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411 PPV Roundtable Preview – WWE Elimination Chamber 2013

February 16, 2013 | Posted by Stephen Randle


This Sunday, we hit the annual speed bump on the Road to WrestleMania, the Elimination Chamber PPV. This year, unlike previous ones, only a single match will be held inside the steel confines of the Chamber, as six former World champions will compete for a chance to become the #1 Contender and receive a title shot at the biggest stage of them all, WrestleMania XXIX.

Meanwhile, the man who will face the WWE Champion at WrestleMania, John Cena, has gotten himself into a bit of trouble with the sort of guys you don’t want to be involved with, The Shield. However, Cena has assembled himself a team of top guys who have also suffered under The Shield’s predations, and they will look to take the group down in a fair fight this Sunday.

Plus, after refusing to accept his loss to The Rock at Royal Rumble, CM Punk deigned to offer The Great One a rematch for “his” title, and went so far as to garner a stipulation where Rock can lose the title on a DQ or count-out. On the surface, that makes no sense, but does Punk have a plan to make this work for him?

And Alberto Del Rio will try to survive against The Big Show one more time, as he tries to put an end to the bullying once and for all, and in the process retain his World Heavyweight title.

All this, plus Antonio Cesaro takes on The Miz for the US Title, and Kaitlyn defends the Divas Title against Tamina Snuka, this Sunday, as WWE presents Elimination Chamber 2013!

The Staff

Stephen Randle, The Wrestling News Experience

Jericho Ricardi, 411 staffer

Nick Sellers, Canvas Critiques

Michael Weyer, Shining A Spotlight

TJ Hawke, Views From the Hawke’s Nest

Jack Bramma, Ring Crew Reviews

Ken Hill, Raw live recapper

Tensai and Brodus Clay vs Rhodes Scholars
YouTube Pre-Show Match

Stephen Randle: Anyone else think they might have quickly realized that breaking up Rhodes Scholars was a bad move? Seriously, what other tag team would be a better choice to take the belts off Hell No? But, since they’re allegedly no longer a team and Clay-Tensai is the new hotness, the result seems obvious.

Winner: Clay-Tensai

Jericho Ricardi: The Rhodes Scholars really have plummeted in the past month or so. It seemed like they were being primed to take the titles off of Team Hell No, but now suddenly they’re losing singles matches every week and the tag division seems like it’s disintegrating. Maybe this is their effort to revitalize it? At least Tensai has something to do.

Winner: Rhodes Scholars

Nick Sellers: For those live in attendance, it’ll whet their appetite nicely. Rhodes and Sandow are so easily dislikable, but the kids adore Brodus and the new partnership with Tensai and all the extra promotional stuff he’s been doing, i.e the reading challenge initiative they’re promoting, is capitalizing on that superbly. The story of the match basically writes itself: The babyfaces will win and warm the crowd up a treat. Rhodes Scholars taking the fall here doesn’t mean management doesn’t have faith in them, or they’re getting de-pushed, or any other insider term you want to chuck in. They’ll be doing their job playing the Pantomime villains against the fun loving, dancing good guys, so hopefully the IWC doesn’t read too much into a loss for them.

Winner: Brodus & The Hip Hop Hippo.

Michael Weyer: See, even they don’t care enough to give these guys a part on the real show, why should we? Give it to the Rhodes to hopefully boost them back up to contention, a fun team that deserves a run at the belts soon.

Winners: The Rhodes Scholars

TJ Hawke: I’m pretty sure Rhodes Scholars broke up, but I’m not disappointed that they are already back together. However, I am disappointed that they are stuck on the pre-show and against Tensai and Brodus. 11 months ago, Tensai and Brodus seemed to have a lot of potential, and it’s disappointing that neither really became valuable to the WWE.

Winner: Rhodes Scholars

Jack Bramma: Rhodes Scholars broke up, then reunited for one night only on a house show and now here they are again. I’d like to think they broke up to move on to bigger and better things, but they were tackling dummies on RAW this week. I can’t seriously see them losing to Tensai and Brodus Clay even with their JTTS status.

