Elimination Chamber 2014 Preview

Who will survive Satan's Playground? (Courtesy WWE)
Who will survive Satan’s Playground? (Courtesy WWE)

This Sunday is the Elimination Chamber, the second PPV of the year. There may not be as much drama and emotion as the Royal Rumble was, but there will still be some skittish fans hoping for something to happen (“YES YES YES YES”). Will it? How about that incredible six-man tag matches pitting two trios of dangerous men? We have other titles on the line and the eve of the WWE Network launch! So let’s dive right in, beginning with the “freebee” match.

KICKOFF MATCH

Rhodes Brothers vs. Rybaxel

This is nothing more than a nice warm-up match to get the Target Center crowd going. I really don’t expect much here other than a solid match. Ryback and Axel are merely fodder, as the Brothers Rhodes are still over with the fans. I’m not sure if they’ll get another title shot down the line or not but I don’t see them breaking up anytime soon. SCOTT’S PICK: Rhodes Brothers

Now to the show itself:

DARREN YOUNG vs. TITUS O’NEIL

Similar to what happened to the very popular Cryme Tyme team, one feels the other is holding them back. I was a fan of this team and was very surprised that they didn’t grab gold for even a short stretch. The difference between this and the Cryme Tyme situation is that in that instance the babyface was the longer lasting character. Here I think its Titus that might have more staying power. The match won’t be offensive but Titus will come out on top. SCOTT’S PICK: Titus O’Neil

TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

New Age Outlaws © vs. The Usos

Is this one a forgone conclusion? If you listen to this week’s episode of PBTN’s Main Event the picks were split on how this match would go. Many feel this is finally the time for Rikishi’s kids to break through and win the straps. Others think this will end in a schmozz and there could be a rematch in New Orleans. The Outlaws have looked pretty solid in the ring, particularly Road Dogg, who was never the in-ring guy of the team. Billy Gunn has been solid, although that “skullet” has to go. The booking would tell you that the Outlaws retain here since the Usos have had the upper hand pretty much since the beginning. I have a feeling that this match will end in a schmozz and then there will be a multi-team match at WrestleMania, and it will be there where the Usos will finally grab the brass ring. This match will be fun, but if you expect an Usos title win, you will be slightly unfulfilled. SCOTT’S PICK: The Usos (by disqualification)

INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Big E © vs. Jack Swagger

This match may be a foregone conclusion, but maybe not. Big E’s title reign started off very strong, but seems to have tempered off over the past few weeks. The situation here isn’t Big E, but Swagger. It’s no secret that the Real Americans will be breaking up due to the burgeoning popularity of Cesaro. Now he’s in a much bigger, higher profile match later on. The tension from one guy having a title and the other not having one could lead to a natural split. Swagger, the guy nobody likes, waves around the IC Title while the more popular Cesaro has nothing. Sadly, that would mean Big E’s reign would end merely as collateral damage. There are some who believe this theory, but (as I do often) are probably over-thinking it and that Big E is still a favorite backstage (one of John Cena’s favorites). I will play it safe here and say Big E retains his title. SCOTT’S PICK: Big E

BATISTA vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO

This may be the most obvious choice of a match all night. Batista is on a roll to WrestleMania, popular a decision or not. Del Rio, who’s rumored to be leaving later in the year when his contract is up, is just simply fodder for the Animal, a time killer before April 6. I still contend that Del Rio was an MVP of 2013. He was World Champion for most of the year, was both a solid face and heel and kept Smackdown going from pretty much January to October. The match could be an unmitigated squash, or it could be a fair, 9-10 minute match that isn’t offensive. I hope it’s the latter, but it will likely be the former. SCOTT’S PICK: Batista

THE WYATT FAMILY vs THE SHIELD

This is easily the most anticipated match of this entire show, even more so than the main event. We have two great factions, and two very different styles in the ring, The Shield are ruthlessly efficient, tagging in and out and mixing Ambrose’s strikes, Rollins flying and Reigns power. Those three mesh flawlessly in the ring. Bray and his boys are like bulls in china shops. Their style is more club the bejesus out of their opponent, and set up Sister Abigail for Bray. This match will be, as JR nicely puts it, “bowling shoe ugly”. Not ugly like “Yikes this match is only 1 star ugly.” More like it will be just a lot of power moves, punching and brawling. This match was probably suited for some kind of stipulation to really spice it up. There’s an outside chance that Cena may cost Bray’s family this match, but WWE doesn’t use Cena that way. He’s reactive, not proactive. In the end (similar to HBK/Diesel in 1994) miscommunication by Ambrose will cost Reigns the pin. SCOTT’S PICK: The Wyatt Family

WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

ELIMINATION CHAMBER

Randy Orton © vs. Sheamus vs. Cesaro vs. John Cena vs. Christian vs. Daniel Bryan

Our championship match doesn’t have the same tension or drama that either the title match or the rumble match did, but I’m sure there are some skittish fans hoping for something to happen. Now if Daniel Bryan wasn’t winning the Royal Rumble, and the “Yes Movement” wants to see him hoisting the belts at the end of WrestleMania, well then you certainly don’t want to see him win the titles here. Considering Orton went 1-4 against the other competitors in the Raw/Smackdown Chamber Gauntlet, it’s pretty obvious that he will retain the title here. He and Batista are clearly on a collision course at WrestleMania, so this match is pretty much about how the other five guys work in the match and if their WrestleMania plans come from this. Christian’s either there for experience, or there’s a good chance he gets jumped and maybe replaced by Brock Lesnar. There will likely be Cena/Wyatt interaction, getting ready for whatever’s planned in New Orleans for them. Who cares what happens with Sheamus, as he’ll get thrown into something. As for Cesaro, just like Reigns at Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble this is his moment to shine as much as he can without losing. Then there’s Daniel Bryan. Clearly he will be the last guy in the match, and he will drill Orton with the running knee and is about the win when something happens, some sort of shenanigans with the Authority and Orton retains the title. Then Hulk Hogan comes out the next night on Raw to announce he’s hosting WrestleMania and we get Bryan/Orton/Batista at WrestleMania. This match will be fun, and the YES Movement may be disappointed again, but this time it could lead to better things. SCOTT’S PICK: Randy Orton

So there’s your Elimination Chamber preview. Join us Sunday night for our PPV Live blog right here at Place to Be Nation!

Author: Scott Criscuolo

Scott Criscuolo is a co-founder of the Place to Be, co-host of the Place to Be Podcast, and was in the radio business for 10 years. He loves all things pop culture, and someday he will be the ghost writer for Triple H's autobiography. Send Scott an email