This Sunday, for the first time, we’re going to see 7 superstars head into the Elimination Chamber to decide who goes to Wrestlemania to face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship.
Braun, Elias, Cena, Roman, the Miz, Seth Rollins & Finn Balor all get a shot in that no-give death cage on Sunday and all of them (seemingly) have a great shot at actually going on to Wrestlemania.
IF BRAUN STROWMAN FLIPS THE CHAMBER UPSIDE DOWN
We’re gonna see something truly great: the Beast Incarnate vs The Monster Among Men on the grandest stage of them all for the top title in the company.
Lesnar and Strowman have gone at it in the past on numerous occasions, but only ever once in a one-on-one capacity; No Mercy 2017. This was their first match with each other, and Strowman came out in a losing effort but it was obvious by the end that Brock may have found his match in Strowman and that this wouldn’t be the last time they faced off.
These are two of the absolute strongest performers in WWE History. They’re not the fastest or most technical, but if Braun comes out on top on Sunday, Brock has a lot of raw power to contend with. However, since their No Mercy showdown, Braun and Brock have been involved in a couple matches together: Braun Strowman vs Kane vs Brock at the 2018 Royal Rumble and Braun Strowman vs Samoa Joe vs Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar at Summerslam 2017. The withstanding constant in those two matches? Braun was never beaten by Brock. He lost to Brock (barely) once in singles action and then when more people were introduced into the mix, he destroys him; putting Brock through table after table, Powerslam after Powerslam until Brock breaks away and takes out a weaker link in the match.
If Braun takes out all the competition on Sunday, Brock has the biggest threat to his reign so far at Wrestlemania.
IF ELIAS HAS A SELL-OUT PERFORMANCE
We’ll see a rising star turn into a supernova.
Elias isn’t very seasoned. He’s very, very good, but hasn’t yet found an outlet to harness this power toward. He’s got singles wins over Dean Ambrose, Finn Balor, Matt Hardy and John Cena: all formidable names in today’s landscape and half of which are in the Chamber with him on Sunday. Not only that, but his wins against these big names — and just segments where he comes out on top — all involve Elias taking the easy road.
One where the Guitar goes right over their head, or one where he’s got someone else to do the dirty work for him. He’s smart, an opportunist not unlike former World Champion Edge. What gives Elias such an buff in this match is that he won the chance to come out last in the picking order for the Chamber, which means he’ll be fresh against worn opponents in a setting where he can’t be disqualified for smashing a guitar over someone’s head and giving them a real Fender bender.
Also, Elias coming out last means he’s the Elimination Chamber headliner. I’ll take bets on Michael Cole making a joke about that.
IF JOHN CENA OVERCOMES THE ODDS
We’re looking at Big Match John and the new road to breaking Flair’s 16 for good.
Cena’s been in a weird place for a little while. He’s not at the top of the company anymore, he comes and goes as he pleases, and more often than not he’s used as a gatekeeper to the Top Tier for the newer stars like Elias and Strowman. Thing is, we’ve seen Cena operate at his optimal performance levels and when he’s great, he’s the best in the world.
Last time Brock and John stepped in the ring together was at the 2015 Royal Rumble where he beat both Seth Rollins and John Cena in a triple threat match to secure the World Heavyweight Championship. Prior to that, Cena took a win over him to get the title OFF of him from when he lost it to Lesnar at Night of Champions 2014. They had a match at Extreme Rules 2012 where Cena came out on top and then if you go back in history, they didn’t have another match for 8 years. There’s a Cena/Lesnar match at Backlash ’03, one on Smackdown in ’03, and another on an ’02 Smackdown. The record for Lesnar/Cena right now stands at 5-2 in the past 15 years and 2-2 in the past 5 years. They’re both relatively different men from when they debuted, this much is obvious, but it looks like Cena was able to figure Brock out in the more recent entries.
Needless to say, they have history and that’s the one thing Cena really holds over his opponents. That, and the fact he’s been in the position of fighting the king at the top of the mountain numerous times. Sure, the majority of Cena’s competitors come Sunday have a couple matches against Brock in some form or another but Cena’s got legitimate history against the beast that spans 15+ years. He knows Brock very, very well and he’s got a good shot of taking his 17th world title home if he comes out on top in the Chamber.
IF ROMAN REIGNS ADDS REAL ESTATE TO HIS YARD
We’re not gonna be too surprised.
There’s been a very meticulous slow burn to Roman Reigns coming back to take the title off of Brock Lesnar ever since Wrestlemania Play Button, where he had his chance to cement himself as the best in the world and lost it to Seth Rollins pulling off the Heist of the Century. However, we never got to find out if Roman would’ve been able to outlast The Beast Incarnate on the grandest stage of them all. Here’s where we might. We’ve only ever seen them one-on-one once ever — at their WM31 showdown. Since then, they’ve crossed paths a couple times in two Royal Rumbles and two multi-man title matches where one has a win in each column. They’re very evenly matched, go blow-for-blow whenever they find themselves in the ring together and could put on a spectacle of a match in the Main Event at Wrestlemania.
