John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Elimination Chamber 2020 preview. It’s the 10th time in the last 11 years that WWE has ran an Elimination Chamber PPV. They did not do it in 2016, but they have done it every year since 2010. If you’re interested in Elimination Chamber history, I have reviewed every Elimination Chamber Match in WWE history and it’s on TJRWrestling right here if you want to check it out.
Here we go again with another WWE PPV that is 10 days after the Super Showdown show. That Super Showdown event did not have a strong lineup going into it and it was even worse after it happened. If you want to be positive about that show you can at least say there was a lot of star power on the card. At Elimination Chamber on Sunday, a lot of big names are missing. The build for some of the matches are weak. I get it because WrestleMania is four weeks away, but maybe WWE could have tried harder to make people care more about this show. I’m not one of those people that says WWE should do less big shows. These PPV shows are good for me as a writer and a guy that’s in the business of making money writing about wrestling. Fans are interested in these shows. I’m just saying they have 100+ wrestlers on Raw and Smackdown. This is the best show you can do? No way. They can come up with a better card than this if they tried a bit harder.
There are seven matches for us to preview, one of which was added on Smackdown. I think in terms of match quality, there are potentially great matches like Styles vs. Black, Bryan vs. Gulak (if they get time), the Raw Tag Team Title match and both Chamber matches. I just wish the matches were interesting in terms of the storylines going into the show. There’s not that much to get excited about.
Joining me for the preview are Alex Podgorski and Lance Augustine. Here are some thoughts from Alex and then we’ll get to the preview.
Alex: Normally I would be very excited to see the Elimination Chamber show, but this year’s different. The fallout from WWE Super Showdown still hangs heavy in the air, and WWE has done little to promote their upcoming PPV this Sunday. Like Hell in a Cell 2019, a PPV that took place so soon after a big Saudi show featured little hype and less excitement. So while I’m looking forward to this show because of at least one potentially good Elimination Chamber match, I’d be more excited if the show featured more of the company’s biggest stars.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.)
Daniel Bryan vs. Drew Gulak
Alex: This last-minute addition was done to add more intrigue into the show. To be honest, I’m glad something was done with Daniel Bryan, because he’s arguably WWE’s best wrestler. Even if this ends up being a throwaway match with no fallout, at least we’ll get the chance to see Bryan do something since he hasn’t done much since losing to the Fiend at the Royal Rumble.
In terms of match results, I’d say it’s a pretty foregone conclusion: one wrestler is one of the company’s biggest stars, while is just a guy that’s barely seen on any of the company’s shows. So while the conclusion may be obvious, the journey there (i.e. the match) has the potential to be great.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Lance: A late addition to the PPV but it’s always nice to see Daniel Bryan in a PPV match. This will be a battle of submission experts and while it would be a huge win for Gulak, I just can’t see him getting a win here. Bryan will be involved in Mania in some bigger capacity and if this were the PPV after Mania, I could see Gulak picking up an upset win. There is just too much going on this time of year and the top stars will remain at the top until after the big show.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
John: This should be fun from a technical wrestling standpoint. The concern is that the crowd will be dead because Gulak has done nothing on Smackdown in terms of winning matches and now this storyline where he says Bryan has weaknesses has popped up out of nowhere. There have been reports that Bryan pitched to work with Gulak and other guys like Axel/Slater that he has wrestled in the last month because Bryan wants to help his friends get over and the creative team is unable to come up with a good storyline for Bryan, who is the best wrestler in the company, in my opinion. I think Bryan will win here, but then they’ll do another match on TV with Gulak winning and claiming he found a weakness in Bryan. If Bryan loses here, it will be on some inside cradle or rollup type of ending.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
United States Championship: Andrade (c) vs. Humberto Carrillo
Alex: This is a perfect example of the sterility and homogeneity that plagues WWE’s creative process right now. Andrade and Carrillo are locked in a generic mid-card feud over a generic mid-card title, cutting generic promos on each other, putting on generic matches and generic post-match attacks. Nothing feels truly special or eye-catching, even though both wrestlers (especially Andrade) can be good performers. This is supposed to be a big feud in WWE, but it just doesn’t feel that way. If they give Andrade and Carrillo the chance to really show what they can do, this could end up being a fine performance. But as with everything in WWE, that’s a BIG ‘if’. As for the conclusion, it really doesn’t matter since the company doesn’t give much emphasis on the US title anyway, so I’m picking Andrade.
