WWE Elimination Chamber 2015
May 31, 2015
Corpus Christi, Texas – American Bank Center
Watch: WWENetwork

When the WWE Network was first announced, the potential for these types of “special events” was seen as one of the Network’s best potential assets. It took over a year for WWE to realize the benefit and now, with roughly two weeks build and the same amount of announced lead time, WWE  presents a Network-exclusive special event, WWE Elimination Chamber 2015.

The timing of the event, literally on the last day of the month, is not a total accident. The goal with this special, unlike previous ones, is not to sell you on the WWE Network but to keep you subscribed. It’s another shrewd move for the company that is finally starting to figure out how to market their over-the-top Network and appeal to the Network-buying audience. That Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose are featured competitors is also not a complete accident. 

Elimination Chamber 2015 also features a unique, first-time ever tag Elimination Chamber as the WWE Tag Team championship are on the line, in addition to a second Chamber match to crown a new Intercontinental champion, a title made vacant by injured former champion Daniel Bryan. The Divas championship is on the line as the returning Paige looks to unseat current champion Nikki Bella, but don’t count out the third member of the match, Naomi who seems primed for a title run of her own. Rounding out the card, Neville battles Mr. Inspiration himself Bo Dallas.

Let’s get to the predictions!

Neville vs. Bo Dallas

Aaron Bentley (@aaron_bentley): WWE’s drive for Network subscribers and the subsequent focus on Elimination Chamber has made them create actual storylines for feuds outside of the main event. As a result, I’m looking forward to this show more than any WWE show in recent memory. While Bo Dallas is not much of a worker, I can’t help but love the character. Neville has been on an outstanding run but unfortunately, that run began after his last match with Bo Dallas, which was underwhelming at best. Hopefully, this match is better and Neville gets a decisive win, allowing him to move up the card.

Prediction: Neville

Ru Gunn (@DoctorDala): I was initially unsure about these two meeting again: it wasn’t the strongest feud on NXT (the bar is high), and it felt a bit weird to have them run in to each other like this. The idea is growing on me now, as they both seem to have developed on their strengths since their last major run-in, and Bo’s escalating creepiness and malice contrasted with Neville’s down-to-earth everyman character is a refreshing dynamic. Neville will be sorely missed in the Chamber match though.

Prediction: Neville

Jeff Hawkins (@Crapgame13): Mid-card face that’s not getting to the main event level but is a new fan favorite attraction. Comedy heel who’s delivered beatdowns the past two weeks. Time to get the win and start the “build” again. This one seems simple but never underestimate that “the feud must continue.”

Prediction: Neville

Rich Kraetsch (@voiceswrestling): I’ll admit, I wasn’t much of a fan when this feud got started. I thought it was a total waste of a hot character in Neville but now as we draw to the eventual (and hopeful) blow-off, it’s been pretty decent. It’s given something for Neville to do while he waits for his next big match and Bo Dallas’ character work has always been stellar. Neville has to win and win convincingly, with the prevailing narrative being Dallas as a mere detour in the rise of Neville.

Prediction: Neville 

WWE Divas Championship
Nikki Bella © vs. Paige vs. Naomi

Aaron Bentley: It’s fair to say that Paige has been terribly mishandled by the writing staff since she was called up from NXT. However, her ring work hasn’t approached her standards in developmental either. Nikki Bella and Naomi have their positive traits but neither of them is likely to be able to get out of the trite WWE triple threat playbook enough to make this even a three-star affair. Paige is coming off a loss to Tamina but I probably shouldn’t try to make sense of the booking of the Divas division. My guess is they stick with the status quo.

Prediction: Nikki Bella

Ru Gunn: I would normally be staunchly optimistic about a match like this, but lately the way that WWE’s female characters have been made to say and do things which are at worst irredeemable, and at best unpalatable; well, it’s made it hard for me to get enthusiastic. Instead, I am anticipating this match with a horrible sinking feeling of dread, wondering what insulting sexist trope is going to be pulled out for this one. Which is a shame, because on paper this is an exciting, dynamic match that could deliver on in-ring action.

Prediction: Nikki Bella

Jeff Hawkins:  The Bellas have said they want the same time and respect as the women of NXT. I think this match is going to try very hard to deliver but fall short of the standard. It could be a glorious overbooked mess with Tamina and Brie being involved. Should be Naomi’s night to win, as she’s finding her groove in her promos, and Paige’s quick insertion screams a “lose the title without pinning the champ” finish. I think she takes the fall.

Prediction: Naomi

Rich Kraetsch: The continuing saga of WWE Divas where nobody is quite sure who is the babyface or the heel and sometimes, even the performers don’t know! I presumed Nikki and Brie turned face a month or so ago, so by proxy Paige attacking Nikki should make her the heel… but that does…okay my head hurts already, forget it. This match, if given proper time, should deliver in ring. I’m on record as saying Naomi has the chance to be special if they can tap into her enormous potential. Nikki has been doing her thing as of late and Paige is Paige, we all know she’s the goods.

