Craig Wilson and Brian Damage
Welcome to the sixth edition of This Week in Wrestling in 2017. Today, Craig previews tomorrow night’s Elimination Chamber event while Brian shares some of the most interesting pictures and videos he’s stumbled upon over the last seven days.
Elimination Chamber Preview
It has certainly come around quickly but tonight the WWE, specifically the Smackdown brand, will host Elimination Chamber.
At the top of the card, John Cena will make his first ppv defence of the title he won at the Royal Rumble to become sixteen-time world champion. The belt will be on the line in the Elimination Chamber against Bray Wyatt, AJ Styles, The Miz, Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin. It is expected that Bray will win the strap and head to WrestleMania against Randy Orton, with a babyface turn expected from the Viper in the meantime.
Sticking with Orton, tomorrow night it’ll be another wrestler with links to the Wyatt Family, it’s alumni Luke Harper, that he’ll have to contend with. The recently turned babyface Harper has sided with Cena in recent weeks and aided the champion in defeating Orton this past week on SmackDown. I’d be absolutely staggered if this wasn’t a fairly straightforward win for Orton as he continues his road to WrestleMania.
We’ll also be treated to three woman’s matches on the show. The first will see Nikki Bella carry on her feud, and hopefully end it, against Natalya. This one has been bubbling away since Survivor Series, when Nikki was injured pre-match and replaced by the Hart Dungeon graduate. Expectations point towards a retirement soon for Nikki and I’d expect her to defeat Natalya here.
After several loses to Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch has been moved out of the title picture for the time being and tomorrow night will face off against the recently returned Mickie James. I’m a big fan of Lynch and think she can only benefit, short-term, from a programme with James. I expect a good match and a win for James and that return to winning ways should see her back challenging for the women’s title soon.
As for the champion, Alexa Bliss, with Lynch momentarily out of the picture, she will will defend her title against the brightly coloured Naomi. With no respect intended against her, there is little or no chance of her winning the title here.
Another feud that’s been bubbling away for several months now involves Dolph Ziggler, Kalisto and Apollo Crews. It started when Crews took exception to Ziggler’s behaviour towards Kalisto and tomorrow night we’ll see the two team up to battle Ziggler in a a handicap match. You’d expect Ziggler to pick up the win here and, sadly, probably continue a programme with Crews.
The smackdown team continue to book the tag division as they know how by having all six teams in the match. After Tuesday’s twelve man tag match, tomorrow night American Alpha will instead come up against Heath Slater and Rhyno, The Vaudevillains, The Usos, The Ascension and Breezango. Whilst you can ask questions about how poorly the company books its tag division on a Tuesday night, it’s near impossible to question the decision of who the tag champions are and I can’t see their reign ending any time soon, so expect them to retain here. What is needed is for a heel team here to be heated up. The Ascension picked up the win in the twelve-man tag on Tuesday but don’t expect that to translate to a win tomorrow or even a push for the duo.
Finally, in the pre-show match, Curt Hawkins will face off against Mojo Rawley. I feel immensely sorry for Rawley who was onto such a good thing with the Hype Bros until Zack Ryder’s injury robbed the duo of their chance at a title shot. In fact, there’s every chance that the team would have been champions by now or, at the very least, challenging for the tag gold at Elimination Chamber. Instead, Rawley is battling perennial jobber Curt Hawkins in a pre-show match only the diehards are likely to even see. Expect a quick win as Rawley continues to count the days until his partner makes his in-ring return.
As ever with a smackdown ppv, this should be pretty good. Some of the matches might, on paper, feel lacking in terms of build-up. But should still deliver on the night. The tag titles match will either be a masterpiece or a mess whilst most eyes will likely be on the Elimination Chamber. Will the WWE put the gold on Wyatt? We’ll find out tomorrow.
Sika, Hulk Hogan and a very young big dog…
If the WWE had their own version of the Village People…
William Moody, aka Percy Pringle aka Paul Bearer, when he briefly wrestled in a tag team known as the Embalmers.
A very young Tyson Kidd and Harry Smith as amateur wrestlers in grade school…
Nothing to see here, just Tiger Mask coming out of the subway.
Take a look at this Paul Bearer tattoo…
Apparently there are still a bunch of old XFL equipment still in stock at the WWE’s warehouse.
In case you were wondering, Jimmy Wang Yang now coach’s a girl’s basketball team. Leave it to Yang to take a wrestling-esque cool pic. Yang is on the far right.
A very cool pic of the late, great Bruiser Brody in Puerto Rico. The place where he was murdered…
For all of you who saw New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom 11, you obviously took notice of the Bullet Club’s Bullet Bunny. Her name is Pieter and she is a model/dancer who is of Japanese and Hispanic descent.
Suddenly Cesaro has video game powers!
Here’s an old commercial advertising the WWF’s album…
Last Week on the Blog
In last week’s Sunday Sermon we asked if Randy Orton was the right pick for the Royal Rumble; on Monday we had pt.5 of ‘Meanwhile, in WCW‘; on Tuesday we had part 101 of ‘Wrestling with Sin‘; on Wednesday we had pt. 1 of our look at the history of the Intercontinental title; Thursday’s Top Five featured PPVs that should be scrapped and we rounded off the week by looking at Tom Magee.
Next Week on the Blog
Tomorrow’s Sunday Sermon looks at the brand split six months on; have the latest ‘Wrestling with Sin‘, the next look at WCW in 1997, the next part of our history of the Intercontinental title and more.
All previous ‘This Week in Wrestling’ pieces can be read here.