Winner and STILL US Champion: Andrade
Lance: Andrade is fresh off a wellness suspension and a lot of people wondered why they didn’t take the title off of him immediately following that. Obviously, somebody in the office loves this guy and it isn’t hard to see why. I can see him being like a Rey Mysterio if he can stay out of his own way. Carrillo has also had a solid run as of late and these two have squared off multiple times to this point. I think Andrade keeps the title here, and they hold off on the switch until Wrestlemania. For some reason, I think these two will be paired up again.
Winner and STILL United States Champion: Andrade
John: It feels like these two have wrestled at least five or six times in the last four months. I don’t know how many times it has been, but apparently thinks only their Latino stars can compete for the US Title of late. Carrillo needs character development as much as anybody in WWE. He needs to be more than the young guy that smiles a lot to show off his dimples. I think we’ll be getting a 4-Way at WrestleMania with these two, plus Rey Mysterio and Angel Garza. It wouldn’t shock me if Garza won the title there. For this match, I’m going with a title change because Andrade hasn’t done much as the champion, so they might as well move it onto Carrillo to see if he can get some positive momentum going.
Winner AND NEW United States Champion: Humberto Carrillo
Intercontinental Championship: Braun Strowman (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro and Sami Zayn
Alex: I don’t know what these three guys did to anger WWE’s management to deserve such brutal treatment. Cesaro is one of WWE’s biggest unsung heroes in terms of wrestling ability, yet the powers-that-be have doomed him to a career of mediocrity for being Swiss. Nakamura, once considered the best wrestler on the planet (including having the best god damn wrestling entrance ever), is cursed to nothing matches because of his language barrier. And Zayn rarely even wrestles, if ever (though that can be forgiven due to his injuries), but he’s a natural hero yet he has been shoe-horned into the role of an underhanded manager.
And then there’s Strowman, who has experienced a sort of start-stop push for almost two years. He was molten hot as a star in 2018, and when Reigns vacated the Universal Title due to his cancer announcement, it was the perfect time to crown Strowman as the new champion. Yet WWE instead went with Lesnar, and all Strowman has been doing since then is running laps around the ring. And I get the feeling that’s exactly what he’ll do on Sunday: bulldoze through three smaller wrestlers and hit one of them with his Powerslam finisher in less than ten minutes in a match that shouldn’t exist in the first place.
Winner and STILL Intercontinental Champion: Braun Strowman
Lance: Braun Strowman, to me anyway, is one of the worst booked big men of all time. They could have easily made him the top guy at any point in the last 3 years but he always seems to come up short. They finally gave him a singles title though, so I guess that’s a step in the right direction. All four men in the match can go, but it’s been sad to watch somebody like Nakamura has been booked so poorly since coming up to the main roster. Strowman retains here because I think they have bigger plans for him for Mania, while the other guys might be relegated to a battle royal appearance.
Winner and STILL Intercontinental Champion: Braun Strowman
John: This should be a win for Strowman and if it’s not then I’d be surprised. As my friends above said, it’s really a shame to see how poorly WWE has booked the trio of Nakamura, Cesaro and Zayn because they are all outstanding wrestlers. It was four years ago when Nakamura and Zayn had the WWE Match of the Year in NXT in Nakamura’s first WWE match, yet now they’re going to lose 3 on 1 to a guy that yells loudly. I like Strowman a lot, but he hasn’t been very interesting on Smackdown even while holding the title.
