WWE’s caged pay-per-view offering the Elimination Chamber returns tonight and emanates from the American Bank Center live in Corpus Christi, Texas. It marks the return to the WWE schedule of the super event as well as 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, there are two WWE championship titles, the Intercontinental Championship that was 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, as well as the WWE Tag Team Championships.
WWE has made significant strides in the past year to reemphasize the tag team division, and it can be argued that the division has not been this active or this intriguing since the early 2000’s. Participating in this year’s event, which will see two members of the three-man group The New Day, Kofi Kingston, Big E., and Xavier Woods, defend the WWE tag team championship against the exciting and high-flying Lucha Dragons, Kalisto and Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, The Primetime Players, Darren Young and Titus O’Neil, The Ascension, Konnor and Viktor, and Los Matadores, Diego and Fernando.
Since dethroning Kidd and Cesaro, The New Day has become one of the most entertaining acts on the WWE roster and after embracing the WWE Universe’s distaste for the the group’s prior babyface incarnation and becoming antagonists, have finally managed to curry the attention and favor of the WWE Universe. Kingston has been long overdue for a character refreshing and has seemed to have finally found his niche within the group. Big E., while occasionally cartoonish, has excelled as well, and Woods has easily become the breakout talent of the group. The unfortunate thing here is that as high as this trio have been hitting, the same attention and care does not appear to have been put into many of the opposing teams. Kidd and Cesaro seemed to gel and have become defacto babyfaces as they attempt to reclaim the WWE gold and haven’t seemed to have been able to reclaim the steam that led them to the WWE titles in the first place.
Similarly, The Ascension came on the WWE tag team scene strong, drawing criticism and ire for their self-comparisons to legendary WWE tag teams of the past, including the Road Warriors and Demolition. Konnor and Viktor dominated NXT and seemed to be following in the mold of such teams, but upon arriving on WWE’s main roster to a more cartoonish image, have slid into a role more closely described as “enhancement.” A big, convincing, devastating win in the most treacherous of environments here could propel them back to the forefront and reposition them as devastators.
The Primetime Players have recently reemerged as potentially the most talented and interesting team of the bunch. PTP split nearly a year ago when Darren Young went on the disabled list, leaving Titus O’Neil to flounder and team with perennial job hand Heath Slater. Since Young’s return, the WWE higher ups wasted no time putting these two back together, and they wasted no time showing how smart that move was. With weekly vignettes parodying the other teams in the WWE tag team division, Young and O’Neil proved that the momentum lost when Young who became injured was no fluke. A WWE tag team title win here would instantly propel them to a rightful spot at the top of the division.
With so many differing factors to consider, the one factor that has always made the Elimination Chamber an intriguing event for championships is that with each participant trapped in a time release pod, the champions don’t have to be defeated in order to lose the WWE championships. That means that a surprise win for a team that needs an injection, such as the PTP or the Ascension, can be achieved without the champion losing any steam. With that consideration, the smart move here is to leave the WWE Tag Team Championship on whatever pairing of The New Day enters the Chamber. Their act is fresh and entertaining, and with the trio competing under “Freebird Rules,” the allowance of the third member to involve himself and affect the outcome of any match leaves a lot of room for creativity and clever finishes going forward. Eventually, the Primetime Players are the team to wear the gold, but for now, The New Day should win the day by giving each other the other teams The Clap.
WWE Elimination Chamber is available exclusively on the WWE Network for $9.99.