Roundtable: WWE Elimination Chamber 2017

The Wrestledelphia staff talks about various storylines going into the pay-per-view.

1. What is the percentage chance John Cena retains the WWE Championship? Why?

John Corrigan: Didn’t we all sign up for journalism because we suck at math? Cena has 0% chance of walking out as champion because history dictates (2006, 2010) that even if he survives the Chamber, a fresh challenger will be waiting to pick the bones.

Evan Cross: 10%, just because he’s John Cena and there’s always a chance he wins. But all other evidence suggests he will drop it and only won it in the first place to tie Ric Flair and conclude the feud with Styles.

David Gibb: 20%. Given the apparent conclusion of Cena’s feud with Styles, there doesn’t really feel like a WrestleMania WWE Championship-level opponent for Cena on SmackDown. However, he still has a John Cena’s chance because he’s John Cena.

David Levin: Is zero a fair assessment? WWE has not done much to celebrate the accomplishment of Cena tying Ric Flair for the most world title reigns in wrestling history. It was a fluke to some degree. Bray Wyatt winning makes a more compelling story for WrestleMania 33 than Cena and Randy Orton dancing in the ring once again.

Jay Mackle: I believe Cena has a 0% chance of retaining. Why would they have Cena vs. Orton on regular TV if that’s going to be the big WWE Championship match at WrestleMania. I believe his 16th title reign is going to be short and a joke, like allowing him to tie Flair’s record was.

Mark Macyk: 16.67%. Six championship competitors will be sealed within the dreaded Elimination Chamber. One divided by six is 16.67.

2. Do you think all six Elimination Chamber competitors are being portrayed as threats to win?

Corrigan: I don’t think Dean Ambrose has a prayer, but as for the build, all six men have been given time to shine. Baron Corbin is emerging as more of main event force due to this Chamber, and that’s worth more long-term than deciding the champion for Mania.

Cross: In kayfabe, most have been. Ambrose hasn’t lost clean since the brand split (except the Royal Rumble). Styles is coming off a 4-month long title reign. Miz has looked better than ever. Corbin has been dominating. Cena is Cena. The only one who hasn’t is Bray Wyatt, who has seemed more interested in hanging out with Randy Orton than anything else. So of course, Wyatt will win.

Gibb: Only Wyatt and Corbin have been portrayed as actual threats to the title (Wyatt because of his alliance with Orton and Corbin because he’s tall and mean). Miz is there to take moves. AJ is there to do moves. Ambrose is there to be silly.

Levin: No. Of the six, Dean Ambrose is the one who looks to be on the outside looking in. AJ Styles won’t win it back and Baron Corbin’s time is soon, but not now. The Miz is the dark horse to win, while Bray Wyatt should walk out with the title.

Mackle: Yes. I believe all 6 men are threats in this chamber, and that’s a first in itself. Baron Corbin is on a roll after the big win in the fatal 4-way on SmackDown. Miz is still on his hot streak even without the Intercontinental strap. Cena and Styles are the elite superstars in this match that many people think will win. Ambrose is a threat no matter what type of match he’s in. Wyatt is getting more sadistic and needs a big win here to finally put him into that upper tier in WWE.

Macyk: No battleground strikes fear into the heart of a WWE Superstar quite like the Elimination Chamber. It is 10 tons of unforgiving steel. It is a truly sadistic structure. There are no winners in the Elimination Chamber.

3. There will be three women’s matches on the show, all of which have had a decent build. Looking forward, will all the feuds be mashed together for WrestleMania, or will a few of the standouts be put in the title picture?

Corrigan: Alexa Bliss will defend the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Becky Lynch in some sort of stipulation match at WrestleMania. Nikki will team with John Cena to face Miz and Maryse. The rest of the women on SmackDown will be thrown together in a pre-show tag match/battle royal clusterfuck.

Cross: If WWE is smart, they’ll let Becky Lynch go over Alexa Bliss at WrestleMania for the strap, since Lynch is one of the best pure babyfaces on the roster. I fear they will end up putting all the women in one match, though. All the women on SmackDown are good, but Lynch and Bliss have been a step above.

Gibb: The SmackDown Women’s Championship needs to be defended in a one-on-one match at WrestleMania. A multi-woman match would be pre-show material. Becky Lynch should definitely be featured at the big dance, considering she’s been the runner-up SmackDown MVP since the draft, behind only AJ Styles.

