Dean Ambrose’s Elimination Chamber 2017 performance may have left something to be desired, if only the results are taken into account. But the fact that he was the second man to be eliminated in the pay-per-view’s main event and the manner of his elimination points to a possible WWE Intercontinental Championship feud against one of SmackDown Live’s fastest-rising stars — Baron Corbin.
The past year or so has seen the long-running Intercontinental Championship regain a great deal of its old luster. In 2016, The Miz reigned as IC Champion for most of the year, and made the most out of his two runs with the belt, returning to prominence with a combination of much-improved wrestling, incendiary promos, and a “must-see” rivalry, no pun intended, against Dolph Ziggler.
Ziggler’s run with the IC belt was also noteworthy, but short-lived. And when Dean Ambrose beat Miz for the title in January, it came on the heels of a hot feud. That feud started when The Miz had insulted Dean’s real-life girlfriend Renee Young in an interview segment, and outed their relationship for the first time on WWE television outside of E!’s Total Divas reality show.
— WWE (@WWE) January 4, 2017
There were some concerns, however, that it may have been a mistake to have Dean Ambrose holding the title heading into Elimination Chamber. According to Daily Wrestling News, some WWE officials were worried that it may have looked like a demotion for a man who had very recently reigned as WWE Champion, but most still remained hopeful that Ambrose would help keep the Intercontinental Championship’s newly-regained prestige with his reign.
In addition, a report from the Inquisitr cited the Wrestling Observer Newsletter‘s Dave Meltzer earlier this month, suggesting that Ambrose, despite his potential to help maintain the IC belt’s high profile, might not have a match at WrestleMania 33. But that, as well as the above concerns of his Intercontinental Championship run being a demotion, may have all changed last night for Dean Ambrose.
At Elimination Chamber, Ambrose scored the first elimination of the show’s eponymous six-man main event, pinning Baron Corbin with a surprise roll-up. Angered at being the first man out, Corbin got his revenge a few minutes later, hitting his End of Days finisher on Ambrose after tossing him against one of the pods, and setting him up to be eliminated by The Miz.
According to Bleacher Report, that brutal attack on Dean Ambrose during the Elimination Chamber match suggests a feud pitting Ambrose against Corbin, with the “Lunatic Fringe” likely defending his Intercontinental Championship against the up-and-coming “Lone Wolf” and kicking off a potentially intriguing rivalry.
As we’re seeing, the Elimination Chamber match has set up a lot of feuds and potential matches for WrestleMania 33. Aside from Ambrose vs. Corbin, there’s also John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse. This may have been set up when Nikki, who was then brawling backstage with Natalya, got knocked into Maryse, sending powder flying all over the “A-Lister’s” wife. As a result, she didn’t accompany The Miz to the ring as she always does, and in an additional hint at things to come, it was Cena who eliminated Miz soon after Baron Corbin and Dean Ambrose exited the match.
— Dean-Ambrose.Net (@DeanAmbroseNet) February 13, 2017
There’s also the WrestleMania 33 feud between involving the match’s eventual winner, new WWE Champion Bray Wyatt. According to the Inquisitr, Wyatt’s win now puts him on a collision course with Royal Rumble 2017 winner Randy Orton, where both men may be fighting for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 33, and ultimately ending the alliance they formed when Orton joined The Wyatt Family in November.
As for AJ Styles, whom Wyatt had last eliminated to win the WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber, the storyline developments that may lead to him facing SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 33 are slowly building up. There were no such hints at last night’s pay-per-view, but PWMania reported yesterday that Madison Square Garden’s website is now advertising “special appearances” from both Styles and McMahon, which could be another sign WWE wants them in a match at WrestleMania 33 in April.
Despite the aforementioned concerns, it looks like 2017 may be starting well after all for Dean Ambrose. And Elimination Chamber may have solidified that, with Baron Corbin also expected to benefit despite his and Ambrose’s early eliminations from the main event match.
[Featured Image by WWE]