Prediction: Naomi

Tag Team Elimination Chamber Match – WWE Tag Team Championship
The New Day © vs. The Lucha Dragons vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro vs. The Prime Time Players vs. The Ascension vs. Los Matadores

Aaron Bentley: I just want this to quickly become Kidd/Cesaro vs. New Day and let’s throw in the Lucha Dragons just to freshen up the spotfest. I would’ve liked to have seen Harper and Rowan here to add a different dimension but alas. Kidd/Cesaro and New Day are both at the peak of their powers. Once the contest becomes about those two teams, it’s going to be fun. A gimmick match like this should ideally mean the heel champions lose, right?

Prediction: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro

Ru Gunn: No one has explained to me how they’re going to fit in the pods. It’s going to be uncomfortably snug, right? What are they gonna do in there while they’re waiting? This sounds so awkward on paper, which is why I’m excited to see how it pans out, out of a mixture of morbid curiosity and genuine interest. I think this has the potential to be a really fun, fast paced match with some cool spots, but there are too many weak links in there for a genuinely great match.

Prediction: New Day

Jeff Hawkins: Lots of bodies so I expect a few of these teams to get eliminated fairly quick. They could use that for a Kidd/Cesaro run or they could give a couple pins to either the Lucha Dragons or Prime Time Players on their way to losing in order to help either team’s midcard cause. But it’s coming down to a Kidd/Cesaro vs. New Day confrontation, and it’s a bit early to take the belts off of the New Day, but I said the same thing right before Kidd and Cesaro lost the tag team titles.

Prediction:  New Day

Rich Kraetsch: For all the praise we give the current WWE tag division (and rightfully so) boy does this match have a lot of waste in it. I don’t mean that to totally discredit the division, I love a diverse multi-layer, character-heavy tag division and that’s what we have. But man, when you try to have a featured match for the division and you’re calling on The Ascension? Oof. This match has the potential to be really good but a lot of that depends on how quickly we can get to the featured teams (New Day, Kidd & Cesaro and to a lesser extent Lucha Dragons) into the match and away from the garbage (see: The Ascension). I’m also super intrigued on how the pod situation works out, in that those bad boys are snug for even a single guy, let alone one of those men being Big E. This is my early pick for Match of the Night so I’m going in with big expectations.

Prediction: New Day

Elimination Chamber – WWE Intercontinental Championship
Sheamus vs. Ryback vs. R-Truth vs. King Barrett vs. Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler

Aaron Bentley: In a just world, King Barrett would cement his claim to the throne in this match and walk away with the gold. Unfortunately, WWE doesn’t appear to see Barrett as deserving of a position above the midcard. Rusev and Ziggler have their own awful thing and I don’t see the championship becoming part of that “story.”  That leaves us with Truth, Ryback, and Sheamus. And that list is in order of their likelihood to win this match. Sheamus has mostly been fun since his heel turn. I just worry that everyone seems to die when they get the IC title. And he’s already so pale.

Prediction: Sheamus

Ru Gunn: The “We Miss Daniel Bryan” match. Why isn’t Luke Harper in this match? Luke Harper makes everything better. My interest in this match has decreased as the participants got announced, but I’m still hopeful this could be good. I’m concerned that Lana drama might interfere with this match, which would tidy Rusev away without him taking a pinfall or submission, but be narratively annoying. Now that Sheamus has hopefully shaken the last remnants of arse-related feud , he might be the most likely option for a win here.

Prediction: Sheamus

Jeff Hawkins: RAW established that only three people in this match matter: Ryback, Rusev and Sheamus. It’s an interesting mix of athleticism and power so it should still be fun. Truth is there to fill a midcard face spot since they like the face/heel dynamic to be even, and Neville’s not available.  Ziggler is there as a foil for Rusev, and Barrett’s King of the Ring run is low comedy rather than a build. I expect Bray Wyatt playing a part in Ryback’s elimination, a fluke pin somewhere by R-Truth and a creative exit for Rusev. The only one with nothing to do right now is Sheamus, and he’s a guy they want to be in the upper tier, so he’s your IC Champ.

Prediction: Sheamus

Rich Kraetsch: I really want to be into this match but I just can’t do it. There was some intrigue when it was initially announced but the build and where the participants reside in “the universe” has sucked any and all investment into this match. Rusev is a game-time decision due to an injury suffered on SmackDown, Luke Harper isn’t in the match, Barrett can’t win a match to save his life, R-Truth (really?!) and one of the worst characters currently on the roster, Dolph Ziggler. Don’t get me wrong, Dolph is still one of my favorites but what in god’s name is his character right now? Dude who gets kissed by Lana? Bleh. Sheamus is the obvious winner here, I can’t fathom anyone else, save for maybe Barrett, coming out with the belt.