Winner: Rhodes Scholars

Ken Hill: So much for their mutual break-up. Call me nostalgic, but I’m just hoping that Sandow and Cody stay together long enough for the hopeful “Book-Dust” reunion match at Wrestlemania. Other than that, they’re not an official tag team anymore, so how does a loss here hurt them?

Winner: Brodus & Tensai

Kaitlyn © vs Tamina Snuka
Divas Championship

Stephen Randle: The feud so hot, that I don’t think we saw a single second of it on TV! The Divas division is more or less a joke at this point, with no TV time, no feuds, and no real contenders. If WWE won’t care, why should we?

Winner; Kaitlyn

Jericho Ricardi: The lack of challengers for the Divas title is a huge problem right now. It isn’t even that WWE is doing a bad job building up new challengers; they simply don’t have anyone that the audience cares about at this point. Once Ziggler (presumably) wins a world title, they could put the Divas title on AJ Lee and go for a sort of McMahon/Helmsley Era vibe. AJ could collide with Kaitlyn in a Wrestlemania match with all of the hype videos set to that “You make the rain fall!” song that played for 42 minutes out of every hour of NXT Season 3. Yeah. In other news, I care more about this than WWE does.

Winner: Kaitlyn

Nick Sellers: Kaitlyn’s doing a decent job as Champion, and to be fair they haven’t exactly given her much in the way of promo time since winning the belt. The women get criticized a lot, but the company needs to give them a sufficient platform to actually build their rivalries through interviews, video packages, etc, which we’re not seeing much of at present. A few five minute matches here and there with no time to hype them up results in tumbleweed-like crowd reactions. Kaitlyn is popular with female fans though, especially the younger generation, and Tamina comes across well as a hard-as-nails heel challenger. Kaitlyn should get the duke here, but if you give Tamina her heat back in a post-match attack or something of a similar vein, you can build up to a rematch between them. Either that, or you could move Kaitlyn on to a feud with AJ Lee. The latter would give the title a bit more in the way of coverage, which is a great thing for the next generation of divas who are still living in the shadow of the likes of Trish Stratus.

Winner: Kaitlyn

Michael Weyer: We seriously need some new blood in the Divas division soon and this match is proof why. Katilyn isn’t bad but just hasn’t had the chance to really boost herself more so could use a bit of a push. Tamina hasn’t exactly set us on fire and while tempting to think of a Snuka holding a belt, don’t see the change happening soon as the division continues to tread water.

Winner and STILL Divas Champion: Katilyn

TJ Hawke: Wait, what? Is this actually happening? On PPV? Is this real life? This will die a death on PPV.

Winner: Kaitlyn

Jack Bramma: Because.

Winner: Tamina

Ken Hill: No build, no promos, no interest, no doing…fine, flip of a coin…

Winner: Kaitlyn

Antonio Cesaro © vs The Miz
United States Championship

Stephen Randle: I could watch this all day.

Winner: Antonio Cesaro

Nick Sellers: This has been brewing quite nicely since their initial interactions on Main Event at the turn of the year. They’ve done an excellent job of building up Cesaro during his U.S title run, and now this rivalry with Miz is doing wonders for him, his title reign and even the belt itself. Miz has his fair share of critics, but he’s one of WWE’s most popular names and for the majority of the last couple of years he’s never been far away from the main event scene, if not the main event itself. The rivalry is getting more personal by the day, and you get the feeling that they’ll keep rolling with this beyond Sunday and possibly into Wrestlemania, which I’m totally for. Cesaro retains it now by nefarious means, setting up the re-match at ‘Mania where Miz wins the strap.

Winner: Antonio Cesaro

Michael Weyer:Cesaro has been slowly winning folks over during his title reign, turning into an actually effective worker so hard to think they’ll end it now. The Miz is proven but the US belt is a step down for him, deserves more of a main event push again while Cesaro should be looking forward to a big challenge at Mania. So expect a good match but Cesaro retains in the end and hopefully uses it to expand more in 2013.

Winner and STILL US Champion: Antonio Cesaro

TJ Hawke: I’ll give the Miz credit about one thing: he’s been a part of two great gifs recently. The first was Brock throwing furniture at him. The other was Cesaro giant swinging Miz into a barricade. Anyway, this match should be fine. Miz’s babyface character is beyond awful, and I hope he’s not in line for a big push.

