411's PPV Roundtable Preview - WWE Elimination Chamber 2014 (Part 1)
Posted by Sean Garmer on 02.22.2014
Randy Orton defends the WWE World Title inside the chamber as WWE presents the Elimination Chamber live on PPV! Plus the Wyatts take on the Shield and more! Check out the roundtable for all the details and join 411 for LIVE coverage on Sunday night!
The 2014 edition of the Elimination Chamber marks the final time people in the United States have to order a WWE PPV through traditional means because the WWE Network launches on Monday and Wrestlemania XXX will be the first of many PPV's on said network. A part of me still can't believe The Network is actually happening. Anyway, this PPV has a few things going for it like the Elimination Chamber match, which could see the Champion retain as much as we could see someone like Daniel Bryan become WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Then there is the awesome six-man tag match between The Wyatt Family and The Shield to give us what could be one of the best multi man matches we've ever seen. There is also The Usos getting a Tag Team Title shot against New Age Outlaws, Big E. defending his Intercontinental Championship against Jack Swagger that could wind up a decent affair. In addition, WWE even showed some mid-card continuity by putting Darren Young vs. Titus O' Neil and Rhodes Brothers vs. Curtis Axel and RyBack on the pre-show. Plus we get Batista's first big match since returning against Alberto Del Rio. Whether you are excited about this PPV or not, we can at least agree that maybe by the end we will know a little bit more about what we might see at Wrestlemania XXX. Now, let's get on to the real reason why you are here and that's those predictions.
The Staff Justin Watry, Truth And Lies Dino Zucconi, Smart Marks Michael Weyer, Shining A Spotlight James Wright, The Heel Report Mike Chin, The Magnificent Seven Mike Hammerlock, The Wrestling Zone 8-Ball Allenby O' Brien, Ye NXT Chronicle Nick Sellers, Canvas Critiques Daniel Anderson, Games Fact or Fiction Organizer Jack Bramma, Ring Crew Reviews Sean Garmer, WWE Roundtable Organizer, Games Top 5 Organizer
Tag Team Match: Rhodes Brothers vs. Curtis Axel & RyBack Pre-Show Kickoff Match
Justin Watry: Despite anything Goldust says on Twitter, I want to see the two brothers go at it come WrestleMania XXX. It has been teased for at least two years now. Show some kind of tension and build to the match. If Goldust sticks around past April or a little bit longer, great. He has earned more time in the company. If not, it was a wonderful run to help out Cody Rhodes. Regardless, I am not picking Curtis Axel to win any kind of match. Too bad for Ryback...but he is still with Mr. Perfect's son. Thus, this goes to Goldust and Cody Rhodes.
Winner: Goldust and Cody Rhodes
Dino Zucconi: I'm one of the many who are still looking for a Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes match at WrestleMania, regardless of what they're saying on their Twitter machines. And what better way to kickstart that than by having some Classic Miscommunication cost the Rhodes boys the match against Ryback and Axel? Knowing WWE, they might just go the route of having one hit the other on accident, but still get the win, just because they don't want Axel and Ryback winning that often, but I'm gonna go with the "upset" and take the Big Guy and Axel and hopefully start the way for Goldust vs. Cody.
Winners: Ryback and Curtis Axel
Michael Weyer: I'm joining in the chorus on how it's quite likely we see the Rhodes go at it at Mania. This seems the best way to make it happen as Ryback and Axel are a surprisingly fair team and should be a good match. In the end, miscommunication leads to the Rhodes losing and sets the stage for their break-up and the Mania bout we all want to see.
