Tom has some personal items to attend to right now, so for this month, we are putting our Head to Head competition on hold, and will deal with it on a month to month basis until he can return to it. For this month however, I’m very glad to welcome in my friend JonS to the Two Spot Monkeys family to sub in for Tom, and while the picks won’t count towards the competition, we wanted to be sure to still give you a “point/counter point” style look at this weekend’s Elimination Chamber Pay Per View coming from WWE, so without any further ado, let’s get to it!
Brodus Clay & Tensai vs. Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow
Jim: I personally LOVE the Clay/Tensai team, it gives them both something to do, and eventually they could turn heel and be an absolute monster tag team just tearing stuff up (which is what those two guys should be doing anyways). So, count me in the corner of loving the Funkasaurus & Tensai combination. Rhodes Scholars shouldn’t have broken up as quickly as they did, unless they actually have a plan for either Sandow or Rhodes, and right now, it sure doesn’t seem like they do. While I think there is money to be made in them as a tag team, that isn’t where WWE is headed, so Tensai & Clay get the win here to solidify them in the tag team ranks.
Jon: I’m also happy that Tensai looks to be getting another chance thanks to this tag team. I follow New Japan Pro Wrestling and they do a fantastic job of helping wrestlers improve. Such was the case with Tensai who became a really solid worker during his time there. It’s a shame he hasn’t had much opportunity to show that yet since his return to WWE. This new tag team with Clay could be a vehicle for him to get more on air time. I also agree with Jim that it seems short sighted to split Rhodes Scholars without a plan for them in the singles ranks. Tensai & Clay win this one.
Divas Title Match
Kaitlyn (C vs. Tamina Snuka
Jim: Not alot to say here as there hasn’t been a ton of build...Tamina’s time is not now, they need to build Kaitlyn, so Kaitlyn gets the win here.
Jon: The state of the Divas division is as weak as I can remember. Kaitlyn has shown some potential but apart from Natalya there’s no one there to help her harness it right now. For some reason they just don’t want to use Natalya, so Tamina is the best choice from those remaining to try to have a good match with Kaitlyn. The champ retains.
US Title Match
Antonio Cesaro (C) vs. The Miz
Jon: I think WWE would like Miz to be a pretty prominent guy with them giving him Flair’s figure four and featuring him as they have done recently. However he doesn’t seem to be catching on with the live crowds. Couple that with the push Cesaro is getting and I think he retains here. I see the moment to end Cesaro’s reign being at Wrestlemania to try to make it a big deal.
Six Man Tag Team Match
John Cena, Ryback & Sheamus vs. The Shield
Jim: The Shield get another six man opportunity on PPV here, and it’s against three of the top faces in the company right now, so I love that they get the chance to get in there and mix it up with these three. To me, the worst thing that they could do (again) is have The Shield lose clean here, because then they’d show that (A) the only way The Shield can win a match is in a no rules environment like TLC, and (B) while they can beat Ryback and Team Hell No, they can’t beat a team captained by the mighty Super Hero, John Cena! That being said, you’ve got three guys on the one side (Cena’s) who will all likely have very featured matches at Mania...and The Shield who probably will be in a six man (maybe against Ryback and someone else? Or not at all, which would be a shame. I could go two ways with this, either The Shield pinning Ryback (if a Mania match is coming), or Super Cena and company hitting their finishers at the same time and beating The Shield. Well, I have to make a pick, and I REALLY hope I’m wrong, but I’m going with Cena, Sheamus & Ryback.
Jon: Having The Shield win this one and in the process playing into an angle of Cena having doubts going in to his rematch with Rock would be a hell of a story. However that’s not how WWE generally does things. I think WWE will want both Cena and Rock looking as strong as possible going into their rematch. The story here seems a tried and tested WWE formula. The bad guys look strong for a long time and don’t get their comeuppance until the pay off. This is the pay off. I expect Cena’s team to win.
World Heavyweight Title Match
Alberto Del Rio (C) vs. The Big Show
Jim: This is another one that could go either way. Originally I’d heard Sheamus vs. Randy Orton for the title at Mania, but if they are going to do that, they’ll have to get the title off of Del Rio quickly after this PPV. I’m enjoying Del Rio as champion though, as I think he’s got some Eddie Guerrero in him. So, I hope they stay with Del Rio here, Show can find something to do at Mania without the World Title (I hope). Alot of this depends on where they are going for Mania, as I don’t feel like the World Heavyweight Title picture has a clear Wrestlemania match in it (which is just fine with me, I don’t need to know everything ahead of time all the time!). So, I’m going to go with Del Rio winning here and hopefully heading to Wrestlemania as champion, I think he’s earned that right after missing Wrestlemania last year due to injury.
