Elimination Chamber 2019
WWE Cruiserweight Championship:
(c) Buddy Murphy vs Tozawa
I really like seeing that the Cruiserweight champion is on the main show as opposed to holding them back on the pre-show. Murphy has been a very capable champion helping the division into a new age and giving it a little more meaning. Tozawa is very reliable, but I do think that Murphy deserves to maintain his stock as the leader of the division. Murphy gets the win tonight.
Braun Strowman vs Baron Corbin
I am going to keep this short and to the point I've been extremely bored by this feud and even though I know that it is only continuing, because of Braun injury late last year but still it needs to end. Corbin is extremely hated and a lot of heat so he could maintain his spot with a win. However, Strowman really really needs the win to not fall to far down from his previous standing in the company.
Raw Women's Championship:
(c) Ronda Rousey vs Ruby Riot
This is the biggest so far for Ronda and Ruby since they've gotten to the main roster as Ronda seems to struggle on occasion when she has to lead the match. But I think that Ruby has a ton of potential to be a top talent in the company for the division. This is clear that Rousey will get the victory tonight and there no doubt of that clearly.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship:
(c) The Miz & Shane McMahon vs The Uso's
It has been incredibly interesting to see Shane & Miz coming together as a team and it is definitely something different then we normally see from the promotion. However, The Uso's could've won the titles this time around but clearly it is time to keep the titles on Shane & Miz. With the recent news of The Uso's issues I don't think that the company will let them win the titles. With that being said Shane & Miz get the win tonight.
WWE Intercontinental Championship:
(c) Lashley & Lio Rush vs Finn Balor
In my opinion this is the best way to keep the feud going without having a finish or not as a way to keep things going. I don't really know how they could keep it going with Finn losing due other than maybe Lio winning the match in a flukey way setting a rematch with them as oppose to Lashley getting the pin over his top challenger. I do think that Finn will get the victory eventually, but I don't think it will happen tonight. Lashley retains tonight.
Elimination Chamber Match: Women's Tag Team Titles
Nia Jax & Tamina vs Riot Squad vs Bayley & Sasha Banks vs Naomi & Carmella vs IIconics vs Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose
This is the toughest match to predict as the winner will be based on the who the company really wants to invest in as a team to make them the first tag team champions. Though I do have an issue with the tag titles being able to go between brands even though the main women's champion can't that's very strange. Now I do think that some members of the match are clearly not going to win, but they could surprise us. I will select two possible winners giving it to either Bayley & Banks or Riot Squad allowing to legit teams the chance to hold the tag titles.
Elimination Chamber Match: WWE Championship
(c) Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles vs Randy Orton vs Kofi Kingston vs Jeff Hardy vs Samoa Joe
Unfortunately I would've loved to see Mustafa Ali in the match, but injuries happen and I just hope the kid will be back before Wrestlemania and maybe will have a major match at the big event. There is no doubt though that Kofi made his case on Smackdown last week showing that he could be a shocking winner. However, the championship will not be going anywhere from Daniel Bryan this close to Wrestlemania the only question is who will be facing the "Eco Warrior" at the big event in April.
Following the "elimination" of the unfortunate injured Mustafa Ali that opened a spot in Sunday's Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship. In my opinion seeing Kofi Kingston take the spot of Mustafa Ali in the Chamber is shocking because he's never really been featured in a huge role. For the last few years Kofi has been one third of the New Day, but now he has been given the biggest spotlight that he has had in his career. The fact that initially this was the planned run for Mustafa in this match which shows just how much the company is willing to invest in the insanely talented Ali.
Either way though Kofi had a similar performance to the one that Seth Rollins had in the Raw gauntlet match from last year. But in my opinion the performance for Kofi was a lot more shocking as you didn't really expect the company to allow him to get such a spotlight considering it's been so long since he hasn't been a singles star in a very long time. Take a look though below at his performance from the match on Smackdown! Well done Kofi Kingston it's was a incredible performance.
I know that it might be hard to believe that for the third week in a row we have Dean Ambrose as the focus of this weekly series, but there is a good reason that just wait. So as everyone has heard by now Dean Ambrose will be leaving WWE in the latter half of April following Wrestlemania and though that is big story I wonder if WWE realizes that they still need to book him somewhat well if they want him on the show. To start I had my reservations about Dean and Nia Jax possibly having an inter-gender match for obvious reasons, but seeing as that isn't going to happen and they shifted gears let's look at the match from this week.
