Who do we think could join the field of competitors in the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship?
On Tuesday’s episode of WWE SmackDown, Shane McMahon announced that the main event of February’s Elimination Chamber would feature a WWE Championship match. However, this would be inside the chamber, a structure that hasn’t been used since the 2015 version of this branded show. Even before that, the World title had not been defended in this since 2014.
McMahon wouldn’t announce the six competitors for the Elimination Chamber, and didn’t really tease who could be added to the mix. However, given the stage that several SmackDown Superstars are at, there may be enough room to predict the competitors that will be involved in this match on the 12th.
Before we get there, John Cena and AJ Styles will battle in the WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. The Elimination Chamber announcement gives this bout a bit more intrigue, especially since the winner will have to fend off five other competitors. Then that winner will move onto WrestleMania 33 for a title defense.
With the chamber already less than one month away, the field of competitors could be set soon. Who do we think are early candidates to wrestle in this match, though?
AJ Styles is probably the most obvious choice to be part of the Elimination Chamber 2017 field. He’s held the WWE Championship since September, has made it through multiple title defenses, and is heading into the Royal Rumble to face John Cena for the belt.
Whether or not Styles retains in less than two weeks, his inclusion in the chamber is pretty much a foregone conclusion. He’s the top heel on SmackDown Live and belongs in the title picture for as long as WWE can find a way to keep him in it. This could even be deemed a rematch for the Phenomenal One if he loses at the Royal Rumble.
If Styles walks into this match without the WWE Championship, chances are that he won’t leave with the belt in hand. Despite other titles being flip-flopped for the past few months, the most prestigious title in the company is one that WWE doesn’t seem to mess around with. So, fans expecting that the former NJPW star wins back the title may be disappointed. However, he may not even lose it at the Rumble and could always walk out of the Elimination Chamber victoriously.
The next most obvious candidate for this Elimination Chamber match is John Cena. He is the other Superstar involved in the WWE Championship bout at the Royal Rumble.
Not having Cena involved in this would be quite the surprise. With six spots available, along with a spot at WrestleMania 33 likely on the line, why wouldn’t the Face That Runs the Place be in the mix? He’s still the biggest name SmackDown has, especially for the amount of babyfaces they have (very few).
It’s possible Cena walks into the WWE Championship match with the belt. The Alamodome in San Antonio, TX could be the place where he ties Ric Flair with 16 World championship reigns. This would make for a historic moment on a show that WWE has always pushed as a major one, so why not go through with it? Then the 17th win can be saved for the biggest show, WrestleMania.
Whether or not he wins at the Rumble, expect Cena to be involved in the Elimination Chamber match in less than a month. It may very well be him defending too.
After AJ Styles and John Cena, the field gets interesting for the Elimination Chamber match. There are a handful of young Superstars and others who haven’t received their opportunity get a spot. One of them could be Baron Corbin.
Arguably one of the biggest beneficiaries of the brand split, Corbin has been steadily pushed into the upper-end of SmackDown. Granted, he took a clean loss to Cena, but that shouldn’t deter him much. A plan needs to be in place, though, which could be putting the Lone Wolf into the Elimination Chamber and giving him a World title shot.
There may not be a great chance of Corbin walking out with a win, especially with Cena and Styles involved. This potentially goes for the other three in this match too. However, he should be able to make some noise in the main event match on February 12 and prove why he’s one of the rising stars in the WWE.
The inclusion with Cena, Styles, and other soon-to-be-named talents will give Corbin more credibility. This could advance him to a noteworthy match at WrestleMania 33 and continue his ascension up the roster.
Dolph Ziggler lost a lot in 2016, which is an understatement. He fell in big-time title matches, TV show bouts, and in just about every opportunity he received. This stalled for a brief time when the Showoff saved his career at No Mercy by winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship. But he lost the belt just one month later.
Following this, Ziggler would continue to lose matches and eventually snap. He became SmackDown’s latest heel, adding to the likes of AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, the Miz, the Wyatt Family, and others. This push up the ladder should lead to Ziggler getting a spot in the World title match at the Elimination Chamber.
Like Corbin, Ziggler probably doesn’t stand a chance at walking out with the title, barring a surprise. This is especially after his segment with Jerry “The King” Lawler, which teased a program between the two for the upcoming months. If these two are tied up with each other, then the former World Heavyweight Champion will likely not be getting a title match at WrestleMania 33.
Despite all this, Ziggler is a good bet to be in the Elimination Chamber match. If not, he’ll be featured somewhere else on the show.
Randy Orton probably isn’t a surprise to be featured in the Elimination Chamber match, as he remains one of SmackDown’s top names. Given the arc he’s on with the Wyatt Family, his spot in this bout could become guaranteed.
Orton, Bray Wyatt, and Luke Harper have been teased to be nearing an implosion. This is mostly due to the Viper and Harper’s tensions, which have become more apparent than ever these past few weeks. Their match on January 24 could lead to things being eased within the Wyatt Family, but that doesn’t seem likely if Wyatt and Orton are headed to a WrestleMania match.
It should be noted that all three members are in the Royal Rumble match, which could further tease the direction that these three are going in. Could Orton and Wyatt eliminate one another to try to get to the WWE Championship match at WrestleMania 33?
Expect the Apex Predator to make his way into the Elimination Chamber match, which could further set up him and the Eater of Worlds on April 2. It would mark the culmination of events that began last fall.
Given how Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt are in the same faction, the reasoning for the former stands similar to the leader of the faction. However, for Wyatt’s inclusion in the Elimination Chamber match, some parts of this are different.
It’s not often that Wyatt receives a WWE Championship match, unlike Orton and his consistent presence around the title until 2015. The opportunity to receive a noteworthy matchup for a title at WrestleMania would be the biggest thing that the former NXT reality show star has done. It would go beyond the match with the Undertaker, which Wyatt had to build up on WWE TV by himself, only to eventually lose at Levi’s Stadium.
This time around, Wyatt is more established and has similar momentum to what he had during the early days of the Wyatt Family. He rarely, if ever takes pinfall losses and had strong showings at both No Mercy and Survivor Series. WWE even put the SmackDown Tag Team Championship on him, marking his first title reign under the Bray Wyatt persona.