Winner: Antonio Cesaro

Jack Bramma: It’s one thing when your heels like Ziggler, Sandow, Rhodes, etc. continually lose. But Miz is a recently turned face and there’s only so many times they can have him get his ass kicked by Cesaro and lose before he’s dead in the water even more than he is now. Still, Cesaro feels like the present and the future, whereas Miz feels like the recent past. If they are intent on putting some belt on Miz, put him over Barrett instead, who I also like but can’t seem to get any momentum going either.

Winner: Antonio Cesaro

Ken Hill: It really feels like WWE’s trying to force the square peg in the round hold with Miz’s face turn. It just hasn’t been done well no matter which way you look at it, and while the fact that Cesaro’s dominated the feud for the most part would convince me that Miz ekes out a win, I don’t see him as strong and effective a mid-card champion as Cesaro’s been.

Winner: Antonio Cesaro

John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback vs The Shield

Stephen Randle: This match has some pretty big implications for the future. Shield has been running rampant, booked to destroy anyone they get their hands on, from Cena on down, and dominated in their very first WWE match. Here, in their second match, they face three of WWE’s tip-top guys, in an even playing field. The question is obvious: was Shield brought in for a higher purpose, or are they Nexus 2.0, another faction brought in to appear threatening until they run into the buzzsaw of John Cena? We all know Cena’s got the WWE Title match and should theoretically go over here to “stay strong”, but if The Shield wins, it sends a message that these guys are really, really, for real. Hope springs eternal.

Winner: The Shield

Jericho Ricardi: This match should be really, really good. The three-on-three at TLC was excellent, and this one has a lot more build-up. I have issues with the way The Shield are being presented as “just another group of superstars” rather than outsiders. This could be fixed by something as simple as having the cameras pan around “looking for them” once their music hits rather than the cameras always slowly panning up to look at the same spot that we know they’re going to emerge from. But that’s a minor complaint, and I’m looking forward to seeing what these six guys are able to pull off. I hope that The Shield doesn’t get buried in the process.

Winner: Team Cena

Nick Sellers: My question: What’s next for the Shield? The key to their long-term success is how they follow up on the result of this match, whether they win or lose. If they lose, you’ve got to quickly give them their heat back and remind everyone to take them seriously. That’s especially important for the Wrestlemania build-up where they’re in a position to receive more publicity in the coming month than they have during their entire run so far. The same applies if they win: You have to keep them strong throughout their next feud. Cena’s team will all have programs in place for ‘Mania already, so whatever happens here probably won’t alter much for them unless one of them carries on feuding with the Shield (Ryback, possibly?). But the heels are getting great reactions and are finally starting to show their individual personalities, and they’re still looking like a tough entity to stop. People are paying to see them get their comeuppance, and I think as long as they have that aura about them you need to milk it for all it’s worth. I’m not saying Shield need to win cleanly by the way, as heels that’s not their job, I just hope they don’t wind up falling down the card and become also-rans. Sheamus, Ryback and Cena can all be kept strong in defeat here with the right booking, either via Brad Maddox related tomfoolery costing them or interference from another source.

Winner: The Shield

Michael Weyer: After a good build for the Shield, time to really raise the stakes against these three. Expect a wild battle, multiple hard spots and hits and hopefully Cena and Sheamus are able to carry Ryback well. The Shield should get a win to keep them strong and really sell them as outsiders but come on, we know the faces will get the win over them. At least they hopefully don’t dump the Shield fast afterward but give them more of a rub to sell this great brawl.

Winners Cena, Sheamus and Ryback

TJ Hawke: I have a feeling The Shield is finally going to lose here (despite logic saying they should lose at Wrestlemania), but I’m at least expecting a really good match. If the crowd is into this, this should be like all the great Raw trios matches over the years. If it’s not well laid out, it may be a huge disappointment.