Winners: Ryback and Axel Walker
James Wright: I'm trying to decide if this is an important match or not. After all there could be something at stake if you believe that the WWE's tag division is still being built up and that this match will actually go a long way to deciding the next number one contenders for the tag titles. However despite the huge increase in tag matches at them moment it seems like the company still has the same attitude of neglect to actual tag teams. What with the Prime Time Players recent break up, and the Shield and possibly the Rhodes Brothers themselves heading that way as well the amount of actual teams in the tag division seems to be dropping rapidly. What's more I doubt teams like Rybaxel will last too long, and really weren't even that good to begin with, the New Age Outlaws probably won't be around too long once they drop the titles, and teams like 3MB and Los Matadors are mostly just joke teams. So who knows how the tag division will be doing in a few months, still maybe we should just enjoy it while it lasts. Bottom line is; if the Rhodes will be feuding at Mania then this match will probably act as a catalyst for that indicating a loss, but then again nothing is set in stone, especially for this year's Mania, so we can't take that for granted, and giving a win to Rybaxel seems pointless at this point, unless they are being set up as challengers to the Usos if they win the titles, then the Rhodes actually look good to win this one. It seems like a bit of a toss-up, but I feel like betting against the Outlaws in their tag match so Rybaxel makes more sense, at least in terms of future challengers.
Mike Chin: The Rhodes Brothers have little left to accomplish as a tag team, while Cody Rhodes is more than ready to make a run at the upper card, and maybe even flirt with the main event in the year to come. Whether he has to feud with Goldust first or the team will quietly splinter is anyone's guess. In the meantime, Ryback and Curtis Axel have nothing better to do than team with each other and are likely challengers for upcoming bouts for the The Usos if they take the titles, and so could use this momentum.
Winner: Ryback and Curtis Axel
Mike Hammerlock: Not sure how the Rhodes Brothers got lost in the shuffle of late, but it's happened. Here they are in the pre-show again. I suppose it's a sign of how strong the roster is that Cody and Goldust are in the pre-show. Still, it would be nice if they were into something more meaningful than a clash against RybAxel. If this were part of the main show, I'd say there was a chance Cody and Goldust might drop the match as part of a move into whatever their next thing is. That won't be happening on the pre-show since almost nobody is paying attention. RybAxel exists to take professional losses.
Winner: Rhodes Brothers
Allenby O'Brien: Well this came out of nowhere. The Rhodes Bros. go from being the anchor of what looked to be a promising tag division to an afterthought in a division that's going to be even more rocked by break-ups. We could see THREE teams break-up at this show, which as far as I can recall is unprecedented. But enough of my lamenting the stillbirth of the tag division.
RybAxel are going to take this one after classic babyface miscommunication. I don't see either of The Sons of The Son of a Plumber turning just quite yet-if at all-but this will definitely lead to the end of their regular teaming as they gear up for their WrestleMania showdown.
Hopefully, when THE BIG GUY & SHAH! win this it's done in a fashion that actually benefits them, rather than just making them look like lucky beneficiaries of the Rhodes split.
Nick Sellers: Babyfaces to win to get the crowd going early doors. They haven't really followed up on signs of a match between the Brothers at Wrestlemania so maybe they'll revisit that here, who knows?
Winner: Goldust and Cody Rhodes
Daniel Anderson: It seems to me, despite Goldust saying the brother vs brother match is not happening, it is weird that the Rhodes Brothers lost the title and seem to be losing and costing each other matches as we head to Wrestlemania.
Winner: RyBack and Curtis Axel
Jack Bramma: Cody and Goldust have been knocked down a peg since dropping the belts to the NAO rather unceremoniously at the RR on the pre-show. They lost a follow-up cage match a couple of weeks later and lately have been relegated to hocking the toys as the butt of Bad News Barrett's jokes and jobbing with exciting Expiring Contract Jobber Rey Mysterio. That's all well and good; I don't have a problem with the pendulum swinging the other direction and the Rhodes now putting over The Shield for weeks on-end. But I'd say the writing is on the wall, at least for the time being. I don't necessarily see the Cody/Goldust feud coming out of this because I've just never particularly clamored for it, but I still see them continuing their skid against RybAxel.
Sean Garmer: As many folks have said on here, Goldust and Cody seem to have gone down a peg. I think Goldust and Cody are using their fancy "smoke and mirrors" to try to get people off the scent of a possible Brother vs. Brother match. Wrestlemania XXX could use a well booked personal feud and I think after all the teasing they've done for the past couple years I think it would be a travesty to not do it when Goldust is in the best shape of his life and Cody Rhodes is ready to head into the upper mid-card. I'd expect some miscommunication to happen here that continues the downward spiral and we will see something on RAW that ignites the feud.
