The Elimination Chamber show has fallen in February for the last five years now and has thus firmly established itself as WrestleMania’s precursory pay-per-view.
That honor was previously held by No Way Out, a 10-year veteran in the pre-WrestleMania calendar slot.
Though the show had no official gimmick, in its later years, it did begin to feature Elimination Chamber matches in its two main event contests. A combination of the brutal match’s popularity and the WWE’s post-2010 obsession with gimmick-themed PPVs saw the event completely rebranded under the moniker of the Chamber match itself.
But was this really the right call from the company’s head honchos?
Make no mistake, I’m not questioning the concept of an Elimination Chamber PPV. Though it’s a shame there are no longer two Chamber matches featured on the card, the event itself remains an enjoyable occasion. And it’s arguable that staging just one bout inside the structure adds to the exclusivity and allure of the gimmick.
What I am questioning, though, is the timing of this PPV.
February is an important PPV slot. Falling smack-bang in the middle of the Road to WrestleMania, it’s paramount that the show effectively adds to the build for the biggest show of the year.
And though the show often achieves that to some extent, I am of the opinion that there are better ways of doing so.
Take this year for example. Of the six men that were involved in the Chamber match, Randy Orton was the only one to have had any prior on-screen interaction (of any significance) with the Royal Rumble winner, Batista. And aside from Batista’s Chamber opponent, Alberto Del Rio, the only other man to have his participation in the WrestleMania main event teased has been Brock Lesnar.
And he wasn’t even in the Elimination Chamber bout!
Apart from the match’s barbarity (which has somewhat diminished in recent years), the big appeal of the Chamber bout has often been the high likelihood of a title change that comes with having five separate challengers.
But were we really ever going to believe that anyone other than Orton was going to emerge from the Chamber with the belts in hand? And do we think there was ever a point in time where the Creative team sat down and said, “What if Cesaro were to walk into ‘Mania as the heavyweight champion of the world?”
The simple answer, most likely, is no.
That’s not to say that Cesaro is undeserving of such an honor—it’s just incredibly improbable that the WWE would have put such faith in the previously untried main eventer ahead of such a landmark PPV.
Had the Chamber match occurred at some other point in the year—May, or October perhaps—then maybe, just maybe, we would have been able to suspend our disbelief for long enough to give the likes of Cesaro and Christian a decent chance of scoring the upset.
But ultimately, the fact that the winner of the Chamber match is pretty much guaranteed to head into WrestleMania as the champ renders such fairytale victories exactly that—a fairytale.
As a result, I believe that the Elimination Chamber should be moved to another time in the WWE calendar.
Perhaps the gimmick could be incorporated into Survivor Series? Or maybe it could feature in those autumnal months that have sometimes felt bland with the arrival of nondescript PPVs such as Battleground?
Either way, I feel that February needs a new PPV.
Remember the days of 2001? When No Way Out produced Triple H vs. Stone Cold in a 2-out-of-3 Falls match and Kurt Angle vs. the Rock for the WWE title—and the latter two wrestlers of each match still managed to put on a great show in what turned out to be one of the greatest main events in WrestleMania history!
And who could forget 2006, when Orton stole Rey Mysterio’s WrestleMania title shot, only for the Luchador to ultimately win the World Heavyweight Championship in one of the most dramatic ‘Mania stories of all time?
And don’t even get me started on 2004’s February PPV...
My point is that sometimes singles matches enable more exciting, unpredictable and entertaining stipulations to be thrown up. As great as it is, the Elimination Chamber gimmick is too rigid to be featured as the pre-WrestleMania PPV, while the bout’s unpredictable element is wasted in such a high-profile slot.
Of course, that’s all just my opinion.
Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts on the article and any of the arguments that I put forward. And, as ever, thanks for reading.