Welcome, welcome, one and all, as The Chief tries to be Brief about the state of WWE in our Post-Payback, pre-Elimination Chamber world. The last few days of wrestling will likely spark a number of articles on NAI (I hope you’re all prepping your Fan Friday work, NAIbors!), so rather than clog your timelines with multiple columns, let’s try to get through as much as possible in a (relatively) short amount of space.
Stardust suffered losses in back to back nights, being pinned by R-Truth on the Payback pre-show and a quick fall to Dolph Ziggler last night on RAW. The most important event, however, was pretty much overlooked, and it shouldn’t have been.
After losing to Truth on Sunday, we saw an obviously frustrated person sitting against the ring apron. The crazy look in the eyes was gone, as was a good portion of face paint. For the first time in months, it seemed like Cody Rhodes was back. Remember, the entire Stardust gimmick was Cody’s reaction to a losing streak, and now he’s going through it again - Why shouldn’t he switch back?. I expect we’ll see Rhodes return sometime soon.
I don’t remember the specific NAIbor who said this yesterday, but I would have flipped my lid if “Dashing” Cody Rhodes had answered the John Cena Open challenge. Of course, I don’t think anyone expected the challenger to be who he was.
We’ve seen stars like Neville and Sami Zayn come up to WWE and impress us with their athleticism, but I don’t think we’ve EVER seen anyone make their “major league” debut and put on a verbal clinic like Kevin Owens did. By the end of that segment, Owens and Cena seemed like one of the biggest feuds of the last few years, and that was only after 5 or so minutes of them being face to face!
I Tweeted something like this watching this morning, but it bears repeating. If you were to make a list of the best heels in WWE right now, doesn’t Kevin Owens make the top 5, and we’re less than 24 hours from his debut. This is crazy.
If Sami Zayn isn’t physically capable of wrestling Wednesday night at Takeover, shouldn’t Owens just lay the belt down in the middle of the ring and walk away? He proved he can stand toe-to-toe with the biggest of boys and not flinch, what’s the purpose of him being in NXT? Let him cut a scathing, self-promoting promo and walk out of Full Sail as an unbeaten champion.
We have a small, but growing number of NXT superstars who are too polished for true developmental. Neville needed the time to develop some semblance of promo skills, Owens, Zayn and (hopefully) Samoa Joe do not. These guys need to be fast-tracked to WWE, just like top baseball prospects can leapfrog AAA and go straight to the Majors.
There’s a lot of confusion and skepticism surrounding the tag team Chamber match, especially now that it was announced there will be 6 teams involved. A whole lot of people seem to think it will be physically impossible to fit 2 men inside each of those pods, and others believe there will be too many men in the ring at one time to keep track of the action. I give a whole lot more credence to the second concern than the first - Of Course WWE will arrange it so that the pods will comfortably fit 2 men. Having issues with this match simply because of that is ridiculous.
As for the potential chaos that will come out of a 12 man match. . . OK, that’s something to be wary of. I’ve seen far too many crappy battle royals to discount that potential outcome. However, let’s remember that the pods open every 5 minutes, which means that we could see pinfalls during the interim period which will make things a lot less messy.
This could be the potential benefit of having such a giant gap in the tiers of talent in this match. If Los Matadores were to start against New Day, for example, I have to believe that Big E and Kofi could take out the bullfighters within 2-3 minutes, giving them plenty of time to taunt the teams in the pods before the first one opens.
It all boils down to faith, my friends. Do you have faith in WWE to produce an entertaining and easy-to-watch matchup? Based on the last few weeks of WWE programming, I would hope your faith would be higher than it has been of late, as the company seems to be on fire right now.
I have 2 problems with the tag Chamber match, and it all comes down to personalities.
First, the Chamber potentially eliminates the best part of New Day, Xavier Woods. There won’t be a ringside for him to be at, since the Chamber will surround it. I’m hoping we see him join the announce booth for this match, otherwise he’s going to have to be like Spider-Man, scaling the cage, shouting his commentary, which has been golden thus far.
My second issue involves the team that is NOT involved, and no, I’m not talking about the Meta-Powers. Why in the world aren’t Luke Harper and Erick Rowan part of this match? Sure, they’ve only had one tag match since their reunion, but that still puts them ahead of some of these other teams. We’re going to have Matadors but not HarpRow? Seriously?
Prediction Harper and Rowan take out either the Matadors or The Ascension, taking their spots in the Chamber.
I was confused as all get out to see the participants listed for the Intercontinental Chamber match. Ziggler, King Boom and Sheamus, I got. I’m even a fan of Rusev being involved, as it gives his character something to do, both in terms of fighting Ziggler (that whole Lana thing was weird, wasn’t it?) and battling for the IC title, since ideally Cena will be busy with Owens for a bit.
But R-Truth and Ryback? Why in the world are they in the chamber match? For starters, as the man who beat Ryback on Sunday, shouldn’t Bray Wyatt be involved instead? What about Roman Reigns? Cod-Dust? Where in the world is Neville?
I fail to see the reasoning for either of these decisions. At this point, I’m beginning to think Vince owes Ron Killings money or something, because Truth keeps getting placed in these matches with no rationale at all. Can anyone explain it?
As I said before, WWE has been doing an excellent job over the last few weeks. Last night alone, they took us out of Payback and immediately built us up for the Elimination Chamber, in just 13 days. This next PPV (not counting NXT Takeover, which is always must watch) is now must-see Network stuff, on par with any of the PPV’s WWE has done this year.
I’m getting the impression that the powers-that-be, whomever they are right now, are silently telling us one thing - #GiveWWEAChance. For those of us who have, its been a very enjoyable ride these last few months.
What do YOU think? Thoughts on the Chamber matches? Best parts of Payback / RAW? Be Heard.