Winner: RyBack & Curtis Axel
Darren Young vs. Titus O' Neil Singles Match
Justin Watry: I really hope WWE has some kind of plan for these two. After this one match, is there really anything else to do? Plus, being on the Road to WM, what is Titus O'Neil going to do? Or Darren Young? With the big names and legends about to come back, it is hard to believe this feud will mean much. Sorry. I wish them nothing but the best come Sunday night.
Winner: Titus O'Neil
Dino Zucconi: Match 1 in what will only prove to be an epic series between the former Prime Time Players, I really see this going either way. Obviously Titus is the project of the breakup, and the one they'll at least attempt to give a push to. That can sometimes lead to the guy with no real plan getting the win to start the feud off, just so you believe he has something of a chance. Darren Young would really benefit by not immediately losing to Titus, whereas I think Titus will still be fine with one flukish type loss. That said, I'm pretty sure Titus crushes Young in a shortish match, and possibly never looks back.
Winner: Titus O' Neil
Michael Weyer: The breakup of the PTP was handled well and it's obvious WWE has big plans for Titus. The guy is a great worker and growing better on the mic. For so long as partners, they should be able to put on a great match, both guys wanting to make their mark and wow the crowd. I see it going to Titus as he's the nice fresh heel face WWE could use and a big win here can put him on the map nicely.
Winner: Titus O'Neil
James Wright: While this team breaking up somewhat prematurely is a bad omen for the tag team division, it has been interesting to see the rapid growth of Titus O'Neil as a singles wrestler, especially considering what he was like when he was a rookie on NXT. There are a lot of variables in this match, such as if the WWE are planning to give them a rematch at Wrestlemania, which with the card so potentially packed as it could be seems like a long shot. It also depends on whether they are looking to push Darren Young considering the positive attention he has been getting in the media since his coming out. To me a fiery babyface win by Darren Young makes more sense here as I feel he needs it more, but I can't help but think the WWE will do their usual of letting the bigger partner in size near-squash his former partner to give him 'momentum' before it comes grinding to a screeching halt once he truly breaks away from his partner, so Titus probably wins this one.
Winner: Titus O'Neil
Mike Chin: I appreciate that WWE has offered a modicum of attention to this feud, albeit mostly on Smackdown. Titus O'Neil is being painted as the Prime Time Player with a personality, not to mention aggression, and all signs point to him winning this one, which will hopefully be a step toward him challenging for a mid-card title, perhaps post-'Mania.
Winner: Titus O'Neil
Mike Hammerlock: I'm rooting for these two to surprise us with a good match. Unfortunately I've got a sneaking suspicion the match would have gotten double the time on Raw or Smackdown than it will at the Elimination Chamber. The mission for O'Neil and Young is to put on a good enough match to create some buzz. That's why it probably should have been on one of the TV shows. You get more buzz by putting on a hot match seen in 4+ million households than you do in slightly more than 200,000 households. Honestly, the WWE Network can't get here soon enough. The outcome here seems preordained.
Winner: Titus O'Neil
Allenby O' Brien: This, also, seemingly came out of nowhere. PTP hadn't gotten much in the way of significant TV time recently…SO naturally the first thing to do is to split them up. Titus constantly referring to "731 Days" makes me think that WWE actually has an upper limit on how many days "potential main eventers" can be in a team before the mandatory split is enforced.
With that said I do like how Titus is showing some personality & humour rather than immediately becoming the clichéd GRR I'M SERIOUS NOW heel, while Darren has been great in the role of firey sympathetic babyface. While it's obvious that Titus is the one getting the push from this (because he's got that bod that Vince likes and…umm…err…he can be amusing on the mic?) the first win of this program would benefit Darren a lot more than Titus and could allow the feud to continue.
(Still think that this breakup happened prematurely, though.)
Winner: Darren Young
Nick Sellers: The split was done in one night without any build-up, but still produced effectively. Since then Titus has slotted into his heel role nicely and they've at least tried to make Darren Young into a decent babyface in that time. Good chance for both of these two to make a decent impression on the PPV stage. Titus to get the win via cowardly means.
