by Frank Lucci
The first SmackDown! Live solo live special feels like a nice little Pay-Per-View. It does not feel like a huge deal, but considering this is a stepping stone to WrestleMania WWE has done a good job in two weeks to make this a worthy watch. WWE has noticeably focused on having multiple women matches, which is smart because the Smackdown women’s division is one of their biggest strengths. Throw in MY BOY LUKE HARPER getting a shot at Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton and this event has Spaceman Frank salivating. Here are my Elimination Chamber 2017 predictions!
Mojo Rawley vs. Curt Hawkins (Kickoff Time-Filler Spectacular)
This match came about in about 40 seconds when Hawkins made fun of Patriots tight end/Buffalo native Rob Gronkowski, who is buddies with Mojo. WWE put about 87 seconds of thought into this, so I will do the same. Unless Gronk shows up, I do not care. Mojo wins because Hawkins has the heat of ice cream at this point.
Nikki Bella vs. Natalya
These ladies have done a good job of imitating Nikki’s last feud with Carmella, with the two ladies just brawling 24/7 to protect Nikki’s allegedly hurt neck. With the Bella sister rumored for a tag match with her man John Cena for WrestleMania as well as time off/retirement rumors, it is likely Natalya will be eating the pin here. While Nattie Ice has been better as a heel, I really want her to cart out Tyson Kidd to give him something to do as well as coach her on how to do his NXT gimmick so she can actually succeed.
Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James
Another grudge match sees Lynch stepping away from the title picture to take on the returning veteran Mickie James. James looks amazing and is a much needed shot in the arm for the division, and Raw needs a similar vet to come back to mix up the division and get some new matchups on television. However, I do not see James as SmackDown! Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss’ henchwomen for long, and I would like to see her in the title picture sooner rather than later. Mickie wins in what is essentially a toss-up for The Spaceman.
American Alpha (Chad Gable and Jason Jordan) (c) vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze) vs. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) vs. The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) vs. The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch) Tag Team Turmoil Match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships
Well that is a busy headline, isn’t it? The SmackDown! Live tag team scene has been a hot mess, and the fact that we do not get a PPV American Alpha vs. Wyatt Family match speaks volumes on where the WWE sees the division currently. Not that I don’t think this will be fun, but besides when new champs are crowned, there has been little to latch onto between all these teams. American Alpha is the best team out of all of these guys, and I do not think there is any reason for them to lose anytime soon. Can we get a champ vs. champ tag team match between Raw and SmackDown! at ‘Mania to give these guys something significant to do? Alpha wins because AMERICA.
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Naomi (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)
Naomi gets another shot at the belt after her previous push was halted due to injury. I appreciate the continuity, and her split-legged moonsault is a thousand times better than the bum to the face. Naomi is not bad by any means, but she does not scream “champion” to me. If it wasn’t for my obsession with Total Divas I would have a zero read on her personality. Bliss is simply too good to lose the belt now, and should carry the belt to Mania. Bliss wins and gives us even more gifs of resting Bliss face for the internet to enjoy.
Luke Harper vs. Randy Orton
IT’S WESTERN NEW YORK’S MAIN EVENT! Seriously it is crazy to me that a guy I use to live ten minutes away from is wrestling the Royal Rumble winner in a PPV match before WrestleMania. Harper has been on fire since Orton joined the Wyatts, and I really, really hope he does well here. The crowd seems to be buying into his babyface push too, which has me hoping he can get to the next level and sneak into the Intercontinental title scene or even further. After all, the best way to get him to show true babyface colors is to get him a real shirt and trim his facial hair. As much as I am incredibly bias towards Harper…he is here to lose. Furthermore, he is here to do an abbreviated blow off towards his feud with Randy so Orton can move on to ‘Mania mode. Much like my house show experience when Harper would get his 15 minutes of hero worship in Rochester, he will take on a big name, get an incredible near fall, and then eat the pin.
John Cena (c) vs. AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz vs. Baron Corbin vs. Bray Wyatt (Elimination Chamber Match for WWE Championship)
There’s lots to break down here, so I’ll just go from who I think has the least chance to win to the most chance to win. To start, Dean Ambrose is already Intercontinental champ (I was really hoping Harper would get the nod here to add a bit more drama to the match, but the above singles match works also). Ambrose is here to start the match first, provide several hardcore spots for the crowd and then get eliminated 40 minutes in.
The Miz is here to set up his ‘Mania match with John Cena (if the rumors are true), probably by pinning the champ in a shocking twist. I’m fine with main event Miz at this point, but he’s not getting the belt. I just said Cena will get pinned by Miz, and it would be insanity for him to face Orton at Mania considering they just had their 21st match against each other on SmackDown! last Tuesday.
A.J. Styles is a wild card as he has history with lots of these dudes but no solid direction going forward. He and Baron Corbin seem like runners up for this match, and it would actually be kind of cool to see these guys face off. I am not completely sold on the rumored ‘Mania match between Styles and Shane McMahon, and Corbin deserves better than getting dumped into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, so why not have these dudes beat the piss out of each other at the Grandaddy of ’em All?
That leaves Bray Wyatt, who is the obvious and smartest choice to win. Sometimes the best choice is the clear choice, and Orton vs. Bray for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania feels right. It’s about time Wyatt gets singles gold, and after years of being the guy main eventers beat up between title shots, he deserves a chance to be the head honcho. Wyatt wins and we get some good television for the next few weeks.