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Sunday, 21 February 2010

Elimination Chamber Preview

Tonight it is the Pay Per View formerly and formally known as No Way Out, but now dubbed the Elimination Chamber. Just for those who couldn't judge the subtlety of a name which didn't include the featured match.

Tonight is the last PPV before we get to the grandest stage of all in five weeks. The Road to Wrestlemania is truly stretching out in front of us, and a great many clues to the final line up will be provided tonight.

Surprises can happen. Two years ago we didn't know Big Show would return and we didn't know Floyd Mayweather would be present to break Paul Wight's nose. A Wrestlemania match was on at that point.

The developments we are looking involve Shawn Michaels as he pursues his Mania match with The Undertaker. Will HBK cost Taker the chamber match tonight?

Developments may involve involve Batista. Big Dave has been trying his hardest not to wrestle in recent weeks, and is wanted by John Cena. Batista will appear on Raw tomorrow night, but perhaps he'll have some inetraction with Cena tonight before Raw rolls around.

There may be some involvement by Vincent Kennedy McMahon. With only four matches booked at this point, it seems an appropriate time for Vince to address what happened to Bret on Raw last week, so perhaps an in-ring talking segment to forward the Vince/Bret programme will occur.

And there is the notion of Edge hovering over the show, surveying the scene and plotting his own path to Mania. I'd make him a major focus of this show. Certainly being at ringside or on commentary or at the top of the ramp for both chamber matches, and an in-ring promo if there is no other non-wrestling stuff taking place there during the night.

There are only four matches announced as I type this.

Kane v Drew McIntrye is one, and I feel we are unlikely to see a title change hands here. Unless there are some backstage shenanigans that we don't know about - and that is NOT inside info, that is merely a wild statement - I don't see that Drew drops his strap here. Filler - and a retention.

I'm surprised that Maryse and Gail didn't feature more on Raw last week. In fact I'm not sure they featured at all. That's a shame because I'm really curious to where they are going with the 'Maryse being nice' angle. I have some faith that this will be a reasonable match, because Gail is such a solid hand and Maryse's character is strong.

I don't really see WWE believing in Gail Kim. Think about the time in which she has been back, and think about interview time she has been given, or any character development, There has been zero. Some people don't need it, but I think you do when you are getting one two minute match per month to get over.

I'd say Maryse wins this, and then in a week we've forgotten it ever happened.

Tonight's show has an element of Royal Rumble about it in the sense that the only things I'm looking at are the Chamber bouts, and the undercard is irrelevant.

The Chambers, though, are very interesting. Let's start on Raw, where we have Sheamus defending against Triple H, John Cena, Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase and Kofi Kingston. I've written the names in that order, because I think that's the order in which I rank them, with Sheamus being the most likely to win.

I think a win for him in the chamber is a strong retention, and sets him up really nicely, It's likely Triple H will chase him to Mania, and I think it is set up better with Trips chasing the belt than vice versa, mainly because a babyface title switch elicits a better reaction than a babyface retaining, and also because if Sheamus wins he'll look even stronger keeping the belt away from the Mighty Hunter.

Support is growing for the Jericho title win on the Smackdown side of things, but I'm not so sure. I don't think WWE, even with his great past couple of years, sees Jericho as a title holder going into Wrestlemania. I have no problem with it if he does win, but it is just a little bit foreshadowed by so many predicting it and even the last couple of weeks on Smackdown with it looking like Jericho beating Taker is possible and Edge saying he'd like Jericho to win.

I like CM Punk as an alternative. I just think that he is the heel with the most momentum right now, and with a belt around his waste he could be even more pious than he is is right now, and play up his role to the hilt. Edge would be a great foil for that, and I see Edge v Punk being a great feud. Maybe it will happen post-Mania, but I'd quite like to see it at the big one.

The biggest problem with that is where it leaves Jericho - i.e. without a match for Mania. We don't know at this stage if there will be a Money in the Bank match because of the new PPV later in the year, so he might not be able to go in there. There has been a natural build to Punk and Rey, with the last couple of weeks seeing these two at loggerheads, so perhaps Jericho wins the belt, leaving Punk to meet Rey at Mania.

Jericho is the best option, prediction wise, but I just like to be different, so I'll stick with Punk. Gives me a heel-like chance to say I'm smarter than you and "I told you so" if I'm right!!

Enjoy the show, I'll be doing my usual live commentary throughout, so come back to this page and keep refreshing during the three hours.

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