I think Strowman facing Sheamus for the Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania makes a lot of sense. It’s the only title in WWE that Sheamus hasn’t won (no Universal Title, but multiple World Titles counts as the same thing), so there’s a good storyline they could use to set it up.
Winner: Braun Strowman
Raw Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) (c) vs. Seth Rollins and Murphy
Alex: The Street Profits won the tag titles on Raw thanks to shenanigans on the part of Kevin Owens. And they will retain the titles again at Elimination Chamber thanks to shenanigans on the part of Kevin Owens.
It’s pretty obvious that WWE are pushing a confrontation between these two (Rollins and Owens) for WrestleMania. To that end, it wouldn’t make sense for Rollins to re-capture the tag titles when a singles match with Kevin Owens at WrestleMania is being penciled in. Plus, the Street Profits’ recent title victory might seem like a fluke to many, so they’d need a big win this Sunday (even if it comes via shenanigans) to establish them as more credible than they really are. This will likely go around fifteen minutes, with the villains Rollins and Murphy dominating for the bulk of it. Then someone will play Kevin Owens’ music and he’ll appear on the ramp and one of the villains (likely Murphy) will get distracted long enough for him to be defeated with the dreaded ROLL-UP OF DEATH. Because nothing says ‘tough wrestler’ like a delicate backwards fall with all the force of a hummingbird.
Winners thanks to shenanigans and still RAW Tag Team Champions: The Street Profits
Lance: The Street Profits recently won the Raw Tag Team Titles from Rollins and Murphy on a recent episode of Raw, and here is the rematch that we typically get right after. The pairing of Rollins and Murphy with the AOP is still looking to get some legs underneath of it. The Street Profits are over with the crowd so I can’t see them taking the titles off of them so quickly. Although, this is the WWE and weirder things have happened.
Winner(s) and STILL Raw Tag Team Champions: The Street Profits
John: It’s the third match between these two teams over a ten-day period. Rollins and Murphy won at Super Showdown, then The Street Profits won the titles thanks to Kevin Owens and I expect the Street Profits to win again to keep the titles. It’s obvious that Rollins is not a tag team wrestler regularly, so having him lose because of Owens again makes sense. Perhaps Murphy will take the pin this time. Ford has been very impressive over the last month while Dawkins is solid at what he does. If they opt for a clean win by the Street Profits then that’s certainly fine with me. I think Street Profits can feud with AOP after this, but I doubt that even makes the WrestleMania main card. It’s probably a Kickoff Show match.
Winners: The Street Profits
No Disqualification Match: AJ Styles vs. Aleister Black
Alex: If this were a normal match without the No DQ stipulation, it would very well steal the show in terms of quality. Black is a strong performer when he has a match longer than three minutes, and Styles is, well, Styles. If they’re given enough time to have a hallway competitive match, this could end up being the best match on the show.
But that stipulation changes things. With it there, Styles might as well come down to the ring in a long trench coat and wide-brimmed hat and roll his eyes into the back of his head. You KNOW that the Undertaker’s going to appear to formalize his rumored match with Styles at WrestleMania. The only question is, how will it be done? I think that Styles will have the match won and will be ready to hit the Styles Clash, only for the lights to go out and for Undertaker to hit a Tombstone on Styles, granting Black the victory.
Winner thanks to interference by The Undertaker: Aleister Black
Lance: Word around the water cooler is that Paul Heyman is a big fan of Aleister Black. I am as well, and it seems he has been getting some more TV time and picking up some wins. AJ Styles is fresh off his well-deserved win as the Wrestler of the Decade and I have to agree completely. The guy is a straight-up workhorse. The only thing about this match is that both men losing here could halt some of their momentum. Styles looks to be heading for a showdown with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania, and Black is trying to become a legitimate threat on Raw. I’ll go with Black winning here because Styles isn’t hurt as much with a loss, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Taker plays a role in the finish and costs him the match.