Levin: I like what WWE has done with the blue team to make the women on Tuesday night matter. I love the fact there are three women’s matches, which moved SmackDown ahead of Raw in the women’s division. I don’t see Nikki Bella and Natalya moving on to WrestleMania 33 unless it’s a retirement match. Alexa Bliss vs Naomi has some traction and Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James will boil over to Orlando.

Mackle: WrestleMania is all about the part timers shining in recent years, and I see them taking the big matches. Like the Raw women’s division, SmackDown is going to have their women’s feuds blended into one big match. I see a fatal 4-way between Bliss, James, Lynch and Naomi. Maybe a 5-way with Nattie involved.

Macyk: There will be a six woman ladder match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship on the preshow to the WrestleMania pre how.

4. Is Dolph Ziggler’s heel turn being properly built up?

Corrigan: Initially, when he superkicked Jerry Lawler’s heart, the heel run was hot. But each week that he spends time with duds like Apollo Crews and Kalisto, Ziggler’s star fades. It’s a shame how far he has fallen since No Mercy.

Cross: The only way for this to built to its potential is to have Ziggler slay a top babyface – and with Ambrose and Cena occupied, there are none. Beating up on unestablished guys isn’t getting Ziggler anywhere.

Gibb: How are we still talking about the possibility that anything involving Dolph Ziggler has been done “properly?” He saved the company once, and that rub barely stuck for two weeks.

Levin: A heel turn was the only thing the former world champion had left in him, considering the lack of depth on the roster. But because there is a logjam in the main event picture, Ziggler is in purgatory. The heel turn benefits Apollo Crews. What I would like to see at some point is a tag team with The Miz and Ziggler. Dolph is too talented to be pushed down the company ladder. Right now, while I like the heel turn, it does not help him get closer to the WWE Championship.

Mackle: Dolph Ziggler is the most underutilized talent in WWE history. He has the skill set and looks to be a major star but every time he gets that push, the storylines hurt him. If they want us to take him seriously, he shouldn’t be losing to Kalisto and Apollo Crews. He should be pushed to the upper-midcard, similar to where he was before his attitude change.

Macyk: The turn of Dolph Ziggler began two years ago on an episode of Total Divas in which his character “Nick” attempted to cuckold John Cena by giving a baby to The Face That Runs the Place’s long-suffering girlfriend, Nicole. His plan was foiled because John Cena never gives up. Dolph has been taking his frustrations out on smaller wrestlers, because Kalisto reminds him of the tiny baby he was never able to give Nicole. It has been refreshing to see WWE tell some longform stories in this way.

5. This isn’t the first time the Wyatt Family has fractured. Can Luke Harper survive on his own for long?

Corrigan: Luke Harper will challenge the World Champion (whoever that may be) at next year’s WrestleMania. He has in-ring talent, promo skills and a rare mystique: a recipe for success in WWE.

Cross: There’s no reason he can’t if he’s booked properly. One potential stumbling block is SmackDown’s heel-heaviness at the top of the card, so Harper doesn’t have many potential feuds on the horizon. A Nakamura callup or a Crews push would help matters immensely.

Gibb: Harper is a great talent, but it’s hard to get over after being a bump-taking lackey for five years. It’s a shame Harper already had that completely meaningless Intercontinental Championship reign, because taking that belt off Ambrose decisively might be his best vehicle to get over on his own.

Levin: Luke Harper is Bruiser Brody-lite. If WWE was smart, it would build the potential for a Harper-Bray Wyatt confrontation after WrestleMania 33. There has to be a boiling point of sorts where Harper becomes a force on Tuesday nights. We all worried about how WWE would book Braun Strowman, but Harper also has a chance to be a solid singles star and a mid-card champion.

Mackle: Luke Harper has the best skill set of any Wyatt Family member. Unfortunately, he’s been forced to play the role of bodyguard for most of his career. His brief stint on his own showed that he can be a force, and I think he’ll do it again. Harper has a chance to shine now and hopefully WWE allows him to do that.

Macyk: This is an offensive question. Luke Harper has recently left an abusive relationship. He is unclear whether he even has an identity other than “Bray Wyatt’s handsome friend.” It is easy for him to think he cannot survive on his own. Asking problematic hypotheticals such as this will make it that much more difficult. That Bray Wyatt is now hanging out with “The Viper” Randy Orton does not help matters. It may take years, but Luke Harper will emerge from this a stronger person and ultimately find happiness with a new backwoods cult leader.

No Comment

Leave a Reply