WWE Elimination Chamber 2014: Superstars Who Will Exceed Expectations
The quality of any WWE pay-per-view is based on the overall quality of the matches, the individual performances that capture the attention of the audience and the booking decisions that dictate storyline directions.
While the Superstars competing between the ropes have very little say in said booking decisions, they are directly responsible for the quality of their matches and the performances they deliver from bell to bell.
Certain performers are expected to deliver in big spots. John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton have made reputations for themselves by giving fans everything they have in high-profile matches.
But every month, there are a handful of stars who come from out of nowhere to really captivate audiences and win themselves favor with management by exceeding expectations set for them and stealing the thunder from their more talked-about peers.
With only three matches announced for February 23's Elimination Chamber PPV, here is a look at four Superstars prepared to exceed expectations and shine in front of an international audience.
The Swiss-born Superstar will enter his first Elimination Chamber match on February 23. The pressure of that match alone would be enough to make some Superstars crumble.
The fact that it is also the first main event and first WWE championship opportunity in the career of Antonio Cesaro only enhances the importance of the match for the former United States champion.
Cesaro has the height and physique of a main event star. There are few who can match him in terms of pure wrestling ability. His one weakness to this point has been his substandard mic skills, which have been masked by his association with Zeb Colter.
Come Elimination Chamber, expect to see a determined Cesaro who has nothing to lose and everything to gain. He will be driven to prove that he can not only thrive in a main event match, but he can also hang with some of the best and most decorated champions in WWE history while doing so.
And as he does just that, he will exceed the expectations that even the most avid fan of the former Ring of Honor standout has set for him.
The Celtic Warrior has made a career out of exceeding expectations.
While most thought of him as a jacked-up big man who could not work when he first debuted with WWE in 2009, Sheamus has developed into a tremendous worker who has proven his talent against every one of his Elimination Chamber opponents over the course of five years.
The majority of the attention heading into Elimination Chamber may be on John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton, but don't be surprised if Sheamus ends up stealing the match out from underneath them, becoming the most talked-about Superstar in the contest and delivering the best performance of the match.
He will not leave the event with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but he will leave an impression on fans and perhaps management.
Michael Cole has dubbed Seth Rollins "The Architect" of The Shield, and for good reason.
Rollins, despite being pushed to the forefront less than his teammates, is the workhorse of the group. He takes the most punishment of the group, but he is also the one who carries the action. He is an incredibly underrated talent given the work he puts into each and every match he is involved in.
With such a huge six-man tag match against the Wyatt Family upcoming at Elimination Chamber, Rollins will likely find himself at the center of the action as he is asked to bump around the ring for the larger Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Bray Wyatt.
As seen on Monday night's Raw, it appears as though The Shield are being positioned as the babyfaces of the match, and as such, one of their members will be asked to play the face-in-peril role. Expect that to be Rollins.
Though Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose are likely to steal the headlines thanks to a breakup angle, it will be Rollins who will earn the respect of the fans for greatly contributing to the quality of the match.
The Animal has been one of the more polarizing stars in wrestling over the last month, and that has a lot to do with the way fans perceive him.
Like The Rock and Brock Lesnar, he is looked at as a Superstar who has returned for a big paycheck courtesy of a high-profile WrestleMania match.
Unlike those two performers, however, Batista has been part of WWE television every week since his return and is working the February B-level PPV in a largely meaningless match against Alberto Del Rio.
After being the recipient of the vocal discontent of the WWE Universe since Royal Rumble, Batista will be determined to prove himself between the ropes in an attempt to silence his naysayers and critics. He is lucky enough to have drawn an opponent like Del Rio, who is among the best workers in the sport.
If the two can work together, their match could be one of the bigger surprises of the night.
Considering the fact that Batista is badly in need of a performance that wins over the audience, he will far exceed the low expectations of the WWE Universe and deliver a performance that reminds fans of why he was considered one of the better "big man" performers in WWE history.