enter and win the Elimination Chamber match. Henry missed nearly 10 months of action, but it hardly missed a beat last Monday when he took out Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara.
Henry's decimation was so severe that he knocked Mysterio out of the Chamber match altogether. Henry is already on an unbelievable roll and that makes him one of the favorites to prevail on Sunday.
I was lukewarm on Henry for the vast majority of his WWE career, but something clicked for him during the summer of 2011. Henry had been misused for much of his tenure with the company and was often saddled with ridiculous gimmicks such as Sexual Chocolate.
For a wrestler that has long been labeled The World's Strongest Man, such cutesy gimmicks never made much sense to me. Henry should be a ruthless monster hell-bent on destruction, and that is precisely what he is right now.
Henry's two-month run with the World Heavyweight Championship in late 2011 was extremely entertaining and I certainly wouldn't mind seeing another reign. He obviously lacks a lot when it comes to in-ring work, but his promos are great and his character is essentially flawless.
I can live with some plodding matches if it means Henry is featured more prominently. The fact that Henry beat Randy Orton cleanly on SmackDown is also a telltale sign that there are some big plans for him.
If Alberto Del Rio retains the World Heavyweight Championship against Big Show at Elimination Chamber and Dolph Ziggler decides to not cash in his Money in the Bank contract, Henry will win the Chamber match.
He has a ton of momentum and the WWE would be wise to capitalize on it. It all comes down to who is holding the world title, though. A Henry vs. Del Rio feud could potentially be good for both men and I wouldn't mind seeing it during the lead up to WrestleMania.
Chris Jericho (3/1)
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It didn't appear as though the WWE had any intention of placing Chris Jericho in the Elimination Chamber, but as the WWE so often does, it pulled a swerve with Jericho and put him in the match after he defeated Daniel Bryan on Raw.
Jericho has been unbelievable since returning as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble. He lasted over 40 minutes in that bout and has had spectacular matches on Raw each of the past two weeks against CM Punk and Bryan. The fans are also loving Y2J, so the WWE needs to utilize him correctly.
I can't imagine that Jericho would have come back without a strong plan being in place for him, so I have no problem calling him the odds-on favorite to win the Elimination Chamber. Jericho has been in more chamber matches than anyone and he has won in the past, so he is even the favorite from a storyline perspective, although Mark Henry is obviously a huge hurdle to clear.
Due to the fact that I feel very strongly that Dolph Ziggler will successfully cash in his Money in the Bank contract on Alberto Del Rio at Elimination Chamber, Jericho is my pick to win on Sunday.
Since Ziggler isn't part of the Elimination Chamber card, he has to get involved in some way. Del Rio is set to defend his title against Big Show at the pay-per-view, and while he is virtually guaranteed to retain, the angry giant will probably assault him after the match.
That will open the door for Ziggler to become the new World Heavyweight Champion. If that is the case, then Jericho is an obvious WrestleMania opponent, as their feud dates back to last summer.
Ziggler and Jericho had a match at SummerSlam, which was won by Jericho, and Ziggler proceeded to beat him the next night, which resulted in Jericho being "fired" from the company. Their rivalry resumed at the Royal Rumble and it has been present ever since.
Not only do Ziggler and Jericho have history, but their match at WrestleMania would likely be fantastic and could even steal the show. I get the feeling that Jericho really likes Ziggler and wants to put him over the right way.
There is no better way to do that than for Jericho to win the Elimination Chamber and lose to Ziggler at WrestleMania.