Wednesday, February 15, 2023

WWE Elimination Chamber 2023 Preview & Predictions

This Saturday is the return of WWE Elimination Chamber!

Well WWE under Triple H's creative direction has actually become a pretty watchable product all-told, with clear plans for WrestleMania season and multiple top stars actually drawing ratings and ticket sales.  Weird how simple that concept is.  Anyway, after an uneven but overall pretty good Royal Rumble PPV, the stage is set for this five-match show which should hopefully be a fairly easy watch.  We have a huge WWE Universal Title match with WrestleMania implications, plus the usual two Chamber bouts, and a special attraction rematch from last year's Rumble that could either be really good or really lazy and predictable.  Let's take a look...

Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. Finn Balor & Rhea Ripley

This is the least important match on the show and I assume it'll lead to a one-on-one WrestleMania match between the dudes involved; we already know Ripley is busy at the Show of Shows, challenging Charlotte Flair.  There's plenty of talent to go around here so this should be a solid affair.  I assume the heels win here to set up the singles match.

Pick: Finn and Rhea

Men's Elimination Chamber: Austin Theory vs. Seth Rollins vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Damian Priest vs. Bronson Reed vs. Montez Ford

Some good talent in this match as well, and this will hopefully be booked in such a way that the US Title gains back some of the prestige it's lost over the last fifteen years or so.  Rumor has it they want to do Theory vs. John Cena at 'Mania, which is a lukewarm proposition for me.  It would obviously be good for the championship, the guy who used to do open challenges to make the title feel important vs. the guy everyone's pretending is the next John Cena.  But I'd rather see Theory vs. Gargano I think.  Anywho, I think Theory retains through underhanded means.

Pick: Theory retains

Women's Elimination Chamber: Asuka vs. Liv Morgan vs. Natalya vs. Carmella vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Nikki Cross

There's one woman and one woman only who should win this whole thing and go on to challenge Bianca Belair at WrestleMania, and her name is Asuka.  Recently repackaged with her psycho-clown Kana facepaint, Asuka should go on an absolute tear in 2023, including dethroning the dominant RAW Women's Champion.  Any other result in this match would be nonsensical.

Pick: Asuka

Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley

Well their match last January sucked.  Like, flat-out sucked.  Lazy, two-move, repetitive bullshit.  I know these guys have a good match in them, let's goddamn see it.  Hopefully Hunter doesn't go in for Paul Heyman's signature Brock match, because I don't ever need to see one of those again.  Let's go back to the type of match Lesnar had with Punk, can we please?  Brock's obviously winning this regardless.

Pick: Brock

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Sami Zayn

This is an interesting conundrum they've put themselves in.  WWE now has two top babyface stars who are massively over and who are legitimate draws.  One of them is the very unlikely hero Sami Zayn, contending for the title in his hometown.  And depending who you ask, beating Sami here would instantly knock him down multiple pegs.  However, the other top babyface is a sure thing with incredible crossover potential, in Cody Rhodes.  WWE hasn't had a hot babyface star with this much momentum AND the perfect presence to be a media superstar since John Cena.  To me it makes the most sense for Sami to get screwed here by Jey Uso (who as you'll recall stood up for him at the Rumble), thus setting up a colossal Tag Title match at WrestleMania between the Usos and Sami and his fellow Montreal native Kevin Owens (Who should run out here for the save).  Then you proceed with the plan of Roman vs. Cody in the main event next month.  Roman's 30-month reign shouldn't end at Elimination Chamber, it should end at WrestleMania.  And you could add Sami to that match and make it a triple threat, but then you can't really put the belt on Cody at that point because the fans might turn on him.  To me the logical move is, Sami gets screwed, Sami and Owens get to end the Usos title run, and Cody gets to end Roman's.  I think that's the most likely scenario too.

Pick: Roman retains one last time

There's your Chamber lineup.  It feels good to actually give a shit about WWE's WrestleMania season again, it's been a very long time since I did.

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