Kicking off the SmackDown-exclusive year, it’s a gimmick we haven’t seen for a little while. Oh yes, WWE World Champion John Cena is defending against five other superstars in the elimination chamber, with a fairly stacked card to back it up. So without further ado, let’s see what we’re looking at this year!
MATCH: Luke Harper vs. Randy Orton
Ever since Orton joined the Wyatt Family, tensions have been running high between him and ostensible brother Harper, but things have come to a head and oh boy are they brewing. Harper could really use a win here to cement himself as a potential singles star, but with Orton setting to headline WrestleMania, and with Bray Wyatt still in his corner, it’s hard for me to imagine how the Viper doesn’t take this one.
Prediction: Randy Orton to win, following interference from Bray Wyatt.
MATCH: Dolph Ziggler vs. Kalisto & Apollo Crews – 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Oh, Dolph. Haven’t you learned never to say things like “I can beat both of them” within earshot of the general manager – much less right to his face? Ziggler has been looking good since his heel turn, but he’s still not been winning singles matches against either of them with particular regularity, and here he’ll be outnumbered. It is lovely watching him tantrum afterwards, though.
Predicton: Crews & Kalisto to take the win, and another beautiful Ziggler tantrum.
MATCH: Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James
Added just this past week, there are three women’s matches confirmed for the card and I couldn’t be more thrilled. James has been adamant since her return that she deserves more credit for what eventually became the women’s revolution in the WWE, and it’s time to put that properly to the test. With James having only just returned, I think it’s reasonable to expect her coming out strong.
Prediction: Mickie James to win.
MATCH: Nikki Bella vs. Natalya
Probably the match of the three women’s matches that I’m least invested in, thanks to the awkward promo work leading up to this moment. It would be lovely for Nikki to be in a feud where the heel isn’t making comments about her boyfriend or reality show, don’t you think? But this is the story we have right now, brewing ever since Natalya took Nikki out of the match at Survivor Series, and I’m confident that fearless Nikki Bella can take out the competition here.
Prediction: Nikki Bella to win.
MATCH: American Alpha vs. The Vaudevillains vs. The Ascension vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. Breezango vs. The Usos – Tag Team Turmoil Championship Match
After someone apparently just remembered that American Alpha haven’t been doing much with their titles, we have every SmackDown tag team in contention to try to win them. I don’t honestly know what to expect from this match, because if Alpha can take out every other team I’m not sure where their reign can go from there. A turmoil match also means the win could go to someone a little unexpected, but Alpha haven’t had the titles that long so I’m not sure that’s wise booking either.
Prediction: It’s my birthday PPV, I love them, and I’m sore that Daniel Bryan complimented every team except them on Talking Smack. So hell. Breezango to win!
MATCH: Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi – Women’s Championship Match
Naomi has pinned Alexa Bliss twice in a row in tag team matches, so she’s been given the opportunity to see if she can pull off the same trick in a one-on-one environment. If it gives me the opportunity to see her split-legged moonsault again I’m absolutely all for it; that being said, Alexa hasn’t been long with the title so I wouldn’t mind seeing a retention with a rematch for these women at WrestleMania. And heel champions are so good at that.
Prediction: Alexa Bliss to retain, dirty.
MATCH: John Cena vs. AJ Styles vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz – WWE World Championship Elimination Chamber Match
It’s the titular match, and some excellent talent. All six of these men have impressed me in the build-up, and even though Cena only picked up this title at the Royal Rumble, I don’t know how many people there are that really and truly want to see him fight Randy Orton at this year’s WrestleMania. In my opinion, there’s one storyline possibility that sticks out as much stronger than the others.
Prediction: Bray Wyatt to win the championship, setting to face Family member Randy Orton at WrestleMania.