It doesn’t feel like more than 5 minutes ago that we sat through one of the greatest weekends in WWE PPV history as we were treated to the incredible NXT TakeOver Philadelphia and the history making Royal Rumble within 24 hours of eachother, yet here we are again with WWE’s next offering Elimination Chamber. With this being the last RAW exclusive PPV before WrestleMania, we should see multiple rivalries and title challenges set in stone. The match card may be small, but there is a lot of potential for this to be a real sleeper hit of a PPV. Lets take a look…
Ronda Rousey Contract Signing
Ronda Rousey joining WWE was one of the worst kept secrets in the companies history, and although I may be on my own here, I applaud WWE for the way they introduced her at the Royal Rumble. The moment was iconic and was a huge talking point but not to the point where it took anything away from Asuka’s historic moment and performance. Nobody looked weak, all 4 women stood tall in the ring and the arrival opened us up to a whole world of theories and possibilities. The announcement that Rousey would be signing her WWE contract in ring on Sunday night makes a huge deal of sense, as this is one of the most barebones match cards I have ever seen for a PPV so close to WrestleMania.
We could see any one of a number of things go down – A stare-down or confrontation between Rousey and another superstar, the introduction of a manager to help cover the cracks in her character (or lack thereof) or the more obvious (and my personal prediction) of a confrontation with Stephanie McMahon. This one makes the most sense as at this current moment in time it seems unlikely that Rousey will be going after one of the belts… these storylines have pretty much written themselves already. Consider this – Steph wants retribution for The Rock and Ronda embarrassing her and HHH at WrestleMania 31… HHH still hasn’t forgotten about Braun Strowman beating him down as the curtains dropped at Survivor Series… how about a good old-fashioned tag match?
Prediction: The contract signing goes south quickly. Stephanie and Ronda end up scrapping to set up their Wrestlemania bout.
Bold Prediction: Rousey hesitates while signing, asks for someone to come and check over the contract… “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN” …
The Bar (c) v Titus Worldwide –RAW Tag Team Championship
If you had told me a year ago that Titus Worldwide would be challenging for the tag titles at a PPV two months before WrestleMania I would’ve spat in your face and called you a scoundrel. How on earth is this match even taking place, and how on earth do WWE expect us to care? Sure, TW have picked up a few unexpected cheap victories recently, but if Titus and Apollo come out of this as the new champs I will eat my own face. As much as I complain that the Raw tag team scene doesn’t have enough diversity and variety, this is surely not the way to go when a team as legitimately badass as The Revival are sitting around doing nothing.
Prediction: The Bar win because Vince McMahon will have truly gone mad if they don’t.
Bold Prediction: WWE realise we don’t want the same match with the same guys every damn week and call up either AOP or SAnitY.
Matt Hardy v Bray Wyatt
Hmm… does anyone even care anymore? The Woken Matt character had so much promise but has very quickly lost all steam. WWE have reduced a gimmick with such potential into ‘the guy who had a funny laugh’ and that’s about is really. The crowds have been less and less behind him with a really noticeable absence of cheers, and any remaining fans are surely only there because of the fond memories from his run with the character in TNA. That was when he was able to run with the character and was allowed to make his own creative choices, but WWE have given us such a watered-down version that it’s hard to really get invested anymore.
I was once the biggest fan of Bray Wyatt, but lacklustre feuds with Seth Rollins and Finn Balor, and the same promo every week have really done him a lot more harm than good. This is a guy who not so long ago was WWE Champion, defending the belt at WrestleMania against the legend Randy Orton… less than a year later he’s dressed up in drag pretending to be his dead sister. I’m praying we get to see Jeff returning as Brother Nero either during or after the match to generate some real interest, and if the rumours circling the internet concerning his return to health are anything to go by… the WWE Universe may become BROKEN very soon.
Prediction: Matt Hardy wins clean in an uninspiring match.
Bold Prediction: Jeff Hardy/Brother Nero returns to help Matt win.