Jon: I feel much the same way as Jim on this one. I’ve enjoyed Del Rio (and Ricardo) for some time and unlike Miz he really has established a good connection with the fans since his turn. It’s hard to know where we’re headed with this title, so I’m just going to look at the situation between Del Rio and Show and predict that Del Rio retains.
Elimination Chamber Match - Winner gets World Heavyweight Title Match at Wrestlemania
Randy Orton vs. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry vs. Chris Jericho vs. Jack Swagger
Jim: Much like the World Title match, this one could go a few different ways. First off, no way in heck Kane or Daniel Bryan win it, as I’m predicting we’ll get Kane vs. Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania to “settle their differences”. Maybe even with the stipulation that the winner gets to pick a new partner to be tag champs with (I hope not, but it wouldn't shock me). I don’t think Jericho wins either, as I see he and Dolph Ziggler tearing down the house at Mania (perhaps just before Ziggler finally cashes in the Money in the Bank briefcase). Either Orton or Henry could win, but if they do find a way to get to Sheamus vs. Orton (for any reason), that’s would be out, and I think Henry might work Ryback at Mania if Ryback isn’t programmed with the Shield...so, that would leave Jack Swagger. Now, I do think it could be too soon to go there, but with Zeb Coulter debuting with his paranoid Tea Party character on Raw this week, an obvious Swagger/Del Rio showdown could be on the horizon. I think they should build to that though, because Swagger was such a joke of a character when he left WWE that it will take time to rebuild him (though I think they are off to a nice start on that front). So, I’m really torn on this one. I’d love Swagger getting the win, I’d love Swagger/Del Rio (even if it’s too soon)....but, I just keep thinking Orton wins here, and maybe everything I’ve said goes out the window and we get Orton/Del Rio at Mania, and maybe Sheamus gets Swagger? I really have no clue. So...I’m going with Randy Orton, and I’m not really sure why. (It could be a good thing that Tom and I’s bet is off for this month, I could get slaughtered....)
Jon: This one is tricky on paper. Again I agree with Jim that Kane and Bryan can be counted out. They could have Jericho win this and go on to take the title into what seems like an inevitable match/feud between him and Ziggler. Speaking of which, Ziggler not having a match on this PPV makes me wonder if he’s going to cash in MITB on this show. I hope not as I’d really love to see Ziggler cash his MITB shot in at Wrestlemania to give that moment the maximum impact it can possibly have. Ziggler really deserves it. Anyway, I digress. I think it’s too soon for Swagger or Henry to go into a title match at Wrestlemania, although I must admit I’m not sure about that. I’m really glad to see Jack Swagger back with a new push, though I wish it wasn’t with a racist manager gimmick. Swagger has a lot to offer WWE and they dropped the ball with him after his first title run. So I’m left with Jericho or Randy Orton. I'm picking Orton. He was said to be in the original plans for the Mania match and he still gets one of the top 5 reactions from crowds. Orton has been in the office’s bad books since his second Wellness violation and there are rumours about him leaving when his contract expires after Mania, so I do have some doubts about my pick here.
WWE Title Match
The Rock (C) vs. CM Punk
Jim: Here’s one I’m fairly certain of. While there is a small part of me that says Punk could win it back, especially if Undertaker can’t go at Wrestlemania, and then have Rock vs. Cena vs. Punk at Mania...I think the Deadman will go at Mania (even if it’s in a Punk/Lesnar vs. Taker/HHH tag match) and we get Rock vs. Cena 2 for the WWE Title at Mania. I know some people hate Rock having the title, but I’m not one of them, I’m fine with a short run. And I think it ends at Wrestlemania, but that’s another story for next month. For this month, I’m 100% sold on Rock keeping the title and going off the air as WWE Champion, likely face to face with John Cena.
Jon: I’m also fine with The Rock having a short run with the belt until Mania. His promos haven’t exactly set the world on fire since his return, but he’s already boosted ratings and I’m sure he’ll boost PPV buys again. I just hope Undertaker will be ready for Mania so Punk gets to do a program with him for the streak. I think at this stage Punk is in a great spot to seem like a genuine threat to the streak to most fans, even though I don’t expect him to end it. The last match between Punk and Rock at the Rumble was a really good one. Rock sold superbly for Punk and everything they did made sense. Even the interference made sense. I hope the two of them can match that performance, or even better it. Rock has to win this one.