Columnist Rob Pasbani previews the huge weekend of wrestling.
Elimination Chamber is shaping up to be the most anticipated non-Big Four event (Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series) in a very long time. That’s because The Bloodline storyline is finally coming to a head. Almost two years of storytelling is reaching a big climax and to top it all off, the event is happening in Montreal, one of the hottest crowds in the world, and the main event features one of their own vying for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. It’s gonna be banana in there.
Here’s a preview of the final card along with some predictions from me.
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship Match
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Sami Zayn
The show is called “Elimination Chamber” but neither Chamber match is the actual main event of the show. This is the true main event and can truly go any which way. But perhaps the most obvious ending will also be the most probable one. I can see Jey Uso interfering and costing Sami Zayn the match, only for Kevin Owens to return and help his friend, leading to Usos vs. Zayn and Kevin at WrestleMania. Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Radio had an interesting prediction, which is that Zayn loses because of the Usos, Zayn and KO win the tag titles at WrestleMania, Cody beats Roman at Mania and then the following month, Zayn gets a rematch with Roman and finally gets his win there. As much as I want to see Zayn win here, it feels to me like Roman vs. Cody is a far more enticing match for Mania than Zayn vs. Cody, so I see Reigns leaving with the belt.
United States Title Elimination Chamber Match
Austin Theory (c) vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Bronson Reed vs. Damian Priest vs. Montez Ford
With Seth Rollins penciled in to face Logan Paul at Mania, that takes him out. Austin Theory is facing John Cena at WrestleMania, and it feels like Cena would win that one so perhaps Austin has to lose here? I would say Montez Ford has an outside chance of winning, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Austin Theory walks out as champion.
Elimination Chamber Match to determine the challenger to the Raw Women’s Title at WrestleMania
Raquel Rodriguez vs. Liv Morgan vs. Nikki Cross vs. Asuka vs. Natalya vs. Carmella
Of all of these competitors, the one I would most like to see face Bianca at WrestleMania is Asuka. She has a ton of momentum now, and can really be built back up
Bobby Lashley vs. Brock Lesnar
No way this match actually delivers anything but an unsatisfying finish leading to some sort of stipulation match at WrestleMania. This program has been a highlight of Raw, so I hope they give us something fun here before ending the match.
Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. Finn Bálor & Rhea Ripley
This will be a really fun match, but seeing that Rhea has a big match at WrestleMania and Beth is part-time, I can see Rhea getting the win on Beth.
The former Sasha Banks makes her big New Japan debut in San Diego this weekend at the NJPW PPV Battle in the Valley, which is actually starting just as Elimination Chamber ends on Saturday night. The card has some really fun matches, but all eyes will likely be on the final two matches as well as the Eddie Kingston vs. Jay White match.
Mercedes is facing an old foe for the IWGP Women’s Championship in KAIRI. The two battled previously in WWE and will surely put on a memorable match. Just based on her name recognition alone, I can see Mercedes winning and becoming the second IWGP champion. Okada will main event and I expect him to retain.
Eddie Kingston vs. Jay White had a new stipulation added this week, where the loser leaves New Japan for good. I have to think this is Jay White’s swan song.
Here is the full card. You can order the PPV on FITE:
Smackdown tonight is also in Montreal so it’s going to be wild:
AEW Rampage, Friday on TNT has announced:
Despite rumors of interest from WWE on NJPW star Jay White, in this week’s Wrestling Observer, Dave Meltzer claims an inside source tells him WWE has their eye on a much bigger free agent. The only available talent of such caliber at the moment would be Kota Ibushi, who might be a hard get. There are rumors that Kenny Omega’s contract is also coming up soon.
Ring of Honor confirmed its first set of TV tapings under the new Tony Khan regime. Tapings will take place at Universal Studios on Saturday, February 25th and Sunday, February 26th, which will also include a taping of AEW Dark. The show will debut Thursday, March 2, 2023 on HonorClub, leading to ROH Supercard of Honor at the end of the month.
“Stone Cold Takes on America” will premiere on A&E at 10 p.m. on Sunday, April 30. “Stone Cold Takes on America” is a 10-part series where Austin “takes viewers on an epic adventure as he redefines what life after years in the ring looks like and experiences everything he missed out on while focused on his career.”
Ric Flair claims his wife Wendy is a part of a pitch for a reality series called “Housewives of Wrestling,” and Fox and Netflix are interested. The show would also feature the wives of Randy Orton (Kimberly Kessler), Jake Hager (Catalina White), and Kurt Angle (Giovanna Yannotti). “Fox and Netflix are looking at picking up the housewives of wrestling,” Ric said on his podcast. “[Wendy Barlow] saw the reel yesterday. It’s Randy’s wife, it’s Kurt’s wife, it’s Wendy, and Jake Hager’s wife. I don’t think Karen [Jarrett] is in it, I’m not sure. Karen would be great at it, though. The reel came out so good they are looking at it.”
Tony Khan politely put the kibosh on Bryan Danielson competing in the G1 telling In The Kliq podcast “I think it would be great in many ways, but Bryan Danielson, it’s quite possible [he] could be the AEW World Champion. Either way, I think it would be hard for him to disappear from the show, especially if he’s the AEW World Champion. I’m not sure if he’ll be able to get away from the show that much. We’ll have to see what happens here coming out of Revolution with MJF vs. Bryan Danielson for the AEW World Championship in a 60-minute Ironman match there in San Francisco on March 5.”
Patrick Mahomes can’t stop wearing his WWE Title:
A cool article on how the Mountain Dew Pitch Black match came to be.
Do you enjoy pro wrestling? Knotfest Wrestling has a bi-weekly column filled with wrestling news. Read previous editions of this column here. You can always follow me @robinjection on Instagram and Twitter and @Squaredcirclpit.