Winner: Aleister Black
John: This is the match of the night if AJ Styles is healthy. Styles hasn’t done much in terms of bumping since the shoulder injury at the Royal Rumble, so I wonder if he’s fully cleared to have the great match he’s truly capable of. It’s a big match for Black, who only lost on Raw to Styles after he was beaten up by AJ, Anderson and Gallows. I don’t think that loss really hurt Black and I think it was done to set up this match because WWE realized they needed an awesome match on this show.
The No Disqualification Match stipulation likely means one of two things: 1) Styles wins thanks to some illegal tactics from his OC buddies or 2) The Undertaker shows up to distract Styles and Black capitalizes for the win. I’m going with that #2 scenario as my prediction. It also wouldn’t be a bad thing if Black got to team up with Undertaker at some point and you have Undertaker endorse him as something of a darker, gloomy character on the show. If AJ is completely healthy then they should get 15-20 minutes and have a match of the night to save the show, but I don’t know if AJ is going to be able to do that.
Winner: Aleister Black
Elimination Chamber Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles: The Miz and John Morrison (c) vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler vs. Heavy Machinery (Otis & Tucker) vs. Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik)
(Note: Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode will enter last due to their victory on Smackdown.)
Alex: WWE wants the audience to get excited by putting on a big match early, which means the show will both open and close with an Elimination Chamber match. For this contest, I predict a lot of wanton destruction and violence that will get the crowd to make a lot of noise. Given the participants involved in this multi-team match, I predict the following will happen:
* The Lucha House Party will be eliminated either first or quickest because they have almost no screen time and therefore zero credibility as threats in this match;
* Kofi Kingston will do something incredibly ballsy like climb the chain link wall and do a crazy dive because he missed out on his annual ‘insane avoid elimination spot’ from this year’s Rumble Match;
* Otis will hit the Caterpillar/Worm on two opponents at once, only to be eliminated almost immediately afterwards;
* The Usos will do simultaneous dives off the topes of opposing pods to eliminate one of the bigger threats in the match, only for Miz & Morrison to capitalize and steal the victory from under them;
Even if this match lacks much story going into it, it has the potential to be the kind of crazy demolition derby that many fans love to watch.
Winners and STILL SmackDown Tag Team Champions: Miz & Morrison
Lance: This match should actually be a strong one on the show because all the teams in it are good. Word has it that The Revival was going to be in the match, but were pulled due to their ongoing contract situation. The Lucha House Party have taken their place and coincidentally are the weakest of all the teams in the match. Miz and Morrison recently won the Smackdown Tag Titles at Super Showdown a week or so ago, so having them defend the titles in this kind of match is a quick turnaround. Like all the other title matches on this show, they just won them so I can’t see them taking them off them so quickly. I’ll take them to retain, but I could see some nice teamwork from all the teams leading to some intrigue in the match.
Winner(s) and STILL Smackdown Tag Team Champions: The Miz and John Morrison
John: This should be pretty good. There are talented, veteran guys in this match that should be able to carry it and make it interesting. Miz and Morrison have been pinned on the last two weeks of Smackdown (in non-title matches), so I think it’s pretty much a lock that they’ll retain the titles here.
I think it will be booked where either New Day or Usos start the match (or maybe both do) and one of those teams makes it all the way to the end, but then they are so exhausted from a grueling match that Miz/Morrison capitalize to win. I can see Otis pinning Ziggler to eliminate him since Ziggler pinned Otis on Smackdown. I think Lucha House Party will have a few flashy moments, but they won’t be in there for long. I’ll pick Usos as that first team that lasts from first until the end and they are the stars of the match.
In looking ahead to WrestleMania, I know that there’s that storyline with Ziggler/Roode and Heavy Machinery (mainly Dolph vs. Otis), but I have a hard time believing that WWE paid Morrison a lot of money to have a title run that only lasts ten days. I just feel like Miz/Morrison have to be in some pretty big match at WrestleMania possibly involving some of these teams. Ladder match coming? I think it’s certainly possible. I don’t see New Day or Usos being tossed into the battle royal. I’ll go with the champs retaining here.
