So in addition to the three-part Grammy Forecast, I also had to whip up one other Forecast this weekend, and that is for the Smackdown-exclusive PPV Elimination Chamber. If this was a RAW PPV, I probably would’ve just opted to forego doing this because if it’s a RAW PPV, chances are I’d just see whatever matches happened again in a rematch on RAW with no added stakes, stipulations, or decent story development again down the road. But since Smackdown has been on such a roll lately, I could NOT pass this show up. And the show already has some positive buzz going in for being the first PPV in WWE history to feature three women’s matches on the card. In the past, the most we ever got was just two, and sometimes we were lucky to even get one. But Smackdown’s writing has been so good, they locked in THREE and the women have garnered just as much conversation as the Chamber match itself. Will any of these matches deliver? Let’s take a look.
Mojo Rawley vs. Curt Hawkins
Some matches just can’t be explained with words, such is the caliber of the talent involved and the amount of anticipation heaped upon it. One such battle is the Kickoff Brawl set for Elimination Chamber, where the new-age Chuck Norris Curt Hawkins, a man who has bought class back to the art of carrying around a cane, and Mojo Rawley, the man who’s energy levels never go below 100% percent. While most people choose to overlook the overwhelming talent of these two individuals, I get the feeling that this won’t be the case for much longer as these two future legends of the industry will square off in a match that is sure to be a Match of the Year contender in some alternative universe somewhere. So who shall win this confrontation that I’m pretending to care about for the sake of hyperbolic humor?
Who I Want to Win: The crowd members who choose to enter the arena late and miss out on this confrontation.
Who Will Win: The crowd members who choose to enter the arena late and miss out on this confrontation.
Natalya vs. Nikki Bella
When did Natalya get so savage with insults? Didn’t she used to just go around calling other wrestlers “mutts”? When she wasn’t telling them to settle their tea kettle? (Remember that catchphrase that never took off?) But now it’s like we’re getting a whole new Natalya; no more are we dealing with sometimes passive-aggressive auntie of the Women’s Division. We’re now dealing with the frustrated Hart Family Descendant who hurls not-so-original insults Nikki Bella‘s way. Yeah, she called Nikki a bitch. But that’s the WWE Universe’s favorite swear word apparently and everyone uses it to tremendous pops now. Then she went the Carmella route and bought Nikki’s relationship with John Cena into the mix. This segment right here shows you all you need to know about how personal the animosity has gotten between the two, assuming you believe even a word of it with their only-slightly-better-than-The-Room delivery.
Who I Want to Win: Nikki Bella; I like Nattie, but her character has kind of earned a jaw-jacking after all the smack she’s been talking.
Who Will Win: For some reason, I see Nattie taking it here. If anything, it’ll motivate Nattie to come down harder on her brags to Nikki.
2 On 1 Handicap Match
I am laughing so hard at this. Like, Darla-Dimple-After-She-Trolled-Danny laughing hard. Just a quick reminder that I’m not exactly a Dolph Ziggler fan. Actually, I’ve come to despise him as an on-screen character so much. He’s still talented in the ring, but him as a persona has become so utterly punchable that his heel turn made all the sense in the world. He’s recently attacked Jerry Lawler – something most of Twitter would love to do apparently – and has also been pushing around Apollo Crews and Kalisto, two superstars who are super-athletically gifted, but are persona non-grata for the most part. And despite that, I’m still cheering for the two personality-less flippy-ish guys over Ziggler. Yeah, spoiler-alert.
Who I Want to Win: Do you even have to ask? Kalisto and Apollo.
Who Will Win: Probably Ziggler, but don’t expect him to get the “overcame the odds” call unless JBL’s over-the-top self does it.
Tag Team Turmoil
I feel like every tag Team match on Smackdown now is a Tag Team Turmoil match. The truth of the matter is that these multi-team matches happen so often on Smackdown, and while I’m glad that all these teams actually get TV time and the chance to shine, it does make the matches blend into each other quite easily. Luckily, Smackdown’s greatest tag team is on the top of the mountain right now, not that you can tell given how little American Alpha has been schedule to do since nabbing the straps. It’s weird how they win the Tag Team Championship on a random Smackdown and then get dumped into “whatever” territory pretty much. But maybe if they can survive the entire Smackdown tag Team locker room at this show, some kind of build toward legitimacy is possible. In fact, if they’re properly built up enough and The Revival get called up after WrestleMania, we could be in for some WARS!
Who I Want to Win: American Alpha, because I can’t think of any other team in this match who is currently in a position to win them, aside from maybe The Usos, and that’s assuming they stop being so injury-prone.
