WWE's Elimination Chamber 2020 takes place Sunday March 8th at 7pm ET (streaming on the WWE Network) with the Kickoff show starting at 6pm ET at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There are seven matches scheduled with no top singles titles on the line (RAW & SmackDown Women's Championships, WWE Championship, and the Universal Championship are all missing from this event). The show has felt like an afterthought as it comes one week after Super Showdown in Saudi Arabia and 4 weeks before WrestleMania on top of the card missing most of the top stars of WWE. The next two paragraphs will explain how we got here, but if you don't want to be sad/angry and you want to just find out why you should care about this card, skip the next two paragraphs.
With WWE negotiating broadcast rights for future PPV events, this may be the last time the current model of big shows being on the Network is used. WWE doesn't need to promote this show as much because it's technically already paid for. Popular thinking is that if WWE had to work to get people to pay $50 to watch the show from home, then they wouldn't put out a card with such little starpower/build. This card is also the way it is because WWE has had a serious problem with making a good plan and executing it without having to abort because the audience hates it. Feuds have been developed and dropped as the wind blows, forcing audiences to have trouble finding ways to care about the product.
For example: Sheamus returned last month and feuded with Shorty G. Once he won the feud, Sheamus cut a pre-taped promo about how he was entering the Elimination Chamber. After Super Showdown last week, that Elimination Chamber match was dropped as was Sheamus' entire story. He showed up last night and Brogue Kicked Apollo for a quick win and made no mention of his previous challenge as if it never happened. If WWE is going to turn around the company's recent downward trend of ratings and revenue, they must find a way to reward the audience for being invested in their product.
In spite of WWE's issues at the top, the wrestlers themselves are putting on fantastic performances and whenever a show feels like there is little to no build then the company will generally let more wrestling happen and the shows turn out to be very fun to watch. The talent booked for this event are well aware that they are getting a chance to show off their skills in spots they normally wouldn't be in on a Pay Per View show. When the stories on screen aren't as interesting, wrestling audiences turn to the stories behind the scenes to add to their enjoyment of the match. This preview & predictions will cover a little bit more of behind-the-scenes material to reflect that.
AJ Styles (recently named Wrestler of the Decade by PWI) will take on Aleister Black as Styles builds towards his feud with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 36, putting Aleister Black in the most important match of his life. Black's direction is unclear, but a standout performance at Elimination Chamber will set Black up for big things. The New Day (recently named PWI's Tag Team of the Decade) will step in the Elimination Chamber to challenge for MnM's SmackDown Tag Team Championship as they continue their fight to make tag team wrestling important in WWE while The Usos continue to evolve as they are overlooked as one of the greatest tag teams in WWE history. Daniel Bryan (PWI's Inspirational Wrestler of the Decade) will continue his series of matches against lesser-used wrestlers on SmackDown by taking on former Cruiserweight Champion and Philadelphia native, Drew Gulak. WrestleMania's card is not set in stone and talent is fighting to get noticed by the audience and by WWE's executive team. Elimination Chamber is a major opportunity for everyone not in the main events of WrestleMania to carve out their space on the biggest show of the year. Below is a preview and prediction for each match on the card based upon recent booking. In the comments below, share your feelings on Elimination Chamber, the build to WrestleMania, and what is exciting you about this event.
Daniel Bryan vs. Drew Gulak
Since losing to The Fiend at Royal Rumble Daniel Bryan has been on a soul-searching "tour of destruction" through less-used members of the SmackDown roster. On February 7th, Bryan called out and defeated Heath Slater. On February 28th, Bryan had a competitive match with former Intercontinental Champion, Curtis Axel. All the while, Drew Gulak has been lurking around and giving advice to these talents as they take on Daniel Bryan. Bryan let Gulak know that he'd love to test Gulak's knowledge of his weaknesses at Elimination Chamber and the match was made.
This match should be a technical delight as Gulak gets the opportunity to wrestle in front of his hometown fans. Daniel Bryan's match at WrestleMania has yet to be made, so if Gulak puts on a compelling performance, he could set up a WrestleMania feud with Daniel Bryan. It's insane to think that one of the most popular wrestlers of the past decade (Daniel Bryan came in second to John Cena in the PWI voting) is nowhere near any of the four main events of WrestleMania, but WWE has other plans for Daniel Bryan. The only consolation for Daniel Bryan fans throughout all of this is that Bryan has looked positively joyful in this run of matches against lesser-known stars. Hopefully that joy continues all the way through WrestleMania.
Daniel Bryan via submission
Shayna Baszler was originally scheduled to win the Royal Rumble this year until Vince decided that he wanted Charlotte to get the big win. Vince wanted a bit more from the monster, Baszler, and he got it when she bit the back of Becky Lynch's neck on RAW. The image of Baszler's mouth dripping with Lynch's blood is the kind of monster that Vince McMahon wants. Baszler will get her chance to make her case to be in a main event of WrestleMania against Lynch with this Elimination Chamber Match. As a former cage fighter, this match feels like it's designed for Baszler to win. Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, and Liv Morgan continue to fight amongst themselves leaving Natalya and Asuka as the major obstacles in Baszler's path to WrestleMania. Lynch finally defeated Asuka at this year's Royal Rumble, so it's hard to imagine anyone but Baszler winning this match.