Winners: The Miz and John Morrison
Women’s Elimination Chamber Match (Raw): Asuka vs. Natalya vs. Ruby Riott vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Sarah Logan vs. Liv Morgan
(Note: The winner will challenge Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania)
Alex: This is likely going to be the main event of the show, and I can already predict that Shayna Baszler will stand tall once it’s over. The reason for this conclusion is threefold. First, Baszler already had that high-profile confrontation with Lynch, and so not capitalizing on that segment by changing this match’s winner would be leaving money on the table. Second, there’s an obvious story that can be sold through the Four Horsewomen of wrestling (represented by Lynch) versus the Four Horsewomen of MMA (represented by Baszler). This is an easy story to tell by bringing up previous history and the fact that that Baszler’s friend Ronda Rousey was the one that lost in last year’s main event. Thirdly, one need only look at the overall presentation of all six women to see who is going to win.
Baszler has already main-evented big WWE PPVs (last year’s Survivor Series) and was runner-up in the 2020 Women’s Royal Rumble. Asuka has lost decisively to Lynch several times so a win for her here wouldn’t be that exciting to fans since their match at ‘Mania likely wouldn’t bring anything new. Natalya is the Hirooki Goto of WWE: a solid performer that chokes in the biggest matches, always the bridesmaid but never the bride. And the remaining three? One is a generic punk chick without a story, one is said punk girl’s former stablemate, and the other is also her former stablemate but is also blonde. Sadly, there has been very little in terms of build-up for these three wrestlers’ shared history, and in terms of credibility, they’re all at the bottom of the women’s division.
The only real way this match could have any true drama would be if Natalya somehow overcomes that curse she’s been carrying for years and goes on to win the match and beat Lynch at WrestleMania so that she can really have one last moment in the spotlight. But let’s be honest; there’s a better chance of Gail Kim wrestling for WWE again than Natalya winning.
Winner: Shayna Baszler
Lance: Shayna Baszler is winning this match. No need to go any more in-depth than that. I wouldn’t be surprised if she is the first one in and destroys everybody. The most predictable match of the night.
Winner: Shayna Baszler
John: I think there’s a lot of legitimacy to the reports that Vince McMahon is probably not that impressed by Shayna Baszler so far. The Survivor Series main event wasn’t very interesting and Baszler’s match with Kairi Sane last week was weak compared to what they used to do in NXT. Does that mean that WWE is going to completely sour on Baszler to the point where she doesn’t win the match? I doubt it. The only way I see it happening is if they do a story where Nia Jax returns, beats up Morgan or Logan, inserts herself into the match and wins it to make her Becky Lynch’s opponent at WrestleMania. Jax is ready to return soon after double knee surgery. I don’t expect Jax here, but I’m just throwing it out there as a possibility if WWE really doesn’t want to go with Baszler for the win.
I think there are roles of the women in the match:
* Natalya is probably there to be the glue of the match that spends the most time in the ring and works well with everybody. It’s hard to see her winning although I think she has a lot of importance in the match. I was disappointed that she barely spoke or did anything to talk about the match on Raw. They have done a poor job of building some of the non-Baszler women as threats in this match.
* The former Riott Squad trio of Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan have the history of being former allies and now they are all individuals, so I think they’ll try to get rid of eachother. I think Riott will beat Logan and then Morgan will beat Riott in what will come off as an upset.
* Asuka will likely make it into the final two of the match, likely with Baszler. It makes sense to have her get to the end since she has the most credibility as a believable character that is a threat to win any match she’s in. If they want a face in the end then it will likely be Natalya unless they go with the underdog Morgan story.
* Shayna Baszler is the obvious choice for the winner of the match. From the moment she joined Raw by biting Lynch in the neck, Baszler is the woman that has stood out as a huge threat. With better booking and feuding with a face as popular as Lynch, Baszler should be able to get plenty of heat. The creative team has to be better too. Don’t put Baszler in 14 minutes on Raw. Book her as a killer that wins in five minutes or so. You need her to come off as a star, so book her that way.