Who Will Win: American Alpha, for the exact same reason I just stated.
Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James
Mickie James is back! Truth be told, she never left the wrestling ring, having wrestled in TNA and SHIMMER the last seven years, but after receiving her marching orders in 2010, it was impossible to think she’d never return to WWE at some point. And this year, it happened after Deonna Purrazzo somehow morphed into Mickie James while playing the role of La Luchadora and cost Becky Lynch the Women’s Title in a Cage Match, ala El Gran Luchador in 2004. Some say Paige started the Women’s Revolution, but Mickie James doesn’t care (plus, Paige is unavailable at the moment), so Becky Lynch, another woman who has come up the meantime, must pay the price. Mickie James claims these new girls are trying to erase her legacy, but we’re gonna see if Becky is worthy of the distinction in this one.
Who I Want to Win: Becky Lynch. Becky’s back to being the underdog, and given her spirit, how could you not cheer her on against a spotlight-hungry veteran?
Who Will Win: Mickie James. So she may her lost her sort of PPV return at the Rumble, but she wasn’t pinned there. Being pinned here makes all the sense in the world so as not to kill her comeback momentum.
Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper
On the Drake & Josh episode titled “The Dr. Phyllis Show”, the TV host/gender-swapped Dr. Phil parody who hosted an clip show disguised as an intervention sought to get to the root of Drake and Josh’s problems. She noticed that they tend to escalate into physical violence with one another quite often. If only she knew how often this happens with step-brothers; Randy Orton and Luke Harper went through these same issues during the latest Wyatt Family chapter. For now, it appears that Harper is no longer a part of the former cult, once again finding himself solo as Wyatt has chosen the 2017 Royal Rumble winner over him. Wyatt has the chance to try and get even with the man who stole Harper’s thunder in the family, usurping him to earn Bray’s absolute approval.
Who I Want to Win: Luke Harper. Won’t bode well for his second singles run if he loses.
Who Will Win: Randy Orton. As the #1 contender for the World Title going into WrestleMania, there’s no way he’s losing.
WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
For those of you who don’t remember, Naomi and Alexa Bliss previously battled each other on in a near unwatchable pay-per-view at No Mercy last year when a last minute injury took Becky Lynch out of the game. This time around, the ladies actually have a story to work with and have hopefully built up some much-needed in-ring chemistry. Alexa’s character work has been top-notch lately, with her mic work being some of the best in the company and her facial expressions always making for enjoyable viewing. Naomi’s “Feel the Glow” gimmick seems to be catching on with people, as it’s gifted us one of the best entrances in recent memory. Now some people feel like Naomi is only getting this push because it’s Black History Month, and that after this, she’ll go back to playing second fiddle to other talent. Me and the other members of the Naomob hope that’s not the case and pray that this push is legit for a woman who’s hard worked deserves to be rewarded.
Who I Want to Win: Naomi; she’s long overdue for a title run. I hear the SD Women’s Title might not be on the line at WM, so if Naomi can’t win the title there, it’d be awesome to see her at least walk in with it.
Who Will Win: Alexa Bliss, and boy, will this probably not sit right with some people. But I can see Mickie James coming out to help Alexa after her match with Mickie ends. Heels prevail once again.
Elimination Chamber Match
WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Already locked into the Smackdown main event for WrestleMania is Randy Orton, who won the Royal Rumble in a genuinely shocking moment that most people – especially the ones who saw things from a political standpoint – were not very pleased with. But there’s nothing we can do about it now; the Viper is headed to WrestleMania for a hopefully not-boring title match against one of the six men in this match. First, there’s John Cena. Yawn. That’s not a knock on Cena; just a knock on the fact that Cena vs. Orton is more overplayed than Spongebob reruns on Nickelodeon. Then there’s The Miz and AJ Styles, arguably two of the biggest heels on Smackdown this past year. Then, there’s Baron Corbin, who seems poised to become a heavy hitter on Smackdown whether I like it or not. Then there’s Dean Ambrose, who seems a little lost at this point, but could rebound like his clothesline with a title win. Finally, there’s Randy Orton’s partner-in-crime Bray Wyatt, who was previously lost before this storyline saved him from the pits of obscurity.
Who I Want to Win: AJ Styles; the Phenomenal One walking into his second WrestleMania as World Champion is the stuff of dreams.
Who Will Win: Bray Wyatt; word on the street is that the Orton/Wyatt story will implode on the biggest stage of them all, and this is the only way for it to come to fruition. But that’s only assuming they actually pull the trigger, unlike when TNA passed on the logical “Turn Allie Against Maria” moment on Bound for Glory.