Winner: Titus O'Neil
Daniel Anderson: Right now, it seems that WWE has plans for O'Neil. The breakup of the team was handled well, and if they do have plans for O'Neil, then having him win over his former partner is a good start.
Winner: Titus O' Neil
Jack Bramma: Darren has dropped off the the company's radar since getting few victories following coming out last summer/fall. So far, Titus has come up on the short end in almost every exchange including losing to the dog of dogs, Ziggler on the final Smackdown before the PPV. Titus has to come out ahead, otherwise what "big things" can they really have in store for him if he can't even beat his tag partner?
Winner: Titus O'Neil.
Sean Garmer: I've enjoyed watching this breakup progress throughout the weeks and both guys have shown they have what it takes to make it on there own. Titus is obviously the star with his wit, humor, and the size and background WWE loves, although Darren has been a great fiery face with the story you know WWE wants to use some day as well. I may get lambasted for this, but if WWE isn't going to pull the trigger on Rhodes vs. Rhodes than I wouldn't mind if Darren Young won in a surprise here and they had this as a lowercard match at WM 30, perhaps with some stipulation. I don't think WWE has even thought of anything else but a win here to give Titus some momentum to possibly challenge Big E for the IC Title at WM 30.
Winner: Titus O' Neil
Batista vs. Alberto Del Rio Singles Match
Justin Watry: Forgot about this match? Well, I do not blame you. I am not saying this should be an all out stomping. However, WWE made it pretty clear that Batista is the star, and ADR is not. If there is anything interesting about this match, it will be the live crowd. Have they moved on from them hissy fit over the Royal Rumble ending? Or are they still whining and crying over their precious Daniel Bryan not winning a match he was never advertised for? Should be fun.
Dino Zucconi: I'm having flashbacks to JBL vs. Batista and Batista vs. Booker T as far as this match goes, and that's not a good thing at all. This may go longer than it needs to, and they may try to make us think Batista may lose, but this feels like the biggest foregone conclusion on the card. Anything can happen and all that jazz, but big boot and Batista Bomb sounds about right.
Winner: Big Dave "Load 'Em Up, Magnum Pew Pew" Batista
Michael Weyer: I'm less interested in the match and more on the crowd reaction to this. Can we see a full-scale fan revolt with massive boos and anti-Batista chants rocking the arena to the point the announcers can't ignore it? It's obvious Batista is winning but this should be the last major chance for the fandom to let it be known loud and proud that they absolutely loathe him getting the title shot at Mania. So for a preview of how that reaction to him being champ is going to be, this should be a glorious train wreck to see.
James Wright: I have little interest in this match past watching Del Rio get destroyed by the Animal. I expect this to be a bit like Lesnar vs. Big Show at the Rumble, although probably with a little more actual wrestling. Del Rio continues to be the sacrificial lamb for the returning Batista and really it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. When Del Rio first came into the WWE I was excited to see a real heel character come into the company, he seemed to exude charisma and dominance; now I just want him to go away.
Mike Chin: I actually like that WWE has built this secondary feud to keep Batista occupied and give him a chance to showcase himself as a badass headed into 'Mania. It would be a bit more entertaining if I thought Del Rio had any chance of winning, but it is what it is.
Mike Hammerlock: Let's see, we've got the guy that seemingly no one wants to see in the main event of Wrestlemania against the man who had the WHC belt wither around his waist last year. At least I know when to take a bathroom break. The real interest in this match isn't the outcome, because Batista will be winning it, but whether the good people of Minneapolis hijack it. Come on Minneapolis, misbehave. In a perfect world Brock Lesnar or CM Punk run in here and lay waste to Batista, setting up a match for the Wrestlemania slot. I mean, that's what you'd do if you listened to and wanted to excite your audience. However, Batista's baffling and boring march to Wrestlemania likely will continue without incident.
Allenby O'Brien: This match has intrigue but for all the wrong reasons: How is Batista going to perform in his first proper singles match? What response will he receive from the crowd? Does he get injured before it finishes? Are WWE actually going to bother with the pretense of making this competitive? If the crowd turns on him, how does Dave react?