Women’s Elimination Chamber – RAW Women’s Championship
WWE have really delivered on their promise to create history and push the women to the forefront of the company over the past year. So far we have seen the first ever Women’s Money in The Bank, which was unfortunately horribly booked, and more recently the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match which was surprisingly good even though the women of the past completely outshone the current crop of superstars. Next stop on the Women’s Revolution train is the first ever Women’s Elimination Chamber match. We will see Bayley, Sasha Banks, Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose and Mickie James battle it out in the demonic structure attempting to dethrone the current Raw Women’s Champion and Goddess of WWE, Alexa Bliss.
The timing of this title match is a little strange and makes it far too predictable to most fans as to who will come out victorious. This is exactly why I’m going to buck that trend and go with Bliss dropping the title to Sasha Banks inside the chamber. Why? Because Asuka is going to beat Nia Jax on Sunday which means Nia is out of the title picture altogether. We were teased with cracks forming in the relationship between Bliss and Nia but that storyline just seemed to fade away into nothing, so now would be a great time to revisit the fractured friendship. With the belt on Sasha I can see a rivalry starting between her and Bayley, her long time best friend, with plenty of teases to Bayley turning heel along the way.
Prediction: Sasha Banks wins by pinning Bliss or Bayley.
Bold Prediction: Rousey or Nia somehow enter the match, laying out Banks after she wins and staking their claim for a Mania challenge.
Asuka v Nia Jax
WWE have backed themselves into a corner here. Nia is the only woman on the RAW roster who can offer a legitimate challenge to Asuka, but there is no chance in hell Asuka will be losing this match and having the streak broken. Unless WWE throw a curveball and have Jax win by count-out or DQ, meaning the title match at Mania becomes a triple threat and thus preserves Asuka’s undefeated streak. And before you say ‘but Jax winning means Asuka loses the streak’, you should probably remember that Asuka has lost a battle royal during her time in NXT… to EVA MARIE of all people, yet is still down on paper of undefeated.
The main topic of discussion in the women’s division is still focused on who Asuka will challenge at WrestleMania. I would expect us to find out straight after this match, and I’m expecting Asuka to choose Charlotte on SDLive. If the match on Sunday goes to plan there will be no-one left on RAW for Asuka to face, so switching brands makes the most sense and would give us a fantastic contest between the two most talented females in the company and finally gives Charlotte a legitimate challenger, something sorely lacking on the blue brand.
Prediction: Asuka wins a very poor match and challenges Charlotte.
Bold Prediction: Rousey (are you noticing a theme here?) interferes and takes out Asuka, causing Jax to lose by DQ and setting up a Mania match. At this point I’m pretty sure I have Rousey in about 4 matches so far!
Men’s Elimination Chamber – Winner faces Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania for the Universal Championship
Roman Reigns will win the Elimination Chamber match and you can bet your house on that. No last minute booking shift is going to change that, and it has been set in stone for nearly a year now since Lesnar defeated Goldberg for the championship and Reigns defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33. The simplest and most direct route for Roman to obtain the title opportunity is by winning the chamber match, and requires the least amount of creative booking on WWE’s part.
This match is surely going to be an early contender for match of the year when you consider the calibre of the talent involved. All 7 men would be very legitimate champions, but one of them stands quite literally head and shoulders above the rest. Braun Strowman will undoubtedly be the star of this match and I would expect him to cause some real destruction to carry on his trend of tearing everything apart from recent months.
This match opens up a lot more opportunities than just the UC scene. Depending on who eliminates who, we could very well see the continuation of Elias v John Cena, the start of either Strowman or Finn going after The Miz’s Intercontinental Championship… and we still have Samoa Joe to return into of those scenes. At the end of the day though I’m still expecting Roman Reigns to win this one, we know he will be facing and dethroning Lesnar at Mania regardless. I sort of don’t even mind anymore.. at least Roman would be around full time, it would just be lovely to have a little less predictability all the bloody time. If I’m booking this match, I would reward Rollin’s consistently fantastic performances by having him win the chamber match, pinning Roman to do so, and over the next 2 months it somehow turns into a triple threat match at Mania.
Prediction: Roman Reigns wins because… Roman Reigns.
Bold Prediction: Strowman destroys the Elimination Chamber, all 4 pods, rips apart one of the walls and eats all of the steel.
Third Prediction: Roman… Reigns.