Last week I pointed out that the WWE should've waited to have Dean and Ethan Carter III meet until Elimination Chamber especially knowing that the show is this weekend; instead of having them fight now two weeks in a row. The reality of it is that this feud should've been the coming out party for Ethan on the main roster, but in my opinion because Dean is leaving the company feels like they have to rush through the feud instead of booking it the right way.
Overall 50-50 booking is a problem in the company, because they do it far to often and even though I think it could work for a lower card feud or if you just want to give someone a little momentum it isn't the right way to go when it comes to a fresh talent like EC3 or a former Main Event star like Ambrose. I'm really confused how the WWE thinks that this is a good way to book these two especially knowing that we will likely see them fighting for the third time on Sunday which will be pointless. Take a look at the match below:
Fact is that with the arrival of All Elite Wrestling it has really brought up an interesting outlook on the wrestling business due to how long it's been since the WWE has had any other competitor. Now I don't really think that many stars will have the ability to talk walk away from the company due to contracts preventing that from happening in most cases. However, we might've seen the last of Dean Ambrose in the WWE as news broke that he would not be renewing his contract and will be leaving after Wrestlemania. At this point we don't know for sure that this means he could end up in the other company.
But now earlier this week news broke that The Uso's could be leaving the WWE once their contract expires in April. Jimmy and Jey have been a staple of the WWE's tag team division since their arrivals on the main roster back in 2010, but it might be getting to that time. See over the years the company has gone through periods of real darkness for tag teams with thrown together teams often getting the spotlight over the established tag teams. Often I remember Sam from "Here's What all Things WWE" really drilling home much of a problem this in the company especially early last year.
Overall I know that some fans might think I am crazy for even thinking that The Uso's could leave WWE as they are one of the top teams. If you think about it though what does it mean to be a top team in a company that doesn't value tag team wrestling or if you have other goals you want to accomplish but know you may never get to. Heading back in the wrestling time machine to the peak of tag team wrestling in the 1980's there was a time when tag teams could headline a show, but that was really never the case with Vince. If I am Jimmy & Jey I would at least consider heading south and making a match between the Uso's and "Bucks of Youth" a reality. The only real question is how much appeal does real competition have for The Uso's and the chance to a featured and maybe even a headline act with Matt and Nick in All Elite Wrestling.
Even though the new era was announced we have seen the arrival of some fresh talent, but unfortunately it hasn't gone well for a lot of the talent so far. Now I know it hasn't been that long since these names have arrived on the roster, but it doesn't seem like they have any direction on the roster. In my opinion NXT stars shouldn't be brought up without having a clear direction for their arrival on the main roster. Clearly it seems like Ethan Carter has a gimmick as does Nikki Cross, but with the amount of programming the company has they could've set up some sort of direction for them to get their feet under them.
Looking at this recent episode the company has set the groundwork for possibly Carter's first feud with Dean Ambrose which is a great plan. However, I think they could've got away with having the first match at Elimination Chamber and then do the rematch the next day or something like that to do something different with the feud. Shifting the focus to the tag team division with Heavy Machinery they are another victim of the rebuild that the division is currently going through. After months or even close to a year of bad booking the company has finally decided to refocus on the tag team division according recent reports. This in my opinion would've been a good reason to bring someone else to the main roster and hold the debut of this team until they got the tag team division on stable ground again.
It has been 20 years since Jeff Jarrett has been seen on WWE television with his last appearance coming in October 1999. I think I am right with everyone else in saying that I never thought I would see Double J back in the WWE, but I am very happy seeing in him get one more run. Unfortunately I don't think the feud is the best and even though it just about the nostalgia it is a little too one sided for my liking. However, with the ending of this week's match in mind I don't think this feud ends just yet and we could see one more meeting between the "Drifter" and Double J.
After holding onto his WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble over the weekend against AJ Styles we have seen the "New" Daniel Bryan revel a new WWE Title design. This revel was extremely unexpected because this time around I didn't see it coming unlike when they redid the title the first time John Cena won the title and they created the spinner title. In my opinion this just another step forward for Daniel Bryan to embrace his new gimmick and really show how far he has come in such a short time.