Dave the Destroyer squashes Alberto in <10 minutes (15 at most) while desperately trying not to look completely gassed.
Nick Sellers: This'll be interesting in terms of how well Batista can keep up with the conditioning. Del Rio isn't everyone's favorite but he can GO in the ring and has some excellent stamina. But a good performance here from Batista might just warm more fans to him going into his big Wrestlemania title match and it does give him a platform to show off any new skills he's acquired from all his different post-WWE training stints. Sink or swim really in his case; if he can't keep up with Del Rio, what chance does he have in a Wrestlemania main event? The sole purpose is for Del Rio to put him over, so the latter has just as important a role in making his opponent look like a star going into said 'Mania main event.
Daniel Anderson: Does anyone think this will not be a squash match? Anyone? This is a way to get the crowd behind Batista and squash someone who will be leaving WWE soon.
Jack Bramma: These two guys are on totally different trajectories but are both fascinating to behold. ADR is getting hosed in every single segment with Batista and only got to punch him once against a cascade of powerbombs, post-match attacks, neck braces, and shitcans in the RR. He's another member of the Expiring Contract Jobbers with Rey Mysterio, but the feud is so bizarrely one-sided. Batista, on the other hand, came back to hug the H's and underperform in an underwhelming RR victory and promptly get booed out of the arena because he wasn't Daniel Bryan or Roman Reigns. The live RAW report from Omaha that said Batista had to suck up to the fans with a big-time homer promo before he went on air is mind-boggling. As far as this feud goes, we are clearly through the looking glass. ADR has absolutely no chance and will probably get demolished in about 5 minutes like JBL did back at No Mercy 2008 against Batista. I see no way that Batista turns heel, at least not yet and not here.
Sean Garmer: I'm glad they gave Batista someone no one cares about to demolish in his first official match back in the company. I feel bad for Del Rio because either he is going to be squashed quickly so that the crowd has no chance to hijack the match, or Del Rio will get a few cracks at the Cross Armbreaker and try to carry Batista to something decent only to get demolished by a huge comeback from "The Animal." Either way, this is the easiest match on the card to predict because we all know who is winning here.
(Champion) Big E. vs. Jack Swagger w/ Zeb Colter WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Justin Watry: This could be the sleeper of the night. Not in a negative way. Save the jokes! I mean this in a positive way. If it is only planned for 5-10 minutes, then it would be quite the disappointment. Jack Swagger can flat out 'GO!' in the ring. Big E is not up to that level yet but could with the right opponent. I say give them a chance to shine. The result may surprise you, but I will go with Jack Swagger winning the IC Championship. The next night on Raw, Swagger and Zeb Colter can mock Cesaro for not winning gold in the Chamber (because there is no way he becomes WWE World Champion) and then attack him. Fans cheer for Cesaro. He officially turns face and has a ready made feud for WMXXX. Simple, yet effective. Big E? Yeah, about that...
Winner and New IC Champion: Jack Swagger
Dino Zucconi: I don't see Big E losing the belt here. I just don't. This could very well be quite the surprisingly fun power display, but there is nothing here that makes me think, with even 1% of my being, that Jack Swagger is winning this match in any way, shape, or form. If anything, this could end up working out as a nice showcase for the IC Champ.
Winner: And STILL Intercontinental Champion... Big E!
Michael Weyer: Tempting as it is with Swagger getting some new drive, just don't see Big E dropping the belt yet. He's clicking well as a champ, putting some meaning back in the IC title again and getting over well as an improving worker. This will be a good way for him to rise up more and set up another IC bout at Mania. So tempting but I'll go with Big E to retain here and nice to see the IC belt really mean something again.
Winner and STILL IC Champion: Big E
James Wright: This is an interesting match-up as both men have similar background and can both work a power and technical game. I'm hoping that this makes both men bring their A-game and we get a contest worthy of what the IC title should represent. I think Big E. retains here since him losing would only make sense if they had something big planned for him come Wrestlemania, and considering they are already pushing Roman Reigns, and now seemingly Cesaro, to the moon, I doubt there would be any space for him, even with his nifty new name change.
Winner: Big E.