Winner: Cena, Sheamus & The Ryback

Jack Bramma: The Shield had their one shining moment back at TLC by beating Hell No and Ryback in a match that seems to have been erased from kayfabe memory. Despite the perfect dovetailing with this match as a logical follow-up to that encounter, there has been ZERO mention of it on TV in the build-up to this match. Plus the buyrate was less than stellar and, well, Punk wasn’t on the show and Cena’s untouchable so The Shield and Ziggler will probably take the heat for that. I know the nWo never seemed to lose these kind of matches for a few years, but this ain’t WCW and The Shield were lucky to win their first match since even Nexus nor the Alliance got that honor. On a sidenote, I hope beyond hope that this is an elimination chamber match since it would be PERFECT and the closest thing to a WarGames we might get for years.

Winner: Team Feed Me More Jars of Mayonnaise and Fruity Pebbles/The Sword

Ken Hill: This will likely be changed either right before or during the show to a 3-on-3 Elimination Chamber match, ala War Games; it’s been hinted at throughout the week. That being said, Cena’s unofficial group, a.k.a. “The Sword of the Law”, has more or less trumped the Shield at their own game, outnumbering them with help and ambushing them in the last two weeks. Normal logic dictates that the Shield come away with the win, but it’s the Road to Wrestlemania, and god forbid Cena should look bad with an unrelated loss in his upcoming WWE Title match with the Rock.

Winner: Cena, Sheamus & Ryback

Mark Henry vs Jack Swagger vs Kane vs Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton vs Chris Jericho
Elimination Chamber Match
Winner Faces World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleManix XXIX

Stephen Randle: When Swagger returned, he was pretty much my pick to win the match by default, simply by being “guy who returned”. And then Henry crashed back into the picture, and becomes the obvious choice for a winner, a perfect foil for Del Rio that would supplement his face turn in more matches with much bigger competitors. And then Swagger comes out last Monday with Zeb Coulter and I can just see the anti-immigration angle against Del Rio developing. With all that said, I still think Henry is the best choice to face Del Rio at a major PPV like Mania, especially since Ziggler’s briefcase still looms and Henry is one of those ways that Del Rio could be massively incapacitated beforehand.

Winner: Mark Henry

Jericho Ricardi: I’m looking forward to this one too. Having there be one Elimination Chamber match at the PPV (as opposed to, say, every match taking place within the confines of the hellish structure) gives that one match a lot more importance. Which makes the World Heavyweight Title, and Alberto Del Rio, more important. Elevating the second, lesser “world title” is sorely important since they bizarrely refuse to unify the titles.

Winner: Jack Swagger (who is legitimately interesting for the first time in ever, and could have quite a storyline with ADR)

Nick Sellers: There’s a few disappointed punters who were hoping for two Chamber matches, or at least a Chamber match with more star power. But the beauty of this year’s edition is that predicting the winner is noticeably more difficult than usual. Mark Henry has torn through everyone in his path over the last fortnight and sooner or later he’ll be back in the World title picture, so the question is how soon. Chris Jericho has been on a similar roll since his Rumble return and he’s the most high profile name involved. We’ve already heard murmurings about a possible clash with Dolph Ziggler, so the result here may well affect the outcome of the Del Rio/Show match later in the night. Jack Swagger and Dirty Dutch trying to rid the foreign Champion is another avenue to pursue. Orton adds some star power, but they seem to have lost faith in him. As for Team Hell No, they won’t win but we’ll see them write the next chapter in their friendship/rivalry. A match with Del Rio against Swagger or Jericho could be spectacular from a technical perspective, but I’m throwing my chips in for Henry, who’s a big, nasty bruiser who would give Bertie a torrid time between now and April. Then at WrestleMania, Del Rio wins only for Henry to decimate him for revenge afterwards. Then, Dolph cashes in.

Winner: Menry

Michael Weyer: Expect Kane/Bryan hijinks to eliminate them and tease a possible breakup down the road. Orton is a possibility but unlikely as he’s had enough main event title runs as is. Jericho is a strong candidate, surely WWE will want to really push him at last and he’s proven himself a belt winner. But Swagger seems the most likely to do this. Having this along with MITB adds to the idea of whether he might try to go for two belts at Mania (which would be freaking awesome) and after his big build over the years, long past time for it to pay off. So he manages to squeak out a win to add to the fun of Mania which the show could use.