Mitchell’s Wednesday Night War Review! The End!
The Wednesday Night War… is DONE!
Thank you, Wednesday Night War! It was fun while it lasted!
With NXT moving to Tuesdays, the wrestling war on Wednesday nights is no more! But let’s see where both sides stand now that the dust settles!
Let’s recap Year Two’s first phase.
Year Two, Phase One Final Scores: NXT – 9.13; AEW – 9.16
The margin was close as ever, but AEW inched out the win to continue their dominance from Year One! Don’t worry, NXT went past 12/9/20, it’s just that they and AEW tied those last three weeks. And you’ll notice that I left 12/30/20, the last Wednesday of the year, off because of the circumstances. Jon Huber, aka Brodie Lee aka Luke Harper, past away just days before that night, and AEW changed their plans to give us a “Celebration of Life” tribute episode. It did not feel right trying to give that show a score, because it wasn’t supposed to be about AEW but about Jon Huber. And to be fair to AEW’s score, I left off NXT’s episode for that night, even though NXT did have great action on their Year-End Award episode.
Now, for Year Two’s Phase Two, the WNW FINALE!
Year Two, Phase Two Final Scores: NXT – 9.44; AEW – 9.50
Year Two, Overall: NXT – 9.31; AEW – 9.36
Much stronger numbers from both sides this time, but these two companies started hard and kept going hard from New Year’s Evil VS New Year’s Smash all the way to TakeOver: Stand & Deliver and… Well, the AEW Dynamite put up against it. Just looking at it, that string in February for AEW made all the difference. They were just on fire right there, building towards AEW Revolution 2021, which itself was an awesome PPV (even with the pyro mishap at the end).
The margins were still close, but bigger than last phase’s, and even with TakeOver: Stand & Deliver Night One bringing NXT up to a high level, it was not enough! AEW wins again! They win two phases to zero, and are therefore the overall winner of the Wednesday Night War!
The Wednesday Night War may not have been as epic as the Monday Night War, or as long, but it was a lot of fun. NXT and AEW were giving us great wrestling every week, not just in-ring action but the promos and segments. The wrestlers on these shows are now stars because they got to be on cable network television, and literally kept me up late at night because I could not let either show wait until Thursday morning. But now, #NXTuesday is going to be how it is going forward, and we can all argue one way or another why the move happened but it doesn’t really matter, I’m still going to be watching both anyway.
Cook’s WrestleMania 37 Night One Gambling Picks
Who’s trying make money on guessing the predetermined scripts? If that’s you, Cook gots all the lines you need. This isn’t Breaking Bad; we only do betting lines!
This is one of those columns that needs no real intro or explanation. Its WrestleMania! What else do you need me to tell you? Today we’re talking Night One, tomorrow it’ll be Night Two. Easy peezy lemon breezy.
I know that some of you prefer a 12 hour WrestleMania event, but to me, two nights is definitely the way to go. Think of it this way: instead of one night to watch the biggest show of the year, you get two. What’s the downside?
Also, you can get two days to make money, if you’re into the kind of thing we’re talking about here. Though, I am contractually obligated to mention that my look at these matchups, with odds provided by BetOnline, is for entertainment purposes only.
Tag Team Turmoil
Lana & Naomi vs. Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose vs. The Riott Squad vs. Natalya & Tamina
— Nattie (@NatbyNature) April 7, 2021
We’ve got a match setting up a Night 2 match here, as Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler will face the winners for the Women’s Tag Team Championship. They’ve had some amount of issues with each team, so we can’t really use that as an indicator of who will win. We also can’t base it off of who will have the best match with Nia & Shayna, as that seems like a push.
We also don’t have odds on this match as I write this. If some do get posted, my guess would be that Natalya & Tamina will have long odds and could be a good pick as a team WWE might want to give a little reward for their service over the years.
Bad Bunny & Damian Priest (-950) vs. The Miz & John Morrison (+500)
— WWE (@WWE) April 6, 2021
We all know how this one is going, right? Bunny & Priest are the easiest pick on this two day extravaganza. I’m sure an outside celebrity lost a WrestleMania match at some point, but one isn’t immediately coming to mind. I assume some are still complaining about Bad Bunny getting a WM match, I choose to be good with it since it gets Damian Priest a match too. Hopefully this all works out well for him.