The first time I saw Daniel Bryan he was in the middle of World Title reign in Ring of Honor and was the top heel in the company. This time around is different and I really didn't even know that Daniel had this gimmick in him much like Eddie Edwards in Impact Wrestling we are seeing a different side of Daniel. Overall this is what happens when the company really tries to book properly and invest time in letting a talent find his footing. The main problem with WWE in the modern era is that they have far too many cookie cutter character and nobody that really sticks out like they had in past years which makes it difficult to really invest in anyone.
It is for this reason that it has been amazing seeing the continued evolution of the "New" Daniel Bryan a man that was at one point getting some of the loudest reactions among all active wrestlers in the company. However, nobody expected that Daniel could really turn into the top heel in the promotion getting louder boos in some cases than Brock Lesnar. For the first time in a long time the company actually has a heel that can stick as heel and really get heat from the smarky modern fans. Check out his promo from Smackdown Live when he introduced his new WWE Championship:
At first this wasn't exactly what I was expecting to write about following the Royal Rumble or the Raw that follows. However, based on recent reports it seems like Dean Ambrose has officially given his notice a few weeks ago and will walk away from the company after Wrestlemania. Though this doesn't mean that right after Ambrose will be leaving the promotion and it is more likely that he will be walking away from WWE by the end of April. Since his arrival in the promotion Dean has become a top star in the promotion, but he has seen a toned down character from the one he held on the independent circuit.
Upon arriving on the main roster from Florida Championship Wrestling he would make an incredible impact as a member of The Shield faction. Though at first nobody would've expected The Shield to have been booked the way they were so quickly based on the companies prior track record with booking young talent. Either way though The Shield would become major stars very early on and if we fast forward seven years it is crazy to see all they've accomplished. Ambrose has pretty much done it all in the WWE and even though I don't think he has reach his potential I don't think that is really on him.
Overall I think there were a lot of limits placed on the former Jon Moxley and he wasn't allowed to have the freedom he had before on the Indies. Now I know the best talent is able to adapt to any situation or environment and I don't mean to insist that Dean was incapable of doing so I just think he had a problem fitting into the system. In my opinion Ambrose fit into the system early as a fresh talent finding his footing, but I do think his early run shows that he is much better as bad guy then a good guy. The reality is that Dean's gimmick is far too out there and split from his comfort zone.
Royal Rumble 2018
WWE United States Championship:
(c) Rusev w/ Lana vs Shinsuke Nakamura
WWE Cruiserweight Championship:
(c) Murphy vs Tozawa vs Hideo Itami vs Kalisto
WWE Women's Championship Match:
(c) Ronda Rousey vs Sasha Banks
This should be one of the best matches that Ronda has had in her career so far and finally show the how talented Banks is. Sasha was one of the top talents in the NXT and never really given the opportunity to show how good she was in developmental. Rousey has really shown incredible progress in the last year especially with her in ring skill. Banks could win this match to through people off with the rumors of Rousey possibly leaving after Wrestlemania. Plus with the seeds planted at TLC last month could one of the Smackdown Live women help one of their friends get one over on Rousey setting up a possible Wrestlemania match. Either way though I think it's more likely Rousey will get the win tonight.
Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship:
(c) The Bar vs Shane McMahon & The Miz
This is the most interesting tag team in WWE, because I think most people still are puzzled by the fact that Miz & Shane are starting to team together. I question that as well due to Shane still being an authority figure on Smackdown and not just an active wrestler. Either way I do believe knowing the WWE we might see Shane & Miz get the victory tonight and really change the Smackdown Tag Team division.
Smackdown Live Women's Championship:
(c) Asuka vs Becky Lynch
Nobody has been gaining more momentum in the last six months than Becky Lynch, she is tops in the WWE next to Daniel Bryan as the most over act in the company. The question is though how does the company protect her and Asuka tonight especially leading into the "Road to Wrestlemania" well I think this depends on where this match is as compared to the other Women's Championship match. It is possible we see Ronda again cost Becky her title, but that'd be a question for how the company wants fans to see Ronda as a heel or face. Using a clean finish though I think Becky gets the win and her title back.
WWE Championship Match:
(c) Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles
There is no doubt that this match will be an incredible back n forth match as these two have a very stable chemistry. Styles has struggled since his arrival of finding his footing outside of the WWE title picture due to poor booking he has suffered. However, since his heel turn Daniel Bryan has hit the peak of his career and by the far the most momentum he has ever had. In my opinion seeing Daniel lose would kill all of his momentum and ruin everything that has been built up. Bryan needs the victory in this match and needs to move on from AJ Styles.