Winner: Jack Swagger

TJ Hawke: I’m just going to fantasy book this for no good reason. Ziggler cashes in on Del Rio earlier in the show. Jericho then wins the chamber setting up Jericho vs. Ziggler for the World Title at Wrestlemania. Del Rio vs. Henry or Swagger is probably more likely based on the recent television results, but I’m going to be an optimist.

Winner: Chris Jericho

Jack Bramma: Hell No is imploding on itself. Jericho has come back yet again to put over more people. Orton hasn’t had a feud or direction for at least six months. That leaves either Mark Henry or Jack Swagger. Both are fresh off returning and seeming to get monster pushes. I see Swagger’s failing monumentally and then people blaming him for the awful gimmick by saying the WWE “tried” — the same way they tried with Shelton by saddling him with his “mama”, a similarly boring mouthpiece in an anti-push push. Henry should steamroll everyone and get back to running Smackdown with the Hall of Pain in a month or so, but that strikes me as a bit too fantasy booking-ish. The dark side of Jack Swagger continuing is more likely.

Winner: Jack Swagger

Ken Hill: This one’s honestly got me intrigued. While we can immediately eliminate the Tag Champs (though the dichotomy between them as of late should be interesting in the Chamber) and Jericho fully admitted he’s only in there due to Rey’s injury, we have three very viable opponents for Del Rio. Swagger could work for Del Rio by objecting to Alberto’s embracing of the American crowd and his Mexican heritage. Orton works because he’s been long-rumored for a heel turn and we’ve seen from the twist with the face Del Rio-heel Big Show feud, it could work with him making the turn. Henry works because he’s just Henry; he destroys, he maims, and he wants his World Title. Del Rio could really top off his babyface run with a high-profile opponent at Wrestlemania, and Orton fits the bill.

Winner: Randy Orton

Alberto Del Rio © vs The Big Show
World Heavyweight Championship

Stephen Randle: Kind of a disappointment that the blow-off match won’t be another gimmick match for some reason, because both guys have been in their element in that style and it has really helped Del Rio look like a giant killer. Anyway, this is the blowoff, no doubt, and the only real question is whether Ziggler cashes in. Given that most of the options for the Mania match in the Chamber are heels, I’m going to say no.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio

Jericho Ricardi: Alberto is on fire right now (and one of my favorite wrestlers at this moment). He’s such a great face that… well, why he was ever a heel at all is beyond me. They’d be crazy to derail that already. ADR wins this match, but whether he walks out with the title is in doubt what with Ziggler looming.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio

Nick Sellers: If Dolph Ziggler doesn’t cash-in the briefcase at ‘Mania, it could well happen after this bout. I think a moment like that at the Grandaddy of ’em all would probably do more to cement him at the top of the card in the long term, but whenever they pull the trigger it’s still going to be a big moment. Back to these two, the feud has followed a simple, yet effective formula up to now and it’s been well received by the crowds. Hopefully we get a decent blow off. Not sure where that leaves Big Show for Wrestlemania (possibly a match with Booker T after their recent skirmishes?), but it should be an interesting month for the current champ.

Winner: Bertie of the River, possibly with a Ziggler Cash-in post-match.

Michael Weyer: These two have proven able to work well together and Del Rio is really great as the champ, the guy was made to be a face more than a heel. This will be the blow-off, Show does his best but Del Rio gets the win once more to enter Mania as champion and hopefully do a much better job as champ this time around. Good to see him pay off his promise at last.

Winner and STILL World Champion: Alberto Del Rio

TJ Hawke: Del Rio’s babyface fire could cause world peace, end world hunger and rocket a ship to Neptune. He is so fucking awesome right now, and I can’t wait to watch more of his matches…against people who are not The Big Show. I’m sure this match will be fine, and I expect a last minute stipulation will make it even better.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio

Jack Bramma: I don’t have much to add here. This has been a solid feud, I guess. I’m not thrilled with Del Rio paying grand theft auto forward the way Sheamus did to him last year, but he’s embracing the face role and the crowd seems to be behind him. I don’t care if I’m the only one who thinks so, but Show has been AWESOME for over a year straight — not as a worker, he remains limited but solid in that regard; I’m talking about as a character. He shifted ever so slightly tweener after DB cashed in on him back in 2011 and gave some beautiful shades of gray promos hinting at the rage deep within, that he was ready to flip out on then still-face DB for cashing in on him. The whole thing snowballed into him crying to save his job and then turning heel last night in a very logical, well-executed if predictable storyline. He made the most of a main event run with Cena that netted him the WHW championship over Sheamus of all people. I know all of that is much ado about nothing for this match and ADR’s winning, but Show’s been putting in good work.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio

Ken Hill: An odd, but unique twist, going from a stip match to a straight-up 1-on-1 contest. It begs the question of whether Alberto can truly beat the Big Show on an even playing field when Ricardo and the 10-count are taken out of play. That being said, my Wrestlemania scenario has a soon-to-be heel Orton winning it, so Show winning the strap back makes no sense here.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio

The Rock © vs CM Punk
WWE Championship
Title Changes Hands on DQ or Count-Out

Stephen Randle: Such an odd choice for a stipulation, given that Rock didn’t even try to get counted out or DQ’d last time, in any sense of the word that a heel could use to justify the stipulation. Ah well, the result’s not in doubt anyway, although with Taker-Punk looking less and less likely, the seeds of a Triple Threat can start to bud in more than a few minds. Would WWE really hold off on Cena-Rock II just because the next Mania is the big 3-0?

Winner: The Rock

Jericho Ricardi: I feel like the new stipulations will figure into this match prominently. Reminds me of when Rock/Austin at WM17 suddenly became a no-DQ match at the last minute, which definitely figured into Austin’s win. I suspect they might be going the same route here with a CM Punk win, but at the same time Rock/Cena is a bigger box office draw than Punk/Cena. Gotta go with The Rock retaining here. The real question is whether or not he decisively wins or they somehow go to a draw (to set up a three-way at WM). Hopefully we get a decisive winner either way, as I’m one of the people who believes that Wrestlemania title matches should be one-on-one.

Winner: The Rock

Nick Sellers: No prizes for guessing the winner of this one, but I’m glad we’re getting a rematch all the same. I enjoyed the Rumble outing with its slow build and the finish with a twist, and the end of Raw was a nice touch in terms of reinforcing the point that Punk is a serious challenger and contender, even though Rock/Cena II is a lock. But lest we forget, predictability is often part of the fun in wrestling. How many times have we said “Oh, Taker’s definitely keeping the streak again this year” only for the actual streak match to be so good that it makes you second guess yourself. Or Batista’s eventual babyface turn on Triple H, which you just KNEW was coming, but didn’t quite know when they’d pull the trigger. Or, using a Rock example, the title match with Angle at No Way Out 2001 (“TAP ROCK!! TAP OR I’LL BREAK YOUR F*@6ING ANKLE!”) which made Angle look better than at any point during his entire reign. It’s playing with that predictability, like the Rumble main event, that’s all part of the fun. And you just know you can’t wait for the stare-down with Cena at the end.

Winner: The Rock

Michael Weyer: I just don’t feel Rock/Cena II needs the title, it’s already huge enough to sell. So I’d love to think Punk manages to beat Rock to regain the belt but it won’t happen. They should give us a great match without the overbooked finish of the Rumble and make sure Punk remains a powerful threat for a while to come. But we all know Rock retains here to enter Mania on top and give us one last run of him as champ before he goes back to Hollywood.

Winner and STILL WWE Champion: The Rock

TJ Hawke: I know a lot of people were disappointed by their first match, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I am very much looking forward to watching this match, but I think the stipulation is a mistake. If one thing has been made clear to me based on Rock’s two singles matches, it’s that he is nowhere close to the same performer he once was. He may be in better cosmetic shape, but his performances have definitely been off overall. Thus, I think he really needs some smoke and mirrors to put on a classic. This stipulation seemingly prevents that.

