WWE Elimination Chamber 2014: GSM's Pick, Preview and Potential for Each Match
In mere hours, WWE will present its fifth annual Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event, live from the Target Center in Minneapolis at 8 p.m. ET.
As the final pit stop before WrestleMania 30, Sunday's Elimination Chamber holds major importance and will set the stage for the Show of Shows on April 6. With seven matches being advertised for tonight's show, each contest looks to be enjoyable in its own right.
The event will be headlined by an Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Which one of these six valiant competitors will be the one to advance to the main event of WrestleMania with the prestigious prize around their waist?
In a massive six-man tag team match, The Shield will collide with The Wyatt Family for the first time ever. Will the recently teased tension among the members of The Shield allow The Wyatt Family to capitalize and score the victory?
Batista will compete in his first singles match in nearly four months against Alberto Del Rio. Will the 2014 Royal Rumble winner continue his strong momentum, or will Del Rio find a way to reign supreme?
Here, I will provide my personal preview, prediction and potential for every match on the advertised card.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. Curtis Axel and Ryback (Kickoff Match)
Preview: On the February 14 edition of SmackDown, Cody Rhodes and Goldust paired up with The Usos to defeat the team of Curtis Axel, Ryback and The New Age Outlaws in an eight-man tag team match. It was announced on the following edition of Raw that the two teams would square off on the Elimination Chamber pre-show.
Prediction: It is a shame to see how far Cody and Goldust have fallen in such a short period of time. They were the reigning WWE Tag Team champions not even one month ago and are now nothing more than enhancement talent to The New Age Outlaws, The Shield and The Wyatt Family. They were lighting the tag team division on fire, and I had hoped that they would still have a prominent place on television even after they dropped the straps.
The only positive to them not being title holders is that it opens up the opportunity to face each other at WrestleMania 30, which I don't know if that is even in the cards right now. Either way, Ryback and Axel are a joke of a tag team and are in no way, shape or form winning here.
Potential: These two teams have had matches against each other in the past, but I don't remember any of them being particularly excellent. I am sure they were exceptional, but they surely weren't memorable.
This match should be decent at best, but I doubt many people will care. It doesn't help that WWE did nothing to make this match mean something in the week leading up to the event.
Darren Young vs. Titus O'Neil
Preview: After tag teaming together for two years, Titus O'Neil shockingly turned on Darren Young on the January 31 edition of SmackDown. Since then, the two have been involved in a bitter rivalry leading up to their one-on-one encounter at Elimination Chamber.
Prediction: I personally think it was way too soon to split up The Prime Time Players, especially right before WrestleMania. I know Batista is a huge supporter of O'Neil, which explains why he is in the midst of getting pushed as a singles star, but the timing wasn't right, and the duo should have won the WWE Tag Team Championships at least once before parting ways.
WWE obviously has big plans for O'Neil, but the fact that he hasn't gotten the upper hand at all in this feud thus far is strange. Hopefully this doesn't end the same way the Cryme Tyme feud did four years back. Nonetheless, expect an O'Neil victory here.
Potential: O'Neil and Young had a series of matches against each other in 2011 and 2012 on NXT: Redemption, all of which were half-decent. This time, though, the roles will be reversed.
The match might be well-wrestled and all, but since the feud has been primarily featured on SmackDown and not Raw, I don't think most of the fans in attendance will care about either competitor.
The New Age Outlaws vs. The Usos (WWE Tag Team Championships)
Preview: On the February 14 edition of SmackDown, The Usos were successful in defeating WWE Tag Team champions The New Age Outlaws in an eight-man tag team match. After Jey and Jimmy Uso defeated Billy Gunn and Road Dogg in singles action on Raw and SmackDown, respectively, this past week, a match was made for the Elimination Chamber with the Tag Team titles up for grabs.
Prediction: Having been in WWE in nearly four years, it is amazing to think that The Usos have yet to win the straps. They have come close on several occasions, but not close enough. That being said, due to how over they are at the moment, I want their eventual Tag Team title win to come on a much bigger stage at WrestleMania 30, not at Elimination Chamber, where it will be forgotten about.
Unlike most people, I don't have an issue with The New Age Outlaws as champs, as long as it is only a short-term thing. Since The Usos have gotten all the momentum thus far, The New Age Outlaws will win on Sunday, but the title chase for The Usos will continue.
Potential: The New Age Outlaws' matches since returning in January have been either hit or miss most weeks, with their series of matches against the Rhodes brothers being exceptional. I surely hope that The Usos will manage to get a good match out of them; otherwise, this whole thing will be a massive train wreck. If they can find chemistry, it could be a fun match.
Big E vs. Jack Swagger (Intercontinental Championship)
Preview: After failing to qualify for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber match, Jack Swagger felt he had something to prove to his mentor Zeb Colter. He did so on the February 14 edition of SmackDown, winning a Fatal 4-Way against three established competitors to become the No. 1 contender to the Intercontinental Championship. Swagger and Big E crossed paths this week on Raw, but it remains to be seen who the superior athlete of the two really is.