Prediction: Sheamus 

John Cena vs. Kevin Owens

Aaron Bentley: Honestly, if the screen went black just before this match and a message popped up telling me I had to authorize an additional credit card charge to view it, the price would have to be pretty high to stop me. John Cena has performed admirably at making Owens seem like a legitimate threat. For his part, Owens has never seemed out of place on RAW. The fact that the US title isn’t on the line gives me some hope that Owens will go over but I just can’t imagine that I live in a world where Kevin Steen pins John Cena on a WWE pay-per-view. Instead, as everyone is predicting, we are likely to get a non-finish that serves to continue this program. The real question is whether WWE thinks working with Cena is enough of a rub for Owens (a la Wyatt and Rusev) or if they will actually pull the trigger and make a star out of KO.

Prediction: John Cena by DQ

Ru Gunn: I am hyped for this: its so completely surreal that even seeing it written down doesn’t feel real. It’s like playing WWE 2k15 with your library of CAWs on random. I’m predicting some sort of DQ here because that seems to be Owens MO lately; being more concerned about causing injury than playing by the rules; and also I think there’d be a reluctance for a clean win over either of these men. I don’t really mind, because I think this match is just going to be awesomely fun. Cena doesn’t have the emotively tragic face of Zayn and he doesn’t need to: because watching him getting pop-up powerbombed in slow mo replay is going to be all we need.

Prediction: John Cena

Jeff Hawkins:  Give me. Now. The only match with a decent build and my most anticipated. I think this should start as a match to establish Owens trying to go with Cena move for move, and it eventually breaks down into a fight. Fully expect a non-finish of some variety. One interesting finish possibility is Owens tapping quick or even before the STF is in place in order to avoid damage (no belt, no need), and then destroying Cena post-match. They should not pin Owens here under any circumstance. This is the prologue of things to come, or so we hope.

Prediction:  John Cena by DQ

Rich Kraetsch: This doesn’t seem real. Was I really just asked to preview a match between the former Kevin Steen and John Cena? The same Kevin Steen I swung on a swingset with when he was doing worked-shoot/firing angles with Ring of Honor some years back? It has to be a different guy, right? I can’t even begin to describe my hype level for this match. To contrast my earlier thoughts on Ziggler, Owens is the best character in wrestling right now. A real human being with real emotions who lives in the actual world, not just the bubble-d “WWE Universe.” His motivations are real, his actions are defensible but devious. God, I love it. Cena always rises to the occasion when facing top-tier talents and this should be no different. I don’t see this match having a finish but that’s cool, don’t give us decisiveness right away, keep us thirsty for more.

Prediction: No Decision

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Seth Rollins © vs. Dean Ambrose

Aaron Bentley: The matchup seems exciting on paper but we’re likely to get an overbooked morass instead of a wrestling classic. The way this match was handled on this week’s episode of RAW made that clear. When The Shield broke up, I was so excited about the potential matches between the three members, but especially Rollins and Ambrose. Instead, we’ve never really gotten anything worthy of that excitement.  Essentially, I have very little interest in this match.  But maybe Kane and Roman Reigns won’t get involved and we’ll just get an intense contest with a clean finish!

Prediction: Seth Rollins

Ru Gunn: Some people are getting bored of different permutations of ex-Shield match -ups. I’m not sure i ever will, and this one in particular I will never complain about. I’d love to see Seth with an emphatic, interference-free victory here, after a hard-fought battle with both men innovating their offence (not just stealing signature lariats from other wrestlers). I want Seth to fight so hard that his hair goes all frizzy. Realistically, Kane will probably be involved.

Prediction: Seth Rollins

Jeff Hawkins: Much like Kane has been the focus of the last two title matches, I think Roman Reigns is the focus of this one, as he comes out to counteract the chicanery of the Authority. Rollins is winning, but I do think the buddy-buddy act of Ambrose and Reigns that has been built over the past couple weeks is done, as Reigns’ overzealousness costs Ambrose the match and Ambrose loses it on Reigns. Rollins laughs as he yet again gets the upper hand on his former friends, tension is built for the Money in the Bank match, fade to black.

Prediction:  Seth Rollins

Rich Kraetsch: This is a match that should have been highly anticipated, should’ve been a big deal but ultimately feels flat and unnecessary. I’m happy for Ambrose and I don’t doubt that these two can have a pretty good match but this eventual title match and Ambrose’s ascension to the World Heavyweight Title picture could’ve been so much more fulfilling than this.

Prediction: Seth Rollins