Mike Chin: Big E. seems to have lost some steam, and there's an argument to be made that Cesaro might bring Jack Swagger up with him for one more run toward the top of the card. That said, I think WWE still sees more long-term potential in Big E. We're in Wrestlemania season, so I'm going with the guy who has a future.
Winner: Big E.
Mike Hammerlock: I normally don't think anyone must win or lose a given match. For all the complaining that accompanies the pre-determined outcomes of pro wrestling matches, generally it doesn't matter as long as you're telling a good story. For instance, anybody could win any of the other matches on this card. Wyatts or Shield? I'm rooting for the Shield and I think the Wyatts will win, but the important things are the quality of their work and the story they tell. Win, lose, whatever. Thanks to Ask 411's Matt Sforcina for posting a link to the Internet Wrestling Database, which makes it clear that winning isn't what makes a guy great or puts a guy over. Tom Zenk, Kerry Von Erich and Ludvig Borga won almost all the time in the WWF and it got them nowhere.
That said, the decision to put Big E over Damien Sandow at TLC has left both wrestlers and the Intercontinental title in a shambles. Big E needed to lose and then have a hot feud which put over the belt as a major prize. Instead he got a pro forma win at TLC and since then interest in him and the belt has flatlined. Winning was the worst possible thing that could have happened to Big E. He was out of the Rumble in less than three minutes. Now, here's Jack Swagger, a guy perfectly capable of giving Big E the high profile feud he needed two months ago. Big E desperately needs to lose and then pick up his game in order to regain the title. Winning for Big E would be a one-way ticket to Afterthought City. And Swagger really could use the win to maintain is viability.
Winner: Big E
Allenby O'Brien: Swaggie was on a losing streak before he became #1 Contender. Big E has crushed everybody in his path for months and is a future top star, so he's certainly not losing to a perennial under-achiever like Swagger. The only possible way Swagger could win this is if the breakup of The Real Americans leads to them feuding for the IC Title at WrestleMania but I really don't see that happening.
Big E steamrolls Swaggie and marches into month FIVE of his reign as Intercontinental Champion.
Winner: TAFKA Langston
Nick Sellers: Big E hasn't really grown as a performer since winning the strap, and Swagger's heel act with Zeb Coulter in tow is much more interesting. Personally I'd have Swagger go over and then have him feud with Cesaro over the strap, since they seem so hot on the latter right now and I could actually see him working as a decent babyface.
Winner And New IC Champion: Jack Swagger
Daniel Anderson: I think this has the potential to be a good match. I can see both wrestlers working well together, but Swagger, like Ziggler, seems to be permanently in the WWE doghouse and Big E is seen as a rising star right now (and they are trying to make the IC Title mean something again…I hope).
Winner: Big E
Jack Bramma: I like the new move up for the Real Americans, but Swagger is mostly along for the ride. He's a good hand and I love him as a tag guy with Cesaro, but he's had numerous opportunities and whether it's getting busted with pot or concussing Ziggler, he'll probably never get a sustained singles push again. Big E is headed for big things.
Winner: Big E!
Sean Garmer: Until I started reading some of the predictions on here to organize this Roundtable I'd never even given a thought to the possibility of Swagger winning and then feuding with Cesaro in their break-up over the IC Title at Mania. My only issue is that I still want a US/IC Title Unification match to happen at least by Extreme Rules, if not at Wrestlemania 30 itself. If Cesaro and Swagger are feuding over it you couldn't really do that unless WWE just does some six person match for both belts at WM 30 with Big E, Swagger, Cesaro and The Shield all battling it out. Once again, I don't think WWE even thinks that far ahead or have even thought about this scenario at all. Big E was given a name change for a reason because someone in the higher places of WWE believes in him. They are attempting to make the IC Title mean something again and Jack Swagger could actually carry on a decent feud and some nice matches with Big E for a bit. I'd say the champ retains here and we will have to play a guessing game as to what he does at WM 30.
Winner AND STILL WWE IC CHAMPION: Big E.
That's it for Part One! But wait, there's more! PART TWO of the Roundtable looks at the upper card and main event, so don't forget to check it out at the link!