WWE has brought out the muscle for the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. The card is stacked at the top, and a strong undercard has the potential to make this one of the strongest shows this year.
Even if the event plays out like nothing more than a transitional show, designed to get all the balls in the air for WrestleMania, that doesn't mean it can't be an entertaining pay-per-view.
As we look over the entire card that has been announced so far--you never know if WWE will throw in a surprise on the day of the show--here is our official power ranking for all six matches on the main card.
No. 6 Divas Championship: Kaitlyn (c) vs. Tamina Snuka
Tamina Snuka is the best female wrestler in WWE right now, with the possible exception of Natalya, and she should win the championship here. It will be short and, assuming Kaitlyn doesn't get too much to do, relatively painless.
No. 5 United States Championship: Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. The Miz
Getting Cesaro on the pay-per-view is noteworthy just because he is someone who deserves more airtime and a bigger spotlight. But it will take time for the audience to gravitate towards him because he goes about his business methodically and not in grandiose fashion.
The Miz is still a babyface and not very good in the role. I understand why he made the turn, but that doesn't mean it has been executed in a good way.
No. 4 World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Big Show
WWE has a big problem with Alberto Del Rio right now. He is supposed to be a babyface, but his act panders to such a small section of the audience, who likely doesn't want to embrace him anyway, that no one reacts to anything he does.
Big Show is always great as a heel, even though he is the de facto babyface in this match because no one cares about Del Rio. I don't see this being a good title match, but I like to think that Dolph Ziggler will cash in the briefcase now and make it memorable.
No. 3 The Shield vs. John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus
This might be the match I am most anticipating, just because I can see it going in either direction.
WWE wants to get The Shield over as a strong faction or is at least acting like that's the case on television. We have seen this happen in the past, only to have the rug pulled out from under us with no warning at all.
The only way to make The Shield look formidable is to have them go over in their first major pay-per-view match (I am not counting TLC, since this match is obviously bigger on star power).
However, anytime John Cena is on the other side of the ring, you have to think WWE is going to do all it can to protect him. It would actually make sense this time because he is going into WrestleMania challenging for the championship.
One of the benefits of this being a six-man tag is that Cena can lose the match without being pinned. I am excited to see how the whole thing plays out, regardless of who wins.
Winner gets world heavyweight title shot at WrestleMania.
I like that, instead of having the championship contested in the Chamber, WWE is providing a WrestleMania incentive to the winner of this year's match.
Looking over the participants, I can only make a real case for Chris Jericho or Randy Orton. Jack Swagger is still too low on the totem pole, but he will work hard to elevate the quality of the match.
Daniel Bryan and Kane are just two bodies in the match, though Bryan will also make it better to watch because he is that good in the ring. Henry is a wild card, but I don't suspect WWE wants him in a title match at WrestleMania.
If my scenario from earlier—Ziggler cashing in the briefcase to win the world title—happens, it would make sense that Jericho wins this match.
Orton really hasn't been doing anything that would make you think he belongs in the world title picture right now. But he is still one of the biggest stars in the company, and Vince McMahon may want to get him in a high-profile match.
No. 1 WWE Championship: The Rock (c) vs. CM Punk
When you get right down to it, everything that WWE is setting up for WrestleMania starts with the outcome of the match between The Rock and CM Punk for the WWE championship.
We can all easily surmize where things are headed, with Rock and Cena in the main event of WrestleMania 29, but it will be interesting to see just how we get there.
Last month at the Royal Rumble, Punk did technically beat Rock, though it was not without some interference from The Shield after the arena lights went out. Now, for some reason, Rock can't get disqualified or counted out without losing the title.
That does set up a number of possibilities, like someone interfering on Punk's behalf only to attack him and get Rock disqualified. Trying that could lead to some contrivances and audience confusion, but it would fit in with the stipulation of the match.
Rock should come out on top in this match because it makes no sense to have him win the title three weeks ago only to give it right back and have to win it again to set up the WrestleMania match with Cena.
Regardless of how things end, this is the biggest match on the show and should turn out to be the one that we remember when we look back on it at the end of the year.
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