The final pay-per-view before WrestleMania is upon us, and it is sure to be at least intriguing.
It should be intriguing from an in-ring and story line standpoint as well as a business one.
From an in-ring standpoint, a couple of WrestleMania stories could be kicked off Sunday night and we could get a firm idea as to the direction of the card.
From the business side, Elimination Chamber is the final pay-per-view before the WWE Network launches Monday morning. WWE has felt some ramifications from this before the event even started.
Nonetheless, it should be an interesting evening at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota Sunday, so here are my predictions:
Randy Orton (c) vs. John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Christian - Elimination Chamber for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
With six people in the match, the outcome could go a number of different ways. Contributing to the number of possibilities was how WWE built each challenger to look like legitimate threats to Orton.
By process of elimination (no pun intended), I have narrowed the favorites down to Orton and Bryan. Orton is a favorite in my eyes because he’s lost just about all of his matches in the last two weeks. The only challenger for the title he actually beat was Christian.
Add to that the commentary team has emphasized the fact that Orton has never won an Elimination Chamber match. Whenever the commentary team announces a trend on television, that usually means it’s coming to an end soon.
But there’s still the chance that WWE tries to rectify the mistake of not having Bryan win the Royal Rumble and challenge for the title at WrestleMania. WWE could do that by him winning Sunday night and defending the title at WrestleMania instead, but that doesn’t mean as much as him challenging and then winning the title at the biggest show of the year.
Because of this, WWE has seemingly backed itself into a corner with minimal ways out of it. Right now, the title match at WrestleMania could be Orton defending against Batista with Bryan going against Triple H in another main event. That’s the way things are booked on television at least.
The Bryan-Triple H makes sense from a story aspect, but there’s nothing WWE could do in the next six weeks to make that Orton-Batista match interesting to anyone.
A lot of people resent Batista, so they’ll never really get on his side and Orton has been cut off at the knees so many times that no one takes him serious as the champion. The WWE could put some heat into that match, but it will be minimal, which is why Bryan may win the Elimination Chamber.
However, after a lot of deliberating, I’ve decided to predict Orton to retain the title, but with the caveat that Bryan could be shoehorned into a title match at WrestleMania somehow.
Would that make complete sense? It depends on how WWE tells the story, but WrestleMania has to end with the feel-good story. It hasn’t had that true crowning moment to cap off the show in a long, long time and it would be perfect to happen at WrestleMania XXX.
Prediction: Randy Orton RETAINS the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family
I am convinced that this should be a WrestleMania match. When you have the two best factions over the past year square off for the first time, you save it for the biggest show of the year.
Instead, WWE has decided to have this match now. I would be okay with this if there’s something much bigger on the horizon for these two teams, but if not, this match should not happen Sunday night.
With that said, it looks like The Shield will no longer merely have a crack in it. It will now shatter into a million pieces, which will give the Wyatts the victory.
This makes sense for a number of reasons. If Bray Wyatt is set for a date with John Cena at WrestleMania, it makes sense to have his team win the match, so that he could look even stronger heading into the match.
It also makes sense if WWE is looking to finally have Roman Reigns breakout own his own and receive a massive push. I’d hate to see The Shield come to an end, but is likely to happen in Minneapolis.
Prediction: The Wyatt Family defeats The Shield
Batista vs. Alberto Del Rio
Batista wins. Now with that out of the way, there’s no way he comes back and loses to Alberto Del Rio before he challenges for the WWE World Heavyweight title at WrestleMania.
Everyone knew that Batista was going to win regardless, but WWE could have at least made Del Rio look somewhat like a threat. Instead, he gets put through a table two weeks and then he shows up in a neck brace just six days before the match.
I’ve already seen Batista get his hands on him, so why would I want to see this match now? WWE didn’t do Del Rio nor Batista any favors with this build.
Predictions: Batista defeats Alberto Del Rio
New Age Outlaws (c) vs. The Usos – WWE Tag Team Championships
If the match was built a little different, I would go with the Usos all the way here, but since both of the Usos defeated both Billy Gunn and Road Dogg in singles matches, that usually means the New Age Outlaws will retain the titles.
The Usos will win the titles at some point. I’m almost certain of it , but I guess the WWE is saving that moment for WrestleMania.
Prediction: New Age Outlaws RETAIN the WWE Tag Team Championships
Big E (c) vs. Jack Swagger – WWE Intercontinental Championship
I’m not so sure about this match. One side of me believes that Big E will retain and move on from Swagger. Another part of me feels that WWE sort of lost faith in him by having him lose a couple times and will put the belt on Swagger to make the Real Americans look stronger.
I’m going with my gut on this and sticking with Big E. I can’t see him losing the title with very little build to the match.
Prediction: Big E RETAINS the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Darren Young vs. Titus O’Neil
The Primetime Players explode!
Oh, this match didn’t have any excitement around it at all? That’s right. I almost forgot. Just like I almost forgot this match was even on the card.
I think this will be a competitive match, but O’Neil will get the win in the end. I think O’Neil has a gift for gab, which will earn him a chance at stardom. His in-ring work could use some improvement, but he seems comfortable with a microphone in his hands.
As for Young, I have no idea. He could be sitting next to Zack Ryder, JTG and 3MB on the jobber train for all I know.
Prediction: Titus O’Neil defeats Darren Young
Pre show: Cody & Goldust vs. Ryback & Axel
Rhodes and Goldust were supposed to be leading into a match against each other at WrestleMania this year, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
If it does happen, I don’t see the build starting up on a pre-show match against Ryback and Axel.
With that said, I’m going with Rhodes and Goldust to pick up the win.
Prediction: Cody Rhodes & Goldust defeat Ryback and Curtis Axel
Something to keep an eye one: Will Brock Lesnar be in the building? Lesnar went to the University of Minnesota and is essentially the hometown guy. If he is there, what role will he play on the show?