Winner: The Rock

Jack Bramma: Heyman begged his way into this stip and gleefully jumped at accepting any favor Vince wanted in return. While that obviously will be Vince demanding that Brock wrestle Triple H at Wrestlemania, it’s still another logical extension of the Punk-Rock-Heyman-Vince-Brock-Triple H storyline and is appreciated. Also, I LOVED Heyman’s teased resignation on RAW only for Punk to lay his heart and soul out there talking Heyman into saying and their embrace as BFF. Of course, in the WWE universe, heels can’t be friends or competent or respected for very long and I anticipate Heyman somehow screwing up and his miscalculation costing Punk the match and Punk dropping him as a manager come Monday. For the match itself, going into the RR, I figured Rock as a slight favorite, maybe 60-40, even if I picked Punk. This time around I view Rock as a mortal lock to win, something in the neighborhood of 95-5. I just see zero reason for them to interrupt Punk’s historic reign just to hotshot the belt to Rock for a month and then put it back on Punk. Hopefully, this is a better than their average match from the RR. I see the match stealing a page from the Fully Loaded 2000 match between Rock and Benoit where Benoit “won” the belt on a DQ with crooked ref Shane McMahon’s help only for Daddy Dearest to come out and restart the match and Rock to win. Heyman, possibly with Brad Maddox’s help, gets Rock DQ’ed (temporarily) and Punk celebrates like it’s day 465 of his reign only for Vince or someone to restart the match (again) and Rock wins shortly thereafter with a Rock Bottom/People’s Elbow combo.

Winner: The Rock

Ken Hill: The stipulation, at least in my mind, pretty much guarantees there won’t be a glimmer of a title change tonight. While I do feel a marquee match in Rock/Cena II doesn’t need the championship to make it worthwhile, WWE higher-ups apparently think otherwise and that’s really all that matters. Should be as good as the first, and hopefully Rock’s shaken off a little more of the ring rust by Sunday.

Winner: The Rock

Overall Thoughts

Stephen Randle: The matches will be good, but of all the times we talk about “throwaway PPVs”, none define the term more than the PPV between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. I don’t really care about going down to four or six PPVs, but I really think this one needs to go. If you’re buying it for good matches, do so. If you’re buying hoping to see some earth-shattering developments, then I’d give it a pass.

Buy/No Buy: What did I just say?

Jericho Ricardi: This looks like a really good show. They’ve done a better job building to it than they did with the Royal Rumble, and for the first time in a while there’s something interesting about nearly every character on RAW. In spite of their writing team (which I firmly believe consists primarily of chimpanzees), someone at WWE is doing a great job giving the wrestlers personas that the audience can latch onto.

Buy/No Buy: Buy

Nick Sellers: Simple, yet effective is the name of the game here. The outcome of the Chamber match and the prospect of a Ziggler cash-in are the most intriguing scenarios, whereas we more or less know what we’re in for with the other matches. Some of them will be pretty formulaic, but if it’s a formula that’s working, then I say go ahead and utilize it. I think I’ll at least catch the repeat, but I’m more excited about Raw the next night with the fallout from this show and the start of the road to Wrestlemania proper. Still, this PPV should be a good’un.

Buy/No Buy: Buy

Michael Weyer: A lot of rematches we can see the ending to but the Chamber is always a notable battle to watch and this is the setup for Mania so quite important. Rock/Cena should be worth the cost as well as the six-man battle so I say check it out as WWE is always strongest in the build to the big show of the year and should be worth watching now.

Buy/No Buy: Buy

TJ Hawke: This should be an entertaining three hours, and I hope to watch it. However, WWE PPVs are so ridiculously expensive and this show hasn’t really had an interesting build. Thus, I don’t think it’s worth the money.

Buy/No Buy: No Buy (unless you can get a bunch of friends together)

Jack Bramma: I love the gimmick and the PPV but I’m not all in this time. If Shield/Ryback, Sheamus, and Cena was in the EC maybe, but as is I’ll pass.

Buy/No Buy: No Buy

Ken Hill: The proverbial pit stop on the Road to Wrestlemania, the PPV’s only real interesting piece is the Elimination Chamber match for the #1 Contender to the World Title. With Wrestlemania looming, the rest of it feels like a foregone conclusion.

Buy/No Buy: No Buy

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    Stephen Randle

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