This Sunday at the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View, Roman Reigns is set to defend his Universal Championship against the winner of one of the namesake matches. He’ll either face his cousin Jey Uso, his eternal foe Kevin Owens, King Corbin, Sami Zayn, Cesaro, or Daniel Bryan. This promises to be a fantastic chamber match given the level of the six superstars in the ring. So why would I want to re-book this!? This Roman Reigns power trip story has been terrific. He and Heyman are really flexing their creative muscles and doing great work. When they used the line “what are you going to do, fire Roman Reigns this close to WrestleMania!?” on the show, however, that really resonated with me. If you’re going to say that, why have him defend the title at all before Mania!?
Let’s instead look at what could have been in this case. The Tribal Chief's power trip takes the Universal Title off Elimination Chamber entirely. Enter the Intercontinental Championship. Why? It’s no secret that Big E is a star. It’s no secret that WWE wants Big E to be a star, too. His reign so far has teetered on the line of serious and comical, something he does very well, but I saw the Elimination Chamber as their chance to make him a true superstar on the SmackDown roster.
To this point, Big E has had successful defenses against Apollo Crews, Sami Zayn, and Shinsuke Nakamura. There have been DQ shenanigans throughout with Sami and his documentary crew, a weird double pin, and not a whole lot more...yet. Granted Big E only won the title two months ago, those are still two months that WWE could have been adding shine back to the IC title which has felt like an afterthought recently. Do YOU remember Braun Strowman’s 2020 IC title reign? That one even made Pepperidge Farm scratch their heads…
So what’s the best way to put a title, the champion holding it, and the entire mid-card of SmackDown over all at once? The Elimination Chamber.
This seemed to be such a fitting progression! Watching SmackDown lately their mid-card is way more over than their contemporaries on RAW. On top of that, the IWC is firmly behind many of them and the work they have been doing for the last few months.
I am now going to show you who I think would be key members of an Intercontinental Championship match inside the Elimination Chamber. Now, I’m not going to lie, a few of the players are the same. I think they fit naturally into the match. But, through qualifying matches, I think we can get a couple different people into the match and give them some serious spotlight.
First, there is obviously our champion, Big E. I think he is more than deserving of this level of a spot. Granted this wouldn't be the main event of a show that also has a WWE Championship Elimination Chamber match on it, but this is still a highly featured spot. After all, I was fantasy booking Big E as a slam-dunk Royal Rumble winner for much of 2020. Giving him this spot gets him primed for another big match at Mania, and I think it's well deserved.
Jey Uso. This one is obvious to me. Roman and Heyman use their influence to force Adam Pearce into booking them for the match, even getting him the final entrance into the match proper. Jey has been one of the most dynamic and intriguing characters and one of the breakout stars of 2020. Full transparency, I never thought he’d have this calibur of a run in him. I bet you can see him easily fitting into this match and immediately becoming a top option to win.
Cesaro. After two big wins against Daniel Bryan, it was confusing to see them tagging together in the qualifying match against the Dirty Dawgs for the real Chamber match. I know it’s WWE, and they don’t try to pretend wins and losses matter, but they had Cesaro win clean over the guy… TWICE and one of them in under five minutes bell to bell. Cesaro looks primed for bigger things in some eyes. I don’t think being built to lose to Roman is necessarily bigger than qualifying for a featured match like this and being considered a favorite to win it. I love him being in the chamber and think many of the fans yearning to see him reach his fullest potential in WWE would agree.
Shinsuke Nakamura. I know they just had a title match last week, but WWE doesn’t care about dejavu booking. Heck, the match could have even not happened, seeing as though we’re building to the chamber match. The recent splitting of Shinsuke and Cesaro has oddly enough led to two face turns in the process. I like that. I like that they are both getting pushed. But they’re going to need to square off eventually. I think this could lead to a new classic alliance turned sour spot inside the chamber, as they realize every man is for themselves. That’s not the only reason why Nakamura deserves entry into this match. Did you already forget the #1 contender gauntlet match that he looked like his old self in? I think they should capitalize on that momentum here. Again, arguments could be made that Shinsuke Nakamura becomes an instant favorite in this match.
Sami Zayn. You knew this was coming, right? He wears the best low-effort shirts in WWE history, and he is documenting the injustices that befall him every week with his own camera crew. He NEEDS to be in this match. Heck, he’s one of the two that start the match. He then needs to be eliminated before any of the pods open. It’s good comedy, and it gets Sami into another featured spot which would hopefully let him implode before changing course and finally acknowledging he is no longer the champion. A compelling enough loss here could start the next great Sami Zayn face turn. Side note, how have he and Kevin Ownes not been tag team champions in WWE?
Dominik Mysterio. Now now now, hear me out! His spot would have to have been earned just like anyone else's! I get it. He’s 1-2 vs Baron Corbin right now in this new eternal feud. Not a good look. But what if he was 2-1? Have them both win a match against each other, and have the hopeful blow-off match be their qualifying match for the chamber. Dominik goes over and gets a spot in this match. Look at the other names in this match. This would be a huge rub to give Dominik and finally a featured spot not tied to his dad! I think this could really be a coming-out party for him. It’s also a tremendously safe environment to do it. No, the chamber isn’t safe itself, but with so much veteran talent in there, I know he’d be protected and allowed to shine. Give him a big elimination, maybe even the shockingly fast Sami spot I talked about, and then let the creativity of the veterans showcase what he can do. I’m really disappointed typing this because I really want to see it now.
