Rather than doing my standard “top stars” style article, I figured I would focus this month’s pay-per-view predictions post specifically on the six men involved in the WWE Championship match at this year’s Elimination Chamber and rank them in the order I think their chances are for winning what could be one of the most important matches of the entire year in the company.
At the moment, I think there’s a clear and obvious winner being set up, but what’s the fun in just pointing out how [redacted for spoilers] will come out on top? Let’s examine everybody’s contributions to the match and how things could pan out instead!
6. Baron Corbin
I don’t see a ton of support for Baron Corbin on a regular basis, let alone in a situation where he could potentially win the WWE Championship and be in one of the main events of WrestleMania.
From my point of view, Corbin actually deserves more credit than he gets. Sure, he’s no Shawn Michaels in the ring, nor is he the next Dwayne Johnson on the mic, but he hasn’t been in the game all that long and he’s progressed to a point where I find him to be a very believable Intercontinental or United States champion. That’s the level I see him competing at for WrestleMania: fighting Dean Ambrose in what now seems to be an obligatory ladder match for the midcard title.
With all that in mind, I’d have to think Corbin’s chances to win this are slim to none. He could definitely perform well and get a solid elimination or two so he can look strong, but he’s not going to be in the final two, nor will he be the winner who is holding the belt when all things are said and done. Look out for him to take Ambrose out of the equation and then be eliminated by John Cena.
5. Dean Ambrose
In many ways, holding a championship is the best sign that you’re not going to be winning a particular match. So long as your title isn’t the one on the line, you have every reason to lose in WWE’s mind because 1) your credibility will be okay because you’ll still have a title to your name, 2) they don’t like to have people hold two titles all that often, 3) if you have a championship you can defend in another match, then they’re probably going to book you to do that rather than to fight for a different belt or just ignore one of those belts. It does happen from time to time, but it’s a rarity.
Dean Ambrose has a better chance to win this match than Baron Corbin simply because he has made it to the summit of the mountain before. Once you’ve pulled off a world championship, WWE is much more likely to give you another one than they would give someone new a chance, unless you’ve messed up so bad that their faith in you is shattered. From what we’ve been told on various dirt sheets, Ambrose didn’t have the most amount of support as WWE champion, but he does still have his fans behind the scenes who specifically gave him the Intercontinental Championship as a consolation prize in the hopes that he would do better with that belt.
That is where Ambrose will be hovering come WrestleMania, possibly facing Baron Corbin in a solo match or in that aforementioned ladder match which would include Dolph Ziggler, Apollo Crews, Kalisto, and maybe The Miz, so he won’t be winning the WWE Championship.
4. The Miz
Speak of the devil, The Miz has been doing such a fantastic job on SmackDown since the brand split was reintroduced that it would be a shame if he didn’t get rewarded for all his efforts. Sadly, I expect that to be the case as he will be overlooked in favor of people like Goldberg and Brock Lesnar. It’s a story we’ve heard a million times in the past, where the workhorses throughout the entire year that keep the company afloat don’t really amount to much around WrestleMania if WWE can get a bigger star to swoop in to take all the glory.
Admittedly, as much of a fan of The Miz as I am, even I can’t call him the top heel in the match. It’s arguable he’s not even in second place as both AJ Styles and Bray Wyatt have better chances to succeed here than he does. His strengths are in shining a spotlight on the midcard rather than getting lost in the shuffle of the main event, so I think he’ll be staying right around that range. It’s possible The Miz is the first person eliminated in this match to give Ambrose somebody to pin.
3. AJ Styles
I sincerely hope this isn’t a case where WWE is still “testing” AJ Styles out and making him pay his dues before getting a better spot at WrestleMania, as by now, you’d think he would have earned it. The guy has been…well…phenomenal for the past year and after losing his first WrestleMania match, he deserves to not only get a win this year, but to be in a high-profile feud.
If that were built into the blueprints, though, I think we would have seen him retain the WWE Championship and a different Royal Rumble winner chosen to headline WrestleMania against him. Several months ago, I thought it would be Cena winning that title shot and getting his 16th world title by finally beating Styles at the grandest stage of them all, so when they jumped the gun, I knew it was going to be a rough February for The Phenomenal One.
Unless the Seth Rollins injury has caused WWE to massively shift a bunch of matches around, I highly doubt AJ Styles has any chance whatsoever in winning this Elimination Chamber match. He’ll be taken out of the game by John Cena or maybe even Bray Wyatt if they want to give the latter an extra pinfall to build him up. What follows Styles after the Elimination Chamber is up in the air, but here’s hoping it makes up for his two big losses over the previous few weeks.
2. John Cena
For someone who is as unbeatable as John Cena is, you’d think his historic 16th world title reign would be more magnanimous than this, wouldn’t you? Sadly, it doesn’t appear to be the case, but I do have to still rank him at the #2 spot based off his past history and the fact that he just won that championship.