Roman’s one of, if not the strongest person in the company right now in terms of raw, sheer performance power. He goes out and wins. He counters people. He’s exceedingly strong, fast, and he’s slowly finding out how to make that power more consistently favor him. He’s The Big Dog for a reason; he wins. Just because the fans don’t want to see him finish his business with Brock Lesnar at the Show of Shows doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve to because he’s one of the best wrestlers in the world and having a title to reflect that couldn’t hurt at all.
IF THE MIZ GETS THE LEAD ROLE AT WRESTLEMANIA
All hell might really freeze over.
Miz is ultra unlikely; although he’s shown he’s able to secure the Big One and fight in the Main Event of Wrestlemania before. Miz’s success as of late is largely due in part to the Miztourage, who I don’t think are going to be able to really get into the Elimination Chamber. However, not unlike Elias, Miz has always been an opportunist and a match like the Elimination Chamber doesn’t hurt Miz’s chances. He’s got 5 other competitors to let fight it out before he picks his shots. The only issue is that this match always ends in a one-on-one situation so unless Miz is going to hide, wait for the final competitor and then Skull Crushing Finale them on like, the outside steel of the ring, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
IF SETH ROLLINS USES A PERFECT BLUEPRINT TO A ‘MANIA MAIN EVENT
We’re going to see a classic ‘Mania showdown.
At Wrestlemania: Play Button, Seth won the WWE Championship off of Brock Lesnar by cashing in his Money in the Bank contract to create a Triple Threat match and made history in doing so. What alarms me is that after this, the only times Lesnar and Seth interacted were when Seth escaped Lesnar’s carnage the night after ‘Mania, and the night Undertaker interfered in their BattleGround showdown: after that, Seth never got targeted by Brock again. There’s unfinished business here, but Seth knows that. He knows stepping into the ring with The Beast isn’t going to be easy for him personally, and that’s okay.
Seth’s character is entirely built upon calculation, breaking and rebuilding plans to create optimal results and it always has been. Paired with natural athleticism, an explosive moveset and the support of The Shield as of late, he’s done everything in his power to create the best results possible.
In the chamber, Rollins is going to be faced with what he was faced with in the Royal Rumble: does he want to eliminate Reigns? Does he want to purposefully break his brother’s dreams of going to ‘Mania? He claims it won’t be a problem, but it might cause more of a fission within the Shield than if Reigns does it to Rollins again because of Rollins’ checkered past with betrayals. Aside from that moral conflict, Rollins is doing great in the rankings for who could win the entire Chamber match. He’s cold, calculated and just smart enough to outlast the competition come Sunday.
IF FINN BALOR SHOWS US THE DEMON INSIDE
We’ll get a David vs Goliath match for the ages.
Balor was the inaugural WWE Universal Champion — the one who took an important win over Seth Rollins at 2016’s Summerslam to become the face of a new generation until it was revealed Balor had suffered a shoulder injury during the match with Rollins and then had POPPED HIS SHOULDER BACK INTO THE SOCKET AND FINISHED THE MATCH. Balor brought out more than just the Demon King persona that night — he brought out a warrior within him and secured his spot in history by defeating one of WWE’s top stars handily. Problem withstanding is that after the match, Finn surrendered the title entirely and went on break for around a half a year to rehabilitate his injured arm as he should’ve.
The issue here is that Finn never… lost his championship. He gave it up because his hand was forced and when he came back, he didn’t cash in on the opportunity to get the title match promised to him by the management. When Finn returned, he didn’t set his sights on the Universal Championship. When Finn returned, he ended up going into a couple tag matches, vying for Number One contendership against 4 other men and then going into a program with Bray Wyatt that didn’t help either man because as it came to a head, Wyatt got Meningitis and Balor took on AJ Styles instead. The problem is that Finn never just took what he wanted and while the Chamber isn’t him taking what he wants, it is him getting another opportunity to solidify his spot at the top.
An interesting element to all of this right now is the fact Balor hasn’t used The Demon King since the feud with Bray Wyatt — what better place to bring it back than against Lesnar at Wrestlemania? Balor’s a supremely talented competitor without the help of the Demon King: he’s got clear wins over Bray Wyatt, AJ Styles and numerous others back in NXT without the paint and vicious mentality. When he dons that headdress and comes out, he’s one with the crowd and with the Demon — and to see how the Beast Incarnate fares against a much more reckless, vicious opponent with nothing to lose and everything to gain would be a spectacle for Wrestlemania.
You can watch WWE’s Elimination Chamber on February 25th on the WWE Network.
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