Prediction: Big E's Intercontinental title reign started off strong with title defenses against the likes of Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow and Fandango, but he seemingly fell of the face of the earth coming into the new year.
Swagger has found his niche in The Real Americans tag team, but he could not mean any less at the moment as a singles competitor. As much as I like Big E with the belt, WWE hasn't utilized him at all as of late, and a title win for Swagger could set something up with Cesaro at WrestleMania 30.
Potential: Swagger and Big E faced off once or twice last spring, but aside from that, they haven't clashed much at all as of late, so the match will be something new at least. They can both hold their own in the ring, so it should be a very physical contest given their respective styles. I don't see it being a match-of-the-night contender or anything, but it could be a nice filler match if given substantial time.
Batista vs. Alberto Del Rio
Preview: After it was initially announced that Batista would be returning to WWE in the new year, Alberto Del Rio took it to Twitter and bashed the former multitime WWE champion. Del Rio's Twitter tirade earned him a Batista Bomb at the hands of The Animal himself on the Jan. 20 Raw. The two continued to trade insults in the weeks that followed, leading to Batista planting Del Rio through a commentary table earlier this month.
Prediction: There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Batista is going over here. The only issue is that this feud has been completely one-sided over the last month, and thus no one has any reason to believe that Del Rio will win. Batista is headed to the main event of WrestleMania 30 for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, while Del Rio looks to be on his way out of the company, so the latter coming out with a win here would be asinine. The rivalry has been one giant flop, and I am anxious for it to finally conclude on this show.
Potential: Although Batista participated in the 2014 Royal Rumble match last month, it wasn't for very long, so we weren't able to see how much ring rust he has on him. This will be his first singles match since 2010, so it will be interesting to see if Del Rio can get a good match out of him here. With any luck, the live crowd won't completely crap all over this contest given who's involved, but I'm not holding my breath.
The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family
Preview: On the Nov. 11 edition of Raw, The Shield and The Wyatt Family came face-to-face for the first time ever and briefly brawled before aligning against CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, planting the seeds for their eventual feud. It wasn't until the night after the Royal Rumble that they clashed once again, when The Wyatt Family inadvertently cost The Shield its match via disqualification by attacking John Cena.
Since then, the two trios have warned each other of how they are the single-most dominant force in WWE. They came face-to-face on several occasions but didn't come to blows until this past week on Raw, giving viewers a preview of what's to come at Elimination Chamber.
Prediction: I have been anticipating this match since The Wyatt Family arrived on the scene last July, and I must say that WWE has done an excellent job of keeping the two groups apart since then. The back-and-forth promos from both groups in the last month have been fantastic and have left the fans really wanting to see them square off.
The Wyatt Family is a relatively fresher act and look to be feuding with John Cena going into WrestleMania, so they are the logical winners in this scenario. The Shield appears to be on the verge of splitting, so it wouldn't surprise me if Dean Ambrose turned on Roman Reigns here to cost his team the win.
Potential: Normally, heel vs. heel matches don't work because fans don't have anyone to cheer for, but audiences have been very much into both acts, so I don't see that being a problem here. The members of The Shield have been the babyfaces by default in this feud, so if anything, they will be the ones getting cheered, particularly Roman Reigns. All six men are great workers, and neither stable has had a bad six-man tag match to date, so the dynamic is intriguing, and I look forward to it.
Elimination Chamber Match (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
Preview: Since the event's inception in 2010, Elimination Chamber has always played host to the match of the same name. At this year's installment, six of WWE's biggest and brightest stars will clash for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The winner of this grueling match will advance to the main event of WrestleMania 30 to defend their title against the 2014 Royal Rumble winner, Batista.
Prediction: Despite there being six competitors, there aren't many logical scenarios. There is absolutely no way that Christian wins this thing, though I do appreciate him evolving his character by becoming more aggressive lately. Cesaro has been on a roll lately and should have a stellar performance in this match, but I don't expect him to win the title.
Sheamus emerging victorious wouldn't make sense, and John Cena seems to be headed toward a non-title match with Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 30. So, that leaves Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton.
As much as I would love to see Bryan pull out the victory here, I just don't see it happening, but at least WWE has given him every out to lose by having Kane injure him this past week. Sure, Orton retaining his title is predictable, but Batista winning the Rumble was predictable, and that didn't seem to stop WWE from changing its mind.
Potential: Given the immense amount of talent involved in this match, it has the potential to be one of the best Chamber matches in history. All six Superstars are great wrestlers and have had stellar matches in the last few weeks, so I expect them to have a show-stealing performance inside Satan's Prison. It is also good to see a Chamber match headlining this pay-per-view for the first time since 2011.
Read more prediction pieces for past WWE pay-per-views here.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.