With just one actual match being contested inside the Elimination Chamber, WWE packed a lot more matches into this card than in previous years when there were two chamber matches. And the card is loaded. In addition to the chamber match, the WWE Championship rematch between the Rock and CM Punk, as well as a six-man tag featuring John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback against the Shield are on the card. This is sure to be a good one.
Beyond what seems to be a very stacked card, this pay-per-view will also set the course for the biggest matches on the Road to WrestleMania. So without further ado, let's see what we've got.
YouTube Pre-show tag team match
Brodus Clay and Tensai vs. Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow
So much for the Rhodes Scholars being broken up, eh? Neither Rhodes or Sandow have had much success since they decided to pursue singles careers, so they are going to team up again to challenge the new tag team of Brodus Clay and Tensai. The bigger question here is whether Tensai will change up his look to fit his new character, and what their team name will be. Obviously, the two guys who just formed a tag team are going to go over the one that just broke up.
WINNERS: Brodus Clay and Tensai
United States Championship
Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. The Miz
A rematch from last month's PPV preshow, this should be a pretty solid bout. Cesaro won clean last time, and while he hasn't exactly been booked like a world beater as of late, neither has the Miz. WWE has something special in Cesaro and there is no good reason to take the U.S. title off of him leading up to WrestleMania.
WINNER: And STILL United States Champion, Antonio Cesaro
Kaitlyn (c) vs. Tamina
Unless you've been watching WWE Active, there hasn't been a whole lot of build up to this one. That's probably because the Divas division was decimated once Eve quit. Tamina is definitely an imposing challenger for Kaitlyn, but I think the "Hybrid Diva" retains, setting up a match with her former bestie AJ Lee at WrestleMania.
WINNER: And STILL Divas Champion, Kaitlyn
World Heavyweight Championship
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. The Big Show
Anyone else think this feud has been booked a little backward? Del Rio won the title on TV in a stipulation match (Last Man Standing), defended at the Rumble with the same stipulation, and now the blowoff is a regular singles match. At least Big Show tried to make sense of it on Smackdown by saying Del Rio can't pin him. I don't think Del Rio will, instead, he'll make the big man tap out to the Cross Armbreaker, putting him over huge because Show almost never taps out.
WINNER: And STILL World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Of course, Show will be angry he got embarassed by tapping out and while Del Rio is celebrating, smash him with a Knockout Punch, leading to a cash-in by Mr. Money in the Bank Dolph Ziggler. I've thought Ziggler was going to wait until the chamber to cash-in pretty much since he won Money in the Bank.
WINNER: And NEW World Heavyweight Champion, Dolph Ziggler
Elimination Chamber to determine No. 1 contender for the World Championship at WrestleMania 29
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry vs. Chris Jericho vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kane
Obviously, this match has the most choices to pick a winner, and that makes it the most difficult to pick. Usually, even though there are six people to choose from, picking a winner can be narrowed down to two or three Superstars. The only person I can safely say isn't going to win is Kane. Until Swagger's gimmick change -- clearly intended to make him a heel for Del Rio to go over -- I wouldn't have picked him either. If Del Rio retains (assuming we know the winner beforehand) then Swagger is the pick. But since I think Ziggler is walking out of the PPV as World Champion, they'll set-up Swagger-Del Rio another way (maybe he gets involved in Del Rio's obligatory rematch with Ziggler on TV?). I don't think it'll be Orton. I think WWE will follow through with rumored plans of an Orton-Sheamus WrestleMania match without the title involved. Plus, he hasn't been booked like a main eventer recently.
That leaves Jericho, Bryan and Henry. Despite Henry's huge push since returning, I think he'll be used in a different way come WrestleMania. Jericho makes a lot of sense, especially if Ziggler is the champion. Maybe I'm picking with my heart here, but I think Daniel Bryan getting back to the World title picture at WrestleMania to face the guy now covorting with the girl who gave him the "kiss of death" last year is no only the best storyline, but will also give fans a great pure wrestling match on a WrestleMania card that is going to rely heavily on big names and brawling. Plus, stick Kane in Bryan's corner to counter Big E Langston.
WINNER: And No. 1 contender at WrestleMania 29, Daniel Bryan
Six-man tag team match
John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback vs. The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns)
While the Elimination Chamber bout is the most difficult to pick, this has to be the easiest. There is no way The Shield is going over three of WWE's top Superstars this close to WrestleMania unless there is a major swerve coming. I don't see that happening. I still wish this was taking place inside the chamber itself, especially since a lot has been made of the Shield's "hit and run" style, but it should still be fun as a tag match.
WINNERS: John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback
The Rock (c) vs. CM Punk
The stipulation added on Raw that if the Rock is counted out or disqualified CM Punk wins the title has given me some pause, but not a lot. While I was 100 percent sure the Rock would retain before, I would say I'm 99 percent now. If WWE doesn't have confirmation from the Undertaker that he will work WrestleMania 29 against CM Punk, then the match might be booked to put the title back on Punk to set up a Triple Threat WrestleMania match. That's not what I want to see. When I bought my WrestleMania ticket, it was to see the Rock-Cena rematch. I think WWE recognizes that a lot of fans would rather see a one-on-one encounter than a Triple Threat. That's why I'm sticking to my guns.
WINNER: And STILL WWE Champion, The Rock
BONUS PREDICTION NO. 2
With WWE in New Orleans, where the lights went out a few weeks ago at the Super Bowl, WWE will attempt to mimic this during the pay-per-view. While doing something during the Shield's match is the obvious spot, I'd love to see something happen here where the lights go out and, when they come back on, it's the Undertaker confronting Punk to set up their WrestleMania match. I don't know how that would work, especially if the Rock retains, unless he bails and leaves Punk in the ring to start cutting a promo about how he's still the best in the world and deserves respect. Bottom line, I think we see the Undertaker Sunday night.