So another month, another pay-per-view where the collective grumblings of the Internet Wrestling Community cranked into overdrive. This time the subject was WWE’s Elimination Chamber event.
An event once called “the most brutal match of the year” (presumably because now a Hell In A Cell match is just a substandard cage match where the most “brutal” spot is someone being mildly shoved into the mesh of the cage rather than being chokeslammed onto thumbtacks or thrown from the top of the cage), the Elimination Chamber match itself should be a contest full of spots that genuinely make it look like one of the most brutal encounters for these superstars to be involved in.
But this year’s show all just seemed a bit vanilla in terms of the impact and storytelling.
Out of all the matches on this year’s card, the main event didn’t steal the show but one involving the newest stars on the roster, did: The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family.
The reason I like these heel vs. heel matches is because the audience is split on who they root for. At Elimination Chamber, we saw the pops both these stables got; chants and cheers for both factions as they battled for supremacy. Truly amazing stuff to watch.
Every single wrestler that participated in that match seemed to be putting on a show that screamed “I WANT A TOP SPOT IN THIS COMPANY!”
Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins are going to be huge babyface wrestlers in the WWE. Dean Ambrose is on his way to becoming a top heel. Bray Wyatt already is a top heel in my opinion, and Luke Harper (a 270+ pound guy) performing a suicide dive through the ropes was very impressive.
The problem we have going into WrestleMania is that we may never see this match/feud happening again, as it looks likely the WWE is moving towards splitting The Shield up and it is most certainly putting Bray Wyatt into a programme with John Cena, who will likely kill any momentum The Wyatt Family have got by typically refusing to put them over at WrestleMania, just as he did in the past with The Nexus and Wade Barrett.
In an ideal world, the WWE should have booked The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family in a tables, ladders and chairs match for WrestleMania because I am pretty sure that match would ultimately steal the show again as the proposed card we’re looking at the moment looks stale and lacklustre. This is the type of match, along with the obligatory match involving The Undertaker, which would elevate the card they seem to be building towards now.
Across the rest of the Elimination Chamber card, we had largely forgettable matches where no titles changed hands, where the predictability factor loomed large. Except, of course, The Shield vs Wyatt Family encounter which I gives wrestling fans a real glimmer of hope, at a time when they feel sick and tired of the direction the company has been going in.
We also got to witness the ring return of Batista and for those of you hoping to see a hard-hitting show-stopping championship match to close WrestleMania 30 this year then forget it.
Batista looked jaded and sluggish, barely looked like he could take a decent bump and had such a lackadaisical presence about him it’s as as if he now realises this return to the WWE has been a complete washout. The crowd didn’t waste any time voicing its discontent with Batista’s presence in the current set-up but I just feel as if Batista has just come back at the wrong time and his return has been handled wrong because they’ve positioned him to be the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion, while over the last six months or so, we have seen Daniel Bryan being constantly screwed out of that top spot. Batista has come along and had it handed to him on a silver platter…. or is this just an angle leading to a feud between Bryan and Batista?
People genuinely want to see Daniel Bryan be “The Guy” at the top wearing the WWE title rather than a old guy who makes limited appearances, isn’t a particularly good worker and who doesn’t seem to be too enamoured with the fact he isn’t getting over with the crowd anymore.
The direction they need to go with Batista is probably turning him heel and allowing him to generate heat with the crowd and play upon the fact he is jealous and angry of the adoration Daniel Bryan is getting. This could potentially segue into a feud between the two in the future.
Alternatively, a heel vs tweener feud between Batista and Lesnar would be a more promising match-up where Batista could be positioned as an arrogant corporate champion and Lesnar plays the Stone Cold-esque unpredictable anti-hero type role.
What will likely happen is the WWE will find some in-road for John Cena to be shoehorned into the main event picture alongside Batista somehow.
Moving away from the WWE World Heavyweight Title picture, the Divas division was also showcased in a random match between AJ Lee and Cameron from The Funkadactyls, and AJ Lee cut a promo about how no-one in the division had beaten her and she was the greatest Divas champion of all-time.
What would’ve been great would be if Lita’s music had hit but instead, The Funkadactyls’ music hit and we were led into a pointless match where we knew very well nothing of any relevance was going to happen.
There has been a severe neglect of the Divas division, where the quality of the quality of the wrestling has suffered dramatically with the constant stream of tag team matches and comedy-esque programmes they put female wrestlers into.
If they put the likes of Paige from NXT, or even finally put NXT trainer Sara Del Ray into the division to boost the quality of the wrestling then perhaps we might see people looking at the Divas division in a new light. At the moment, its place on Raw and Smackdown is just treated as ephemeral filler in the same way a pointless segment involving a joke wrestler like Santino Marella or Heath Slater is.
The tag team division is another one that has suffered and deteriorated in recent years where the only true tag team that has endured over the past few years has been The Usos, a tag team that has a great array of moves and spots and who are over with the crowd.
I’d hazard a guess that they will likely be crowned the tag team champions at WrestleMania but when they do, we are to assume The New Age Outlaws’ current foray into action will diminish and The Usos will be faced with a new challenge, could it possibly be Luke Harper and Erick Rowan of The Wyatt Family?
Rowan and Harper were part of some good matches in NXT but the focus will likely be on The Wyatt Family becoming a constant thorn in a top tier single superstar’s side rather than seeing them engage in regular tag team competition.
Without spending too much time mentioning the Elimination Chamber match itself and how that ended, I think we can all agree that it was to be expected that Randy Orton would win and that Daniel Bryan would be screwed out of the title again but I think the difference here was the facial expressions of the crowd at the climax of the match: total disillusionment and exasperation with the company, which made me think the company was doing it to gain heat on itself because it wants to build a scenario where Daniel Bryan will eventually usurp The Authority and become the Face of theWWE….or am i just being too hopeful?
It’s a given that Daniel Bryan is going to face Triple H at WrestleMania, which by all accounts was meant to be the programme CM Punk was going to be involved in before he decided to go on an unannounced hiatus – but with Batista being positioned as the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion, does this mean Daniel Bryan will continue to get screwed?
If this is the case then could the audiences going to see these shows wait that long to see him become the champion? Personally speaking, even as I watched the climax to the main event play out, I felt exactly what that crowd felt, because even though I knew what the likely outcome would be, you always feel that the WWE is going to surprise you. But that’s been its problem of late: it has been far too predictable and tiresome.
Worry not fellow pro-wrestling fans, there is a warm glow on the horizon and as long as John Cena isn’t there to dance in its soothing rays and ruin it for the rest of us, then here’s hoping the new blood of the WWE will get to pick up the ball and sprint with it for a long while