Braun Strowman (-500) vs. Shane McMahon (+300)
— Braun Strowman (@BraunStrowman) April 6, 2021
Braun is the natural pick here for obvious reasons (he’s actually a wrestler), but one can easily make an argument for Shane. The usage of a steel cage rarely keeps interested outside parties out of a match, and surely Shane will have a few allies looking to make an impact on WrestleMania. We’ll see Elias & Jaxson Ryker, and we’ll likely see somebody else. Any big stiffs in the Performance Center not otherwise occupied could be an option for Shane here.
The thing about gambling picks: we’re not always going to pick what we think will happen. I think Braun will destroy whoever gets put in his path here. But the object of this game is to make some money, and I think Shane McMahon at +300 is a good bet. Especially since I don’t think this feud will be ending at WrestleMania. Still some more heat to get on this issue.
Cesaro (-300) vs. Seth Rollins (+200)
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) April 7, 2021
Speaking of feuds that I think will extend beyond WrestleMania and will likely have the evildoer squeaking out a victory by nefarious means. I can easily talk myself into Cesaro getting a big win here, one which will lead to declarations that he’s a made man and finally on the level he deserves to be at. I certainly wouldn’t have a problem with that.
I think it’s far more likely that Seth Rollins gets the win, and the issue between these two continues. Cesaro’s big win is coming, but not at WrestleMania.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match
The New Day (+250) vs. AJ Styles & Omos (-400)
AJ Styles vs. Xavier Woods – straight out of 2008 TNA. A reminder WWE is a TNA nostalgia company. pic.twitter.com/VNU9VULZ7N
— Garrett Kidney (@garrettkidney) April 6, 2021
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been burnt by picking against Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston. They have a knack for overcoming all obstacles at these major events and coming out on top. Its a good idea to keep these men featured on television, as they’re positive role models for the community and I can only think of one time that one of them did something a bit embarrassing for the company.
I mean….that Jamaican accent. What were they thinking? Never mind, we got more accent stuff to talk about for Night 2, let’s move on.
It is tempting to pick AJ & Omos, as there’s an obvious story there hopefully leading to Omos’ breakout as a singles star. That can easily be drug out though, and we don’t pick against The New Day here. Their victory will be a good way to pop the crowd early in the evening.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
Sasha Banks (+250) vs. Bianca Belair (-400)
IMPOSSIBLE, THINGS ARE HAPPENING EVERY DAY. pic.twitter.com/7iXlEA4gAe
— Mercedes Varnado (@SashaBanksWWE) April 8, 2021
This is a huge moment for Bianca, and for the Women’s division in general, as the significance of two women of color fighting for a championship on the biggest show of the wrestling year can’t be overlooked. Its a big f’n deal, as politicians would say.
A win here would put Bianca Belair over the top as a star in this company, and I think that’s what happens here. Sasha doesn’t need the championship to retain her relevancy, and it’s not like any losses have hurt her standing with the people yet. She’ll do whatever she can on this evening to make Bianca a star.
WWE Championship Match
Bobby Lashley (+150) vs. Drew McIntyre (-200)
— WWE (@WWE) April 7, 2021
People seemed legit shook when it was mentioned on Raw that this would be the main event of Night 1. Like…that wasn’t obvious? As much as I like Sasha & Bianca & think they will have a fantastic match, the build of their match hasn’t exactly gotten me any more excited than I was the moment after the women’s Royal Rumble Match ended. Maybe y’all are more into TAG TEAM PARTNERS THAT SECRETLY HATE EACH OTHER than I am, but zero part of that whole thing seemed inspired to me. To be fair, it seemed even less inspired when Asuka & Rhea Ripley did it.
Meanwhile, this is the WWE Championship, dating back to the days of Bruno Sammartino & Buddy Rogers. Drew & Bobby’s issue has been building since the Royal Rumble, and now is the time for Drew McIntyre to get the WrestleMania coronation they wanted to give him last year. Will it work?
Well, the mystery is one of the reasons we’ll be paying attention.
Thanks for reading! Join me next time for Night Two!
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