The Elimination Chamber match is structured to give each Superstar some time to shine and although there is usually one major story/goal for the match, the smaller stories that take place within the match can elevate it to become a special one. Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan haven't found much depth to their personas yet. In order for those two to become contenders for the RAW Women's Championship, they're going to have to find ways to express their personalities to the audience in the small amount of time that they're given to work. This is incredibly difficult to do, but it is something that many wrestlers have to overcome. Ruby Riott has the ability to do this and her TV time since her return suggests that she will be Baszler's biggest obstacle next to the formerly unstoppable Asuka. Natalya will be there to help direct the match from the inside as this will be the first Elimination Chamber match for Asuka, Baszler, and Riott while Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan competed in the Elimination Chamber last year for the Women's Tag Team Championships. The match itself should be designed to put Baszler over as an unstoppable monster, but if they can somehow help build Ruby Riott as a future threat, then this match will be an even greater success.
Shayna Baszler via submission
With the return of John Morrison to WWE, MnM is riding high once again as they enter the Elimination Chamber as SmackDown Tag Team Champions. A match with The New Day, The Usos, Lucha House Party, and Dolph Ziggler & Bobby Roode that has the creativity of John Morrison and the experience of The Miz will be nothing short of fantastic. This match has so many talented athletes and storytellers in it that there is no doubt that this will be the greatest Tag Team Elimination Chamber match ever and it has potential to be one of the most action-packed Elimination Chamber matches of all time. Otis's feud with Dolph Ziggler will definitely come into play in this match as they build towards a match at WrestleMania for the big man. Heavy Machinery performed fantastically in their gauntlet match last night on SmackDown before losing to Ziggler and Roode. That win on SmackDown means that Ziggler and Roode will be the last team to enter the Elimination Chamber, but expect Heavy Machinery to hang around until then so that we can get a sample of what it could be like when Otis finally gets his revenge on Ziggler for sabotaging his dream Valentine's date with Mandy Rose.
The Usos and The New Day seem destined to fight each other as long as they're both in the WWE and that's a good thing. After some time off due to work visa issues and other outside of the ring complications, The Usos are back and have added to their moveset and changed their look. Check out the Super Canadian Destroyer into a flying body splash that they used as a finisher on the February 28th SmackDown in the video above. The Usos are continually evolving and proving that they are one of the best tag teams in the world. Them being snubbed in the PWI Tag Teams of the Decade is absolutely wrong. The Usos have delivered in every match they're in and they always pull out something special and new for big matches. They continue to improve in every facet of their game and they will be wrestling with a chip on their shoulders on Sunday. Look for the Usos to pull off the upset in this match as they prove to the world that they should be considered one of the best tag teams in wrestling over the past decade.
The Usos via pinfall
3-ON-1 HANDICAP MATCH (WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP)
Braun Strowman (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro, and Sami Zayn
The union of former NXT rivals Cesaro, Sami Zayn, & Shinsuke Nakamura was put together for a match against Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Braun Strowman on the December 27th SmackDown. Strowman got the pin on Nakamura that night after Kofi hit Nakamura in the head with The New Day's pancake platter. Since then, Strowman feuded with Nakamura throughout January. This led to Strowman winning the Intercontinental Championship from Nakamura on the January 31st SmackDown. Strowman busted Nakamura's head open when he powerslammed Nakamura into a grand piano in the Symphony Of Destruction Match on the February 21st SmackDown. One week later on SmackDown, Zayn, Cesaro, and Nakamura sat down to sign a contract for a match with Braun Strowman. When Strowman said that he knew he'd end up having to fight all three men that he was happy to sign the contract and get to Sunday. Zayn took advantage of this moment and added himself and Cesaro to the match, making it a three on one handicap match for the Intercontinental Championship. Last night on SmackDown, Strowman got an endorsement from the NWO during "A Moment Of Bliss" as they promoted his match against Nakamura, Zayn, & Cesaro.
The match itself has three of the greatest in-ring performers of the last decade going against a man who could become a top attraction in this decade. Braun's growth as a wrestler since getting called up as the heavy for the Wyatt Family has been tremendous. It feels that the only thing detrimental to Strowman has been WWE's booking of the Monster Among Men. It's hard to understand why he's been put in this situation because he's once again put in a situation where it's illogical for one person to defeat these three globally decorated former champions. There are so many things that could be done with Strowman but this build doesn't feel like it's giving Strowman any momentum or helping him become a better attraction as a giant. The most exciting outcome of this match would be Sami, Nakamura, and Cesaro turning on one another after yet another loss to Strowman setting up a match where they wrestle each other at WrestleMania. Strowman needs a formidable heel that's not presented like a dope to challenge him. Perhaps it might be the person that's been causing the visual errors on SmackDown?
