Posted February 16th, 2019 by 1Wrestling News Team


By Don “The Predictor” Murphy (Twitter: @DonThePredictor)

Well, another year and another WrestleMania season is upon us. We have a bit of time left before the big show in April, but we have our first notable touchpoint this coming Sunday night, when the WWE presents the Elimination Chamber event, emanating from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. This should be a solid show, but admittedly, the WrestleMania stories are so young in their development, it’s difficult to find a match on this show that feels important. Nevertheless, we should start to see the next couple of months begin to take shape, coming out of the results of tomorrow night. Let’s run down the card!

Main Event/WWE Championship Match/Elimination Chamber: Daniel Bryan defends the WWE Championship against Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston, AJ Style, Samoa Joe and Jeff Hardy

Topline Thoughts: As you know, if you’ve followed me for any length of time, I’m not a big fan of gimmick matches that attempt to lump a bunch of guys together with no real story. While this match falls into that category, I have to give the writers a couple of points for making the most of it. First, while Mustafa Ali’s injury is unfortunate, Kofi Kingston has filled his spot nicely and I found myself immersed in Tuesday night’s gauntlet match, where Kofi went for over an hour. It’ll be interesting to see if they give him another chance to have a big performance in the Chamber. Don’t get me wrong. The New Day is entertaining, but I think it’s time to start doing something with the individual players. You don’t necessarily have to break the team up, but I think Kofi and Big E. in particular, have something to offer in singles roles. Second, I liked how Tuesday’s gauntlet match gave us a hook for the match, where Randy Orton has earned the right to enter the Chamber last. I don’t see him winning, but a nice hook nonetheless. As for the outcome, Daniel Bryan has only just touched the surface of what he can do as a heel champion, complete with organic hemp title. I don’t think we’re at a point to take the title off of him. I also expect interference from Erick Rowan and potentially a returning Luke Harper.

The Predictor Predicts: Daniel Bryan retains the WWE Championship

Inaugural WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match/Elimination Chamber Featuring: Nia Jax/Tamina, Naomi/Carmella, Peyton Royce/Billie Kay, Mandy Rose/Sonya DeVille, Sasha Banks/Bayley, Liv Morgan/Sarah Logan

Topline Thoughts: Before I get into this, I do have to note that though the WWE is making this sound like a groundbreaking event, this is not the first time they’ve had women’s tag team champions. Google names like The Glamor Girls (Judy Martin and Lelani Kai), The Jumping Bomb Angels, and Princes Victoria and Velvet McIntyre. Now, that being said, while I don’t feel that this match is appropriate for the Elimination Chamber, I do like that the crowning of women’s tag team champions gives the roster more opportunities for storylines beyond the singles titles. Right now, it just seems like there’s the title feud of the month supported by a rotation of filler matches for no reason. In the end, I see Bayley and Sasha walking away the winners, and then it will be interesting to see if the titles are exclusive to one brand, or if they’ll float between shows (this would be my recommended approach).

The Predictor Predicts: Sasha Banks and Bayley win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship

WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match: Ronda Rousey defends the WWE Raw Women’s Championship against Ruby Riott

Topline Thoughts: OK, I feel the need to side step for a minute here again. One of the worst things that could have happened to the business was the removal of kayfabe. Today’s fan will never know the feeling of suspending disbelief and “feeling” a moment. We’re too entrenched in backstage politics – who is the company high on? who is underrated? who is being overlooked? who isn’t being booked properly? It’s taking away from the best part of wrestling. I bring this up here because we all know that WrestleMania will eventually see Becky Lynch face Rousey and Charlotte in a triple threat?  And you know what? That’s OK! Hey, I’m the first one to say I like one-on-one matches. Would I like to see Ronda and Becky one-on-one? Sure. But, I have no problem with a triple threat because it makes sense from a storyline standpoint. We’ve gotten so focused on Charlotte being the “chosen one,” when we should simply sit back and let the story tell the story. OK – rant over.

In terms of this match, it would have meant more if they didn’t already have Riott tap to Rousey over the summer. She has a bright future ahead of her and I’m hoping the match is at least somewhat competitive so that she continues to have some equity moving forward. Expect to see some further storyline developments, with appearances from both Becky and Charlotte.

The Predictor Predicts: Ronda Rousey retains the WWE Raw Women’s Championship

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: The Miz and Shane McMahon defend the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship against The Usos

Topline Thoughts: There’s not much to say about this match, other than it’s another touchpoint in the story leading to the Miz meeting Shane McMahon at WrestleMania. I haven’t fully bought in yet, but am intrigued to see how they get there. I expect the champions to retain.

The Predictor Predicts: The Miz and Shane McMahon retain the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship

WWE Intercontinental Championship Handicap Match: Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush defend the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Finn Balor

Topline Thoughts: There’s a couple of holes here. First, unless I missed it, it hasn’t been confirmed if Balor can win the title by pinning Rush. That would give them a cheap way to put the title on Balor, without damaging Lashley. Also, the way the story’s been told, Rush has interfered, but not to the point where it makes sense to have him in the match. Lashley has gotten better, but I’d rather see him pushed as a monster, rather than someone who needs assistance. Again, I don’t expect a title change here.

The Predictor Predicts: Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship

Singles Match: Braun Strowman meets Baron Corbin

Topline Thoughts: I truly hope that this is the end of the feud and we can move on. My fear is that this will end in a schmoz, with appearances from Kurt Angle and Drew McIntyre. It’s spinning its wheels and not all that compelling. McIntyre in particular, can be doing more.

The Predictor Predicts: Braun Strowman defeats Baron Corbin

Pre-Show/WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Buddy Murphy defends the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Akira Tozawa

Topline Thoughts: 205 Live has gotten better, but it still feels like we’re rotating challengers in and out every month, with no real meaning. I’m hoping for a bigger presence at Mania, possibly on the main card. For now, another notch in Murphy’s belt.

The Predictor Predicts: Buddy Murphy retains the WWE Cruiserweight Championship

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