WWE’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view struck a chord with a lot of fans because of the concept of its titular main event match – six wrestlers fighting for a title, with two starting out in the ring, and the other four emerging from enclosed pods and entering in intervals of five minutes, starting in the 10th minute of the match. Unfortunately, the event was unexpectedly canned leading into WrestleMania 31 in 2015, as WWE decided instead on Fastlane – a pay-per-view without a set theme – as the PPV taking place in between Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. But now, it would appear that WWE is bringing back Elimination Chamber for its 2017 PPV schedule, according to a new report.
WrestlingNews.co reported Sunday that Elimination Chamber will take place in February as it normally did, marking its return for the first time in close to two years. Despite losing its traditional place in WWE’s pay-per-view schedule, the company did have such a PPV in May 31, 2015 as a WWE Network exclusive. During that event, there were two Elimination Chamber matches, one for the Tag Team Championship and another for the vacant Intercontinental Championship, but neither took place in the main event. Rather, WWE went with then-champion Seth Rollins defending his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Dean Ambrose to close out the show.
— WrestlingTalkShow (@TheTalkShow101) October 24, 2016
Prior to that, the event was WWE’s traditional February PPV, following the Royal Rumble and immediately preceding WrestleMania. The 2014 iteration, which was the last to take place in that month, saw Randy Orton successfully defending his WWE World Heavyweight title against Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Christian, Sheamus, and Cesaro. One year later, however, WWE held its first-ever Fastlane PPV, which didn’t come with any special matches, but still focused on moving storylines forward, or as suggested by the show’s name, moving them forward quickly ahead of WrestleMania.
Despite its traditional popularity, WWE dropped Elimination Chamber in 2015 not because fans were losing interest in the event and its traditional main event match. According to WrestlingNews.co, logistical issues were behind the company’s decision, as it was proving too difficult to set up the Elimination Chamber match structure, a 10-ton cage with scoreboards located above the ring. And since WWE has “always been open” to reintroducing the event on a more regular basis, it looks like the July 2016 brand split has given the company the impetus to work toward bringing it back.
— Bill Fenbers (@Bill_Fenbers) October 24, 2016
It’s not sure where the event will be held, and it isn’t sure either whether WWE’s next Elimination Chamber will be a RAW or SmackDown-specific pay-per-view. But WrestlingNews.co believes it may be a SmackDown-branded event. That’s because RAW is holding a brand-specific PPV, Roadblock, in December, while the next Fastlane, which is scheduled on March 2, 2017, at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, may also be exclusive to the so-called “flagship brand” of WWE.
What’s there to expect upon the return of WWE’s Elimination Chamber this coming February? While it is an interesting idea to have six wrestlers competing for a title in such a setup, history tells us that main event titles don’t typically change hands too often in the early-year buildup toward WrestleMania. But there may be some other sort of stakes present. For instance, it could be a battle for a mid-card title, like what we saw in the 2015 iteration, or a fight for No. 1 contendership for a main event title, like the Elimination Chamber match of 2013.
Whatever the case may be in February, it’s good to see WWE bring back Elimination Chamber after a brief hiatus, and quite timely due to the promise of more pay-per-views brought about by this year’s brand split.