One of the top stories this week has been the announcement of the return of the Elimination Chamber as a pay per view at the end of May. This came out of nowhere, but the even bigger surprise was the announcement that the two Chamber matches would be for the Intercontinental and Tag Team Titles. While this is a surprise, it’s a very welcome one. Let’s take a look at how this is different and why it’s a good thing.
Over the last 12 and a half years, there have been seventeen Elimination Chamber matches. Save for one of them (for the ECW Title at an ECW pay per view), every match has been for a World Title or a future shot at a World Title. Over all those years, the Chamber has been connected to nothing but the top belts in the company. Why is that the case? Is there some rule that says it can only be for the World Title?
Instead, we’re getting a combination of two different things at the upcoming pay per view. Rather than having a match or two for a World Title or two, we’re getting a blend of a singles title being decided and the Tag Team Titles being defended. Now, why is this a good thing and a very welcome change of pace?
More importantly than anything else, the timing makes sense. Notice what I said there: timing. These matches are happening because it makes sense for them to be happening right now. We aren’t getting these matches because it’s February. We’re getting these matches because it makes sense given what is going on in WWE at the moment (which to be fair is partially that the Network needs more subscribers but that’s a different story for another time).
Up first, we have an Elimination Chamber match for the vacant Intercontinental Title. It’s a logical move as there’s a title up for grabs and the WWE suddenly has a deep midcard. Instead of having yet another tournament (especially in the same month as King of the Ring) or yet another triple threat match (since we can barely go a month without having one), why not do something interesting and never done before? There’s a fairly strong set of competitors to throw inside the Chamber, especially if you they mix things up for a change.
Now let’s move on to a completely different kind of animal that the WWE has issues capitalizing on: the hot act. After completely floundering for their first few weeks of existence, the New Day has caught fire and is one of the most consistently entertaining acts on the show. They’ve gone from coming out to crickets to the fans chanting NEW DAY SUCKS with pure glee every time they come out.
At the same time you have the key to a hot act: a more talented team chasing them who think they deserve the belts. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro have gone from a team thrown together for a lack of anything else to do and now they’ve become one of the most popular and polished teams in a very long time. You couple that with the New Day and suddenly we have probably the best feud going in WWE today.
Also at the same time, we have the new Mega Powers, Ascension, the Prime Time Players, Los Matadores, the Lucha Dragons and the reunited Wyatt Family. With such a variety of teams to pick from, why not throw another one (or perhaps three. It’s not clear yet) inside the Chamber along with the New Day and Kidd/Cesaro? Again, this is something that hasn’t been done before but maybe it could turn out to be something worth doing in the future if the opportunity ever presents itself again.
That’s a word that needs some more focus here: opportunity. Instead of the usual spinning wheel format the tag division usually gets (challengers beat the champions to get in the title hunt, have a few title matches on pay per view, eventually do the title change), we’re getting a fresh idea.
No, the Tag Team Titles aren’t going to regularly be the main event of a pay per view or the semi main event of a pay per view, but what about throwing something out there every now and then? The New Day and Kidd/Cesaro have worked hard to get where they are and now they’re getting a chance to show off what they can do. Right now, what sounds more appealing to you as the headliner of this show: the Elimination Chamber for the Tag Team Titles or Kane vs. Seth Rollins for the World Title? Give the hot acts an opportunity and see where they can go.
Speaking of that, let’s look down at NXT to see what else could happen with this. Recently, an NXT house show was headlined by Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch. I saw the card, saw the main event, didn’t think much of it, then came back to it when I realized a women’s match had headlined a show. In today’s world, that’s several steps beyond rare and into the unheard of territory.
Going back in time, women haven’t headlined a lot of WWE shows. You have Lita vs. Trish Stratus for the Women’s Title on “Monday Night Raw” on December 6, 2004. Think about that. In over ten years, the Women’s Title has been the featured match once. Keep the word featured in mind. There’s a difference between the Divas going on last followed by some big segment and what Stratus and Lita did, with the entire show being built up to their showdown over a year in the making.
Before that, to the best of my knowledge, the previous time any women headlined a show would have been the “Brawl To End It All” back in 1984. In other words, women have headlined a major show (if you consider an episode of “Monday Night Raw” a major show) twice in just over 20 years. This brings me to my next question: why not have the NXT Women’s Title headline a “Takeover?”
Is it really that far out of the realm of possibility? The Women’s Title matches have been some of the best received and most consistently entertaining matches on all of the “Takeovers” so far and the division has been treated as something just as serious as any other match in NXT. The NXT Title has headlined the first five “Takeovers” and it’s probably going to headline the sixth. It’s very clear that these specials are extremely popular and have earned the benefit of the doubt, so why not roll the dice on one of them and try to make it something different?
At the moment, Bayley is in a feud with Emma over whether or not Bayley should give up on the fans before the real world eats her alive, just like it did to Emma. Assuming Bayley takes care of Emma soon down the line and starts getting back in the hunt for the Women’s Title, what about letting her chase it all the way to “Takeover?” Say in her one last shot at the Women’s Title? Bayley is probably the most popular female wrestler in NXT. Imagine the reaction if she were to hit a Belly to Bayley and finally win the Women’s Title?
I’m not saying Bayley, the New Day and the next Intercontinental Champion are going to be headlining “Wrestlemania” for years to come, but why not let them out there on top of a low level show and see what they can do? Maybe you’ll find someone who is ready to handle something bigger than they’re being given instead of having to bring them in and take all the time to build them from the ground up. You know, like developmental is supposed to do. Give them an opportunity and see what they’re capable of doing because that’s how the biggest stars are made.
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