WWE’s caged pay-per-view offering the Elimination Chamber returns tonight and emanates from the American Bank Center live in Corpus Christi, Texas, and marks the return to the WWE schedule of the popular event. It is only the second major event to be offered by WWE exclusively on the WWE Network, the first being the reintroduced King of the Ring tournament, the semifinals and finals of which were broadcast on the network.
At this year’s Elimination Chamber event, two WWE championship titles are on the line. The WWE Tag Team Championships, as well as the Intercontinental Championship, recently vacated by the leader of the “YES! Movement,” Daniel Bryan, who was forced to relinquish the title he won in a ladder match at this year’s Wrestlemania.
This particular match holds much intrigue for the WWE Universe as the WWE Intercontinental Championship has been a huge question mark since Daniel Bryan was sent home months ago from an overseas tour with rumors abounding about the long-term health and career speculation surrounding the popular superstar. Only after tests definitively determined that Bryan, who was forced to relinquish the WWE World Heavyweight Championship just a year prior in similar fashion due to the same injury, was the move made for Bryan to surrender the title.
The intrigue surrounding the six participants of the match has heightened in recent weeks with rumors circulating around the web of a possible injury to former WWE United States Champion Rusev, who is in the midst of a split with long time valet, Lana. With his spot in the Eliminatrion Chamber match a question mark, speculation abounds as to who might replace the Bulgarian Brute if he is unable to compete. Bray Wyatt seems to be the most talked about name, and with his storyline with Chamber participant Ryback in full swing, if Wyatt is inserted into the bout, he would likely become the odds on favorite to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
Another school of thought says that the Wyatt/Ryback angle is strong enough and does not need a championship attached to it. Some speculate that, after several years of workhorses like Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler — both also Chamber match participants — working to reinstitute the WWE IC championship as a meaningful, top tier title after years of neglect, having the title attached to such an angle as Wyatt/Ryback’s would overshadow the title itself.
Barrett is an interesting choice to have win the WWE Intercontinental Championship. King Barrett, just recently crowned the King of the Ring, has had several successful runs as a top level heel derailed by fluke injury. Similarly, Ziggler, also a frequent visitor to the injured list, has seen his momentum perpetually halted due to injury. The result has been that the credibility of the WWE Intercontinental Championship has largely been upheld by Barrett and Ziggler, who have traded the title back and forth over the last couple of years playing off of each other’s injuries.
As earlier stated, Ryback, who always seems to be right on the bubble, would appear to be a popular WWE IC Champ, but may be a case where his popularity denotes that the Big Guy does not need the title. His storyline with Wyatt is strong enough to keep him in a upper tier semi-main event level for the foreseeable future, and R-Truth has about as much chance at winning the title as Los Matadores do of winning the WWE Tag Team Championship.
That leaves Sheamus, whose recent return as a bullying heel has knocked the stale off of his character and reinvigorated him in a way not seen since his WWE debut. A WWE Intercontinental Championship win here would continue his heel momentum and allow him to feud with the likes of Ziggler, Bryan, if he is able to return to action, and even WWE newcomer Neville, who has taken the WWE Universe by storm.
While there are several ways WWE could go here that would lead to much intrigue and plentiful storyline juice for the next several months, the money pick here is King Barrett. Since winning the WWE King of the Ring, Barrett has largely spent his time putting over Neville and helping to establish him as a bona fide WWE Superstar. An IC win here would allow Barrett to regain his heat and elevate him to near main event status, and certainly position him as a believable contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship scene.
WWE Elimination Chamber is available exclusively on the WWE Network for $9.99.
[Image courtesy of WWE]