With the Royal Rumble past and the road to Wrestlemania officially under way, WWE built their main event for Elimination Chamber by holding a series of qualifying matches this past Monday on Raw. The winners of the five matches will go into the Chamber with Sheamus and fight for the WWE Championship. The official six participants are as follows:
After a string of questionable victories over John Cena and a DQ win over Randy Orton at Royal Rumble, Sheamus needs a big win to come across as a strong champion. WWE’s elevation of this new talent to the main event ranks will only be successful if they keep up the momentum. Sheamus does not have to win the Chamber to continue in the main event slot, but staying in that spot and being more than a transitional or experimental champion means making an impact at the highest levels of the company, and being the star of his matches. Right now Sheamus is a young and cocky monster oblivious to his own strength and damage he can do. It would be intriguing to see him slowly develop and wrestle with his own being to harness his strength and season himself. If Sheamus wins, he will have huge momentum going into Wrestlemania.
Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton were set to face off in a qualifying match for the Chamber when Triple H told him to forget about Taker at Mania and just focus on getting DX into the Chamber together. Hunter told his friend that all he needed to do was beat Orton. Beating Randy Orton is no easy task, but the way HHH spoke to Michaels it was as if HBK had a fairly easy night ahead of him. Orton and Michaels had a good match last Monday that told a great story. After finally getting back into the title picture, Orton was cheated out of his championship match the night before at the Royal Rumble. This match was his shot at vindication. For Michaels it was redemption. He needed to beat Orton to prove that he could still compete with the main eventers and also build up his confidence as a legitimate threat to Undertaker. Orton may have been obsessed, but Michaels was consumed. This led to Michaels trying to be the show stopper. He hit Orton with his flying elbow, and then connected with a flying forearm. The inevitable nip up HBK always performs after the forearm was quickly countered by Orton with a schoolboy. It was a priceless ending that demonstrated how one man’s obsession can bring out the most desperate yet clever planning while another man being consumed by something so elusive leads to him losing himself in the moment.
With Randy Orton in the Chamber, DX will not be able to team their way to victory, but Legacy has the chance. The problem is that they are at odds with each other. Orton once held Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes on a leash. They did everything he asked, even if they were not happy about it. Over time the two youngest members of Legacy have grown from compliant children to disgruntled adolescents to reckless adults who think they know what they are doing. Orton has lost control over them and he knows it. He wants to walk away like a big brother or father leaving his kids behind, but here is Rhodes and Dibiase following him around, clinging to what hey once had, perhaps with the most devious of intentions. Breaking up stables in wrestling is a natural step in wrestling. While most stables have a ?glory days? phase they go through before breaking up, Legacy has always seemed like they are on the brink of collapse. With the much anticipated break up upon us, there are a number of directions WWE can go with this. Having Dibiase win would be a huge upset, but build for a match with Orton a Mania. It would also elevate a new star that deserves it. Orton’s win could be used by Dibiase to argue for a match at Mania for the gold, saying that he helped Orton win the match.
While Dibiase and Orton have made it to the Chamber, Cody Rhodes came up short when he squared off in a qualifying match against John Cena. Cena’s participation keeps him in the title picture and gives him a shot at Sheamus where no disqualifications can?t stop Cena from getting his title shot. In away, this is the blow off match between Cena and Sheamus. If Cena cannot win in the Chamber he has proven that at this time he is not the best. If Cena does not win this match, not only will he not be champion going into Wrestlemania, he will not be challenging for the belt at Mania either. With a likely transition into the whole Hart-McMahon/Batista situation, Elimination Chamber is the perfect way to temporarily cut Cena out of the title picture. The best way to do this would be to have the individual who eliminates him from the Chamber do so cleanly. Cena can still say that he went in there with five other competitors and held his own, even if he loses. Orton pinning Cena would give Orton a little slap in the face after their series of matches last year which Cena won. Triple H getting the win would be unnecessary. The best choices are Sheamus or Dibiase. Dibiase could use a win over John Cena to build him up for Mania. Sheamus getting the win would be even better as he would finally get a definitive pin on Cena.
After a great feud with Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston needed to keep up his momentum. Having him in the Raw main event at Elimination Chamber helps that momentum continue, but WWE will need to continue to follow up if Kofi is to continue his rise. Unlike last year, Kofi will likely actually participate in the match. Kofi is the most unlikely to win this match, but his presence provides a sizzle to the fight that was much needed. When it came down to Kofi’s match with Big Show last Monday, Kofi was the right pick to put in the Chamber when standing back and looking at the other competitors. Show is very good, but Kofi can add that sizzle that is needed.
Triple H seems unmotivated lately. His character would rather goof around with Hornswoggle than chase gold. Something or someone needs to come along and light a fire under him. His frustration with HBK could do it, but perhaps a run in with Sheamus would best. Should it be a backstage incident where they back into each other to Sheamus sneak attacking Hunter to intimidate him before the Chamber. Sheamus could even be the one to call out Triple H and challenge him to become the Game again. He did it with Cena where he punked out the top guy, now he can do it with Triple H, only this time, retaliation brings the Game back to focus. These two men could do very well together. Should HHH-Sheamus be the match at Mania, then they must spark a fire to light up their clash fro the title. Triple H could tell Sheamus that he may have beat Cena and Orton, but he has never been in the ring with a veteran the caliber of himself. Hunter could capitalize on Sheamus? recklessness and take him to school, only for Sheamus to prove that no lack of experience can conquer sheer strength and rage. In order to do this, WWE must either find a way for Hunter to be eliminated from the Chamber that would give him reason to still challenge for the title, or he must win, giving Sheamus his rematch at Mania.
When these six gladiators battle at Elimination Chamber for the gold, the possible victors are wide open for the most part. The same can not be said for the SmackDown! side. With that said, Raw should main event the Chamber PPV. The outcome of this match will shape Wrestlemania more so than Royal Rumble did one week ago.