Braun Strowman via pinfall
WWE RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
The Street Profits (c) vs. Seth Rollins and Murphy
With the help of a distraction from the AOP arguing with referee Chad Patton about Patton barring them from ringside and a quick stunner from Kevin Owens to Seth Rollins, The Street Profits are RAW Tag Team Champions. The Street Profits are going to need some help again to defeat Seth Rollins and Murphy. Kevin Owens will most certainly be involved in this match as well as he continues his feud with Seth Rollins. Rollins and Owens have been feuding since November 2019 and it looks like these two are on a path to meet at WrestleMania. The question is: "Where does Murphy, The Street Profits, and AOP fit into all of this?" This match will start to clarify that for us. It's unlikely the Street Profits lose their tag titles so quickly at Elimination Chamber, so this could set up a multi-man tag match for these men at Mania. Owens tagged with Samoa Joe before Joe's wellness policy violation, perhaps Samoa Joe could come back and join Owens and the Street Profits to take on Murphy, Rollins, and AOP at WrestleMania? Another element to watch in this match is the development and maturation of Montez Ford. Ford has the potential to become a World Champion in the future, but his in-ring work is a lot of flash that could use a little more impact/intention to hurt. Ford's gestures and facial expressions are also super big right now, working with Rollins and Murphy will help Ford tweak those areas in his game as he steps into a bigger spotlight. The Street Profits could use a cleaner win than the one they got on Monday to show that they deserve the RAW Tag Team Championships, but KO will still find a way to continue his torment of Rollins.
The Street Profits via pinfall
WWE US CHAMPIONSHIP
Andrade (c) vs. Humberto Carrillo
25 year-old Humberto Carillo has been lighting up the WWE ring since last year. After opening eyes on NXT and 205Live, Carillo was called up to RAW in October and began his RAW career by facing Seth Rollins and then AJ Styles the following week. Carillo earned the opportunity to challenge Styles for the United States Championship at Crown Jewel after winning a battle royal at the event. Although he was unable to defeat Styles, Carillo has continued pursuing the United States Championship since then. Rey Mysterio was the one who was able to defeat Styles, but Mysterio lost the United States Championship to Andrade shortly after winning it. Humberto came up short against Andrade at the Royal Rumble but their program got stalled due to Andrade getting suspended for a wellness policy violation. WWE kept the United States Championship on Andrade but moved Carillo's cousin, Angel Garza, into Andrade's place in the feud so that Carillo could continue to wrestle regularly on TV. Garza has performed fantastically well in the position, showing that he belongs on RAW.
This match will likely set up some sort of multi-man match for the United States Championship at WrestleMania involving Andrade, Humberto Carillo, Rey Mysterio, and Angel Garza. These men work together so well and this match is definitely a statement match for Andrade, who had to watch Angel Garza flourish in his role for a month. These men will put on a spectacle of lucha libre as they make their case for a match at WrestleMania. With Carillo and Mysterio picking up the win on RAW, it feels like Andrade will get the win here with the help of Garza and Zelina Vega on the outside. Carillo has been chasing the United States Championship for almost 5 months. If Andrade and Garza can keep the heat on Carillo as they shine him up, Carillo could get a very special championship victory at WrestleMania 36.
Andrade via pinfall
NO DQ MATCH
Aleister Black vs. AJ Styles
Aleister Black started feuding with the O.C. after he defeated Rowan on the February 24th episode of RAW. Black walked by the O.C. as Styles was amping up Gallows & Anderson. The O.C. then beat Black down without warning. Styles then competed in Saudi Arabia in the tournament for the newly created Tuwaiq Trophy. Styles was surprised by The Undertaker entering the match and defeating him with one chokeslam. This embarrassment has only caused Styles to take out his frustration more on Aleister Black. Although the two were scheduled to wrestle on RAW, Styles told Black that he had to face Karl Anderson first. After Black defeated Anderson, Styles announced that Black had to face Gallows as well. When Black started to have success against Gallows, Anderson and Styles interfered in the match causing Black to win via disqualification. Gallows and Anderson hit their finisher on Black, leaving him even more weakened for his match against Styles. Styles defeated Black with a Phenomenal forearm into a pinfall but Black was able to get in a few kicks on the newly crowned PWI Wrestler Of The Decade. It should be noted that when Styles pinned Black, he used the Undertaker's signature folding of his opponents arms to pin him as well as sticking his tongue out to mock the Dead Man even more.
It's clear that this match will be used to build AJ Styles' feud with The Undertaker for WrestleMania, but that doesn't mean that Aleister Black can't make the most of his time in proximity to this feud. Black's kicks have been sold like death throughout his build up on RAW this year. Aleister Black has also been compared to The Undertaker quite a bit. If Black can put on a memorable performance against AJ Styles as he prepares to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania, Black could even work his way into the match. Undertaker has never competed in a multi-man match at WrestleMania, but maybe it's time to change things up. Every match with AJ Styles has potential to be a great match, but the most interesting thing to watch in this match will be Aleister Black before The Undertaker interferes in this match. If Black can show that his persona is big enough to not be easily shoved aside by AJ Styles and The Undertaker, then big things may be in store for the Dutch Destroyer. This will likely be a back and forth match that gives Black an upset win over Styles with Black hitting his finisher, Black Mass, after Styles becomes distracted by The Undertaker.
Aleister Black via pinfall