Ranking the Odds for All 6 Men in the 2021 SmackDown Elimination Chamber Match
This Sunday at Elimination Chamber, not only will the WWE Championship be on the line in one of the titular cage matches, but there will also be implications for the universal title.
In a twist from the usual formula, the SmackDown men's match won't provide a championship challenge at WrestleMania 37. Instead, the winner will have their match against Roman Reigns on the same night.
It's a near-impossible task for any Superstar to accomplish, but one of the six contenders will find themselves in that position on Sunday.
Who has the best chance of winning and then going on to fight The Tribal Chief at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view? Let's rank all the competitors and try to predict who will stand tall inside WWE's most dangerous structure.
6. Jey Uso
- He is a heel and it makes more sense for a babyface to fight The Tribal Chief.
- He has already had several matches with Reigns, rendering it just another contest offering no progression.
- He is an ally of Reigns. There's no reason he'd want to fight him after being converted to his side.
By far, the least likely option is Jey Uso for a multitude of reasons, including:
Nothing has indicated that Uso has any plans to turn on his cousin. With so many other options available, this is the least believable scenario.
5. King Corbin
Only slightly above Uso on this list is King Corbin, as there's little reason to believe he'll win on Sunday night.
The Lone Wolf is also a heel and there has been absolutely no indication he's heading toward a feud with Reigns. Corbin hasn't had much direction at all as of late other than fighting Dominik and Rey Mysterio.
Heel vs. heel can work in some scenarios, but this setup of Reigns getting a cheap title defense after someone goes through a grueling contest doesn't fit someone like Corbin. It needs a more sympathetic character.
The only thing putting Corbin above Uso on our list is that he doesn't have any allegiances to The Tribal Chief that would get in the way of them fighting each other.
4. Sami Zayn
While Sami Zayn also runs into the heel vs. heel problem, he does have one element working in his favor: his tendency to blame everything on a conspiracy theory.
It would be in his nature to win the Elimination Chamber match, immediately lose to Reigns and be livid about how the whole thing was a setup.
However, since the idea behind the Universal Championship match taking place after the Elimination Chamber contest is clearly a ploy in Reigns' favor, Zayn would actually be right about a conspiracy theory, which flies in the face of what his character is all about.
The Great Liberator is a delusional villain who makes up excuses for his losses. If he was right about something, it would make him more of a babyface and his character would deteriorate.
3. Kevin Owens
The top half of our list consists of babyfaces, so they all stand a chance of winning the Elimination Chamber by virtue of being a hero to clash with SmackDown's top villain.
Kevin Owens is a smart bet because of his recurring feud with Reigns. Through all their encounters, The Tribal Chief has beaten KO via nefarious means.
It can be argued that until Reigns beats The Prizefighter clean, this feud won't have a proper ending.
However, WWE doesn't always wrap things up in a neat little bow. Stories are dropped out of nowhere with no resolution, while some things just fizzle out. More often than not, moving on to a new story and simply forgetting there was no ending is the best fans can hope for.
However, KO has had enough title shots. Going back to another repeat of the "Owens got screwed out of a proper match with Reigns with a real ending" tale is beating the same drum too many times.
It's not impossible WWE keeps the feud going, but it's just so uninspired as a storyline.
2. Daniel Bryan
By almost all means, Daniel Bryan should be everyone's favorite to win Sunday's Elimination Chamber. He checks off all the boxes necessary for the best story to be told.
The ideal situation is for a babyface to go through the grueling cage match and be entirely spent. Then, Reigns will try to take out his opponent in quick fashion, only to find out his challenger has more grit and determination than expected.
Bryan has proved in the past he's the type of competitor who can go the distance. He holds the record for the longest time in a Royal Rumble match, and he defeated Triple H to earn a shot to beat Batista and Randy Orton later in the same night at WrestleMania 30.
Since 2015, fans have wanted Bryan to be the top guy in WWE, while the company chose to anoint Reigns. There's a story there, and The Yes Man should get a shot at the title.
Defeating a fan favorite who has already endured the Elimination Chamber would give The Tribal Chief major heat, as the WWE Universe would be firmly behind Bryan.
But there's still one person who may stand a better chance to win Sunday's Elimination Chamber match, despite all signs pointing toward Bryan.
In the interest of doing something different, WWE could well go with Cesaro as the winner on Sunday night.
Bryan is on the creative team for SmackDown, but he doesn't appear to have booked himself as the winner of anything major in the near future. Instead, he's focused on putting others over, including The Swiss Superman.
Cesaro hasn't had many opportunities at world titles and is in the middle of a babyface turn. If he won the Elimination Chamber match, it could elevate that portion of the audience that has been begging for his ascension to the main event scene.
Furthermore, going the distance in the Elimination Chamber and putting on a gusty performance just to be cheated out of a proper Universal Championship shot by Reigns would rile fans into wanting to see Cesaro get a legitimate opportunity.
Cesaro vs. Reigns on an episode of SmackDown or at Fastlane on March 21 would fulfill the requests of seeing a new challenger in the title hunt, give the fans a Superstar push they've been clamoring for and save Bryan vs. The Tribal Chief for the future.
Despite the Swiss wrestler's popularity, he's not as big of a name as Bryan, who may be better served for WrestleMania 37 as Reigns' opponent if men's Rumble match winner Edge does not select him as his opponent.
If Bryan wins at Elimination Chamber, though, the anticipation for a rematch at WrestleMania would be negated by the fact that he faced Reigns already.
Cesaro hasn't had much luck in situations like this, but after Kofi Kingston's WWE title reign and other never-happen scenarios, this may be his time to break out.