WWE Universal Championship Match:
(c) Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman vs Finn Balor
In the past Brock has shown how he can work better with smaller talent like Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, and Seth Rollins. It is interesting to know that Brock wanted to work with Finn out everyone on the roster and that for once the company actually did something to make the fans happy. Now I know that a lot of people would like to see Finn get the victory, but that is highly doubtful due to it just not being right. With that being said Brock Lesnar will once again get the win in a solid match.
Women's Royal Rumble Match:
This is the one of the toughest matches to predict based on the fact that a number of surprise entries will likely find there way into the match. There are some empty spots in the match at this point and some similar names that showed up last year will likely show up again this year but won't win. Looking at the active competitors officially in the match it is hard to pick just one possible winner for the Royal Rumble match based on the direction that the company could actually go. As far as the women's match I think that Sonya Deville or Ruby Riot will get a solid performance in the match. Looking the iron-man performance I think either Deville, Riot, or Ember Moon should get this as a way to set some foundation up for the reminder of the year as these three could be future stars in the Women's division. With that being said I will select either Charlotte, Alexa Bliss, or Bayley will get the win the Rumble.
Men's Royal Rumble Match:
This is the one of the toughest matches to predict based on the fact that a number of surprise entries will likely find there way into the match. Annually we always have a lot of special surprises in the match and even though I am unsure that any big free agent will appear in the match and that I think more or less a lot returns from injuries will be apart of the match. Names like Kevin Owens, Bray Wyatt, Sami Zayn, Matt Hardy and others would more than likely be the surprises for the match in my opinion. I don't think that any of the surprises will likely get the victory tonight as it will depend on the plans set up for those injured talent for the big event. I think that Mustafa Ali will likely have a good showing in the match to continue his surprising push and keep the momentum going along. I think that someone like Elias or Drew McIntyre should get the Iron-man performance. In my opinion I think that Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, or Drew McIntyre could get the win in the Royal Rumble tonight.
It is crazy to think that it is once again time to set things up for the Royal Rumble. Rumors have begun to pop up as to who could be showing up on Sunday at the yearly extravaganza it doesn't matter if it's a new signing, debut or a return everyone is fair game. But let's put that aside for right now and focus on the final edition of Smackdown Live before the event and what our takeaway is from the go-home edition of the event. Looking up and down the card I think our focus should look at the main event of the show which was a spectacular match between Andrade and Rey Mysterio. Even though the match did end in a no contest thanks to Samoa Joe that doesn't change the fact that the match was incredible.
Overall I've said it before it seems like Mysterio & the former Cien Almas have incredible chemistry together and it has shown every-time they have been in the ring together thus far. Though I might miss parts of the big event on Sunday I know that I won't miss it all and will hope to see the big moments. In my opinion though the finish the Smackdown was the next best thing as compared to the normal brawl we get to end the go home show ahead of the Rumble. Actually this might be better, because our attention is focus on just one person instead of being confused who to focus on.
There is no doubt that the WWE fans have more of tendency to gravitate to the known faces or those they could actually see winning as oppose to a random selection. I will be doing exactly that on Sunday, but at least with this go home show both Randy Orton & Samoa Joe looked like two people that could possibly get the victory on Sunday even though I don't think either of them will be the last man standing. My one hope though is that the Rumble lives up to it's identity of being extremely unpredictable.
After a borderline disrespectful segment last week with Alexa Bliss that I will not get into, but what a difference a week makes for the former women's champion. Now for those who aren't aware Alexa has been on the shelf since late fall 2018 during a house show match against Ronda Rousey. There had been some rumors going around that Alexa had some more serious complications from the concussion that she sustained. However, with her announcement from this past week's episode of Raw it is clear that she will be back in the ring for the first time in a few months.
Overall though the return of Alexa Bliss isn't the only major takeaway from the go home show of Raw as I would look at the final build for the Women's Championship. Late last year it seemed as though Ronda had finally hit a wall as a competitor in WWE for the first time in her career, but the feud with Sasha has really brought her back from the brink. Even though it is really clear that Rousey will likely still get the win this Sunday, but it is interesting to see Sasha fighting Ronda especially if you can make the connection back to Becky & Charlotte and their issues with the Raw Women's Champion. It will be interesting to see how things shape up in the coming weeks and months as the "Road to Wrestlemania" is almost ready to begin.
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