After the match, Becky Lynch will make her entrance and go into the ring for a brawl with Baszler. Lynch will stand tall to end the show.
Winner: Shayna Baszler
The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most
Alex: It’s a toss-up between either the tag team elimination chamber match and Styles vs. Black. The former is going to be crazy, especially since two of those teams (New Day & Usos) have a shared history together of doing insane things in stipulation tag matches. The latter might be the best pure wrestling match up to the ending, and if this is anything like the random Styles vs. Balor match from a few years ago, it could end up being way better expected.
Lance: Styles and Black. I think if given a good amount of time it will be the match of the night.
John: It’s Styles vs. Black for me since I’m a huge fan of both guys. As I said, if AJ is completely healthy then it should be outstanding.
The Match I Care About The Least
Alex: The Intercontinental Handicap match. This is an all-round disappointment. All four of these men should be involved in more important storylines and be doing better overall. I have no idea where their respective careers could go from here, and with WrestleMania around the corner, I can only hope that creative comes up with something worthwhile for all these talented wrestlers.
Lance: The Women’s Elimination Chamber because it’s just too predictable. It would be the equivalent of Roman Reigns being in a Men’s Elimination Chamber.
John: Braun Strowman vs. Cesaro, Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura. It has nothing to do with the talent because I like all four guys, especially the three heels. I just don’t think the booking has helped anybody here.
Alex: Women’s EC match: I get the feeling that this match will act as a sort of ‘jumper cable’ into the women’s division. There hasn’t been that much fanfare around it these past few months, especially since Charlotte’s focusing on the NXT Title. Furthermore, Vince has been rumored to have been changing his mind a lot on Baszler thus far, this will likely be her last chance to showcase her talent and prove she’s a star. For that reason alone, I anticipate a long chamber match here with Baszler lasting the longest and still winning.
Lance: I’ll go with the Tag Team Elimination Chamber match.
John: I think the men’s Tag Team Elimination Chamber match will open the show and run for over 30 minutes.
Alex: The Intercontinental handicap match. This won’t go more than ten minutes long, whereas every other match on the card definitely will. Though the trio might get some offense in, Strowman will still stand tall in the end after overcoming the odds.
Lance: Andrade vs. Carrillo.
John: Bryan vs. Gulak because I think the story should be that Bryan finds a way to beat him in under ten minutes while every other match should be longer than that.
Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)
Alex: 6 – I get the feeling that this show, while not bad, could’ve been so much more. It would’ve been way more exciting if a men’s chamber match to face Goldberg took place (even if Reigns winning were obvious, the match itself would’ve been fun to watch). At this time, there’s also a disappointing lack of other stars appearing: McIntyre, Becky, Charlotte, Cena, Wyatt, and Orton are a few of the names not being used to hype up this show. Even if one of them appeared for a promo or even a quick match to build momentum for ‘Mania, it would make the show more exciting. Alas, this is what happens whenever WWE hypes up those garbage Saudi shows at the expense of the ones in its primary market.
Lance: I’ll give it a 5. Without either of the major titles on the show, there is really no stakes at all. You have some titles up for grabs, but I don’t think there will be any title changes and I think the Women’s Elimination Chamber is predictable.
John: It’s just a 5.5 for me. As I expressed in the opening thoughts, there just aren’t a lot of quality storylines on this show. I think some of the matches could be very good or even great if they get the right amount of time and some smart booking, but it’s hard to be encouraged by some recent booking especially on the Smackdown side. Raw has been better in 2020, so that’s why I care more about their matches like Styles/Black and the Tag Team Title match. Both Chamber matches should be pretty good, but it’s not like they’re going to blow us away with things we have never seen. The quality of the matches will save it from being some all-time bad show. Let’s get past this show together and bring on WrestleMania.
John: I’ll be back with a review of WWE Elimination Chamber on TJRWrestling.net on Sunday, so check that out during the show or after it’s over.
If you want to send an email, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org as well. Thanks for reading.