The time has come to pretend that the Elimination Chamber is the most dangerous structure in all of WWE; until the Hell in a Cell is rolled out once again. Yes, this past Sunday night, SmackDown Live presented to the world its very own version of the Elimination Chamber event.
As Monday Night Raw prepares to bury Kevin Owens at Fastlane and hand the Universal Championship over to a WCW relic, we remember as wrestling fans the true championship. The one that matters. The prestigious WWE Championship. The very title that has made its way from Bruno Sammartino to A.J. Styles.
In Phoenix this past Sunday night, John Cena – the sixteen-time WWE Champion – walked into the structure with the gold; but did he escape? Find out that and more as we present our 15 biggest takeaways from Elimination Chamber:
15. Mickie James Still Has It
There were once many things wrong with the Women’s Division in WWE. Mickie James was never one of those things. At Elimination Chamber, James made her officially return to WWE Pay-Per-View in a match against Becky Lynch. And after seven years away from the company, James looked just as good against Lynch as she once did against Trish Stratus. It’s good to see the veteran back where she belongs.
14. Becky Lynch Regained Some Momentum
Since dropping the SmackDown Women’s Championship to Alex Bliss at TLC late last year, Becky Lynch has lost some steam. However, a big win over the returning Mickie the James was exactly what Lynch needed. With Lynch going over on James at Elimination Chamber, the Irish Superstar has regained some much needed momentum heading into WrestleMania. Now, the question to pose is the following: where does Lynch fit into the championship picture?
13. Dolph Ziggler Should Have Turned Heel Sooner
The recent Dolph Ziggler heel turn has proven rather interesting and has set Ziggler down a new path; a path that will inevitably lead nowhere. Interesting is one thing; being pushed is another. If every Superstar fans found interesting was pushed, then Jack Gallagher would be WWE Champion right now. Ziggler wearing silver ring gear at Elimination Chamber was fitting as Ziggler continue to be WWE’s perpetual silver medalist.
12. The SmackDown Tag Team Division Is Better Than Raw
Sheamus and Cesaro ending the record-breaking Tag Team Championship reign of The New Day? Good call? No. Gallows and Anderson then claiming the straps? Six months too late. Let’s face the facts here: Monday Night Raw’s Tag Team Division is struggling. Meanwhile, over on SmackDown Live, the boys of the Blue Brand are providing the entertainment. Who would’ve thought that Heath Slater would finally fit in somewhere and contribute?
11. Natalya’s WWE Legacy
Coming from wrestling royalty presents one with high expectations to fill. Needless to say, Natalya’s career in WWE has been anything but remarkable. Aside from a few nostalgia-laced moment involving Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Natalya hasn’t exactly had a highlight-reel career. At the end of the day, Natalya will be remembered as the Diva who farted, was the love interest on The Great Khali, and obsessed over cats.
10. Nikki Bella: Diva ‘Til The End
We have now entered a world where the term “Diva” has been abolished from WWE programming. The women of WWE are know known as “Superstars” and that’s a good thing. However, the remnants of the Divas Division remain evident in Nikki Bella. The last true WWE Diva. In all fairness to Bella, she has improved greatly in the ring and has earned more than she given credit for in WWE. However, Bella is no Sasha Banks.
9. Can Luke Harper Stand Alone?
In a strong showing Sunday night against Randy Orton, Luke Harper proved that he can in fact hang with the top Superstars of WWE. However, Harper has long served as a disciple of Bray Wyatt and may not have what it takes to walk alone in WWE. Harper once claimed the Intercontinental Championship as a singles competitor (away from The Wyatt Family) but nothing more would come of the push and Harper was soon back alongside Wyatt. So, what happens this time around?
8. Randy Orton Is WrestleMania Ready
Randy Orton has been the ultimate team player over the past year. Hell, the guy would even take that vicious Brock Lesnar elbow back at SummerSlam. At the Royal Rumble, Orton was rewarded for this as he walked out with his second Rumble victory and is set to once again headline WrestleMania. At Elimination Chamber, Orton would (as expected) go over on Luke Harper as he eyes the WWE Championship down the road.
7. John Cena And Nikki Bella vs. The Miz And Maryse
There have been rumblings of a John Cena/Nikki Bella vs. The Miz/Maryse match at WrestleMania. Well, if this is set to come to fruition, it appears the first seed was panted backstage at the Elimination Chamber event. While continuing to brawl with Natalya, Nikki Bella would accidentally knock makeup all over Maryse. What a great way to set-up a WrestleMania match, right?
6. Naomi Needs To Be Positioned Properly
In a slightly unexpected twist, Namoi would defeat Alex Bliss at Elimination Chamber to become the new SmackDown Women’s Champion. Naomi now heads to WrestleMania and her hometown of Orlando (this was pointed out a number of times) to defend the title. Was this simply a ploy to run the hometown angle heading into ‘Mania or will WWE actually place Naomi in a favourable position? You made the move, now make it work.
5. Good Night For The Women
With three matches on the main card and a brand new Women’s Champion crowned, Elimination Chamber proved to be a big night for the Women of WWE. With the New Era came a new sense of Women’s Wrestling; a new emphasis on the female athlete in WWE. No longer are the women strictly sexpots and on Sunday night, WWE actually helped push this idea forward with its female display.
4. Carmella Deserves Better
Speaking of the Women’s Division. What the hell is Carmella doing with James Ellsworth? It’s time to end this terrible pairing and place Carmella back into the title picture. Since her arrival on the main roster, Carmella has become an integral part of the SmackDown Women’s Division. The Ellsworth buzz has worn off so it’s time to quit pretending that Carmella continues to wear beer googles.
3. Future SmackDown Events May Require Earplugs
If anybody epitomizes nails-on-the-chalkboard, it is David Otunga. As each week passes, fans hope that perhaps Otunga will be replaced or simply removed from the SmackDown broadcast table. However, week-after-damn-week, there he is with that goofy smile and awful commentary. Consistently providing a rebut to JBL’s commentary, Otunga serves as the nagging voice of SmackDown Live. At this point, let’s bring back Mike Adamle.
2. A.J. Styles Should Have Been John Cena’s Kryptonite
If the plan all along was to have the WWE Championship change hands inside of the Elimination Chamber, then what was the point of having John Cena go over on A.J. Styles at the Royal Rumble? Cena is WWE’s resident Superman but has no kryptonite. Styles could have and should have been said kryptonite. The one man Cena could not defeat during his career. However, we just had to witness Cena tie Ric Flair’s championship record last month.
1. Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton Needs A Different Angle
With Bray Wyatt walking out of the Elimination Chamber as the new WWE Champion, the SmackDown main event of WrestleMania now pits #1 Contender Randy Orton vs. the leader of The Wyatt Family. Now then, how does WWE books this? Have Orton turn on Wyatt prior to WrestleMania? Boring. We have seen this before. This match needs something different; something new. Perhaps use this warped family philosophy to build a true one-on-one contest between two twisted brothers? Nobody cares anymore who is the “heel” and who is the “face” anyway. The Universal Championship match is set to be Round III between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg. Boring. Therefore, give us something different from the blue side of WWE.