Big E vs Jey Uso vs Cesaro vs Shinsuke Nakamura vs Sami Zayn vs Dominik Mysterio for the Intercontinental Championship inside the Elimination Chamber.
Now that I’ve hopefully made you want this match, let’s book the match.
Sami and Dominik start the match. They trade some fast-paced offense, as Sami can’t run away inside the cage. He is quickly overmatched though, and Dominik hits him with the 619 and a Frog Splash to take him out before any of the pods open. It’s way too early for a canned “this is awesome” chant, but I’d like to think a real crowd would pop!
Next, we get Cesaro. I want him to get an iron man type of performance. I think he’s the guy for the spot. It can even build to something bigger later…The two trade blows. Dominik realizes he can’t outrun Cesaro, and he eats a couple of massive uppercuts. From there I want Ceasaro to then swing Dominik for however long it takes for the next pod to open.
In comes Big E. Being the biggest both in name and stature in this match, he’s going to get the traditional power spots. Maybe he throws Dominik into the Lexan pod, gorilla presses Cesaro into the cage wall, you know, big guy stuff! All the while he’s hamming it up to the video crowd. No one else is eliminated yet but people are starting to get worn down.
Next in is Shinsuke Nakamura, and we get an alliance of Cesaro and Nakamura vs Dominik and Big E. I get it, it’s two faces against two faces. WWE controls the “yay” and “boo” buttons so they can present the matchup however they want. Besides, this could be really cool. It’s looking even until Big E gets taken down by a call back trademark Nakamura low blow. Cesaro looks disappointed, but he and Nakamura team up to hit a Swingshasa on Dominik and eliminate him from the match.
Cesaro then starts to admonish Nakamura for the low blow and says he’s better than that. A moment passes and Big E has returned to action now, and he goes right for Shinsuke like a man possessed. He uses all of his typical moves, but they have purpose. He’s trying to put him down. It’s almost like Cesaro isn’t there; he gets pushed aside by Big E every time, as Shinsuke is the only target he sees. He’s building steam when Jey Uso enters the match. The speed and athleticism he enters the match with takes everyone by surprise.
Everyone gets a superkick. The canned boos start raining down. He decides that seeing as though everyone is down, he’s going to climb onto a pod and take a seat to watch. More boos.
Big E and Shinsuke are to their feet first. They trade blows until Cesaro nails Big E with an uppercut from behind. Big E is down with Shinsuke looking at Cesaro confused, as he was just getting yelled at and now Cesaro is seemingly helping him eliminate Big E. He winds up for Kinshasa which Big E counters into a Big Ending! Cesaro shrugs as Big E pins Shinsuke 1-2-3.
After Shinsuke exits the chamber, Big E and Cesaro look at each other and point at Jey Uso, still sitting smugly on the pod. Cesaro pops up and locks Jey in for what looks like a superplex off the pod. Naturally, Big E joins in for some convoluted tower of doom super-superplex off the pod. Something like this was bound to happen. Just satisfying the WWE booking gods.
Everyone is down but Jey being the fresh man is the first back up to his feet. He goes to superkick Cesaro and is caught and gets swung around while Big E claps enthusiastically. The match needs some laughs after all! The two gang up on him until Jey finds an opening and uses his speed to get free. He takes them both down with a superkick and hits Cesaro with a splash. 1-2-3. Cesaro, overcome with fatigue at this point, exits the cage.
The final matchup is Jey vs Big E. They put on a hard-hitting and fast-paced clinic, even though Big E is assuredly tired. He has probably been in the match for 15-20 minutes so far. However, the power of positivity is on his side. Jey hits him with a superkick that he doesn't sell. Another superkick knocks him back, and a third pushes Big E into the ropes, but he rebounds with a massive shoulder tackle. Big E is fired up and feeling it. He even goes to the top rope and hits a splash that is somehow only a two count on Uso.
Big E is in disbelief. Somehow when picking him back up, Jey manages to get some offense in to counter Big E. He knocks Big E down and goes to the top rope. He shakes his head and climbs onto a pod looking like he’s going to hit an Uso Splash from way up there. Big E pops to his feet and climbs up to the top effortlessly. The two trade blows but Big overpowers Jey. Big E then hoists Jey onto his shoulder while standing on the top rope and hits an avalanche Big Ending.
Big E retains his Intercontinental Championship inside the Elimination Chamber. He gets even more over-looking like a dominant champion and a true star. Cesaro’s performance earns him even more respect on Twitter and could build to a 1 on 1 IC title match against Big E at Mania. Dominik finally gets a big spot without his dad. Jey will feel the wrath of Roman and Heyman after entering the match last and losing. Nakamura and Cesaro can have the tag team split feud they never got. And Sami Zayn hopefully comes away from this needing a change and potentially has a face turn as a result.
If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading my first piece of wrestling writing and my first official go at fantasy booking!