It’s one thing to predict the winners and losers at Elimination Chamber 2021, but how about taking a guess at the match order on that card?
WWE has announced six different segments for the main card of Elimination Chamber.
Here is my subjective view of how important each of these six segments rank, ordered from most important to least important.
- Raw Elimination Chamber
- SmackDown Elimination Chamber
- Roman Reigns vs. ???
- Jax & Baszler vs. Banks & Belair
- Lashley vs. Lee vs. Riddle
- Asuka vs. Lacey Evans
The bottom two matches are up in the air. Earlier this week, Lacey Evans announced that she is pregnant, yet for some reason her championship match against Asuka has not been canceled. Meanwhile, Keith Lee’s status for the pay-per-view is unknown after he once again missed the go-home episode of Raw.
The SmackDown chamber match taken together with Roman’s title defense would rank higher than the Raw chamber, but this list evaluates them all as separate matches. The Raw chamber has higher stakes than the SmackDown chamber because there is a title on the line in the former but not in the latter. Roman’s championship defense against a tired chamber competitor will likely be relatively short for a top match.
The main event of this card will either be Drew McIntyre defending the WWE championship inside the Raw chamber, or Roman Reigns defending the Universal championship against the winner of the SmackDown chamber.
On the surface, both matches appear to have a high level of predictability, in that McIntyre and Reigns are expected to retain the gold. So how do we decide which one should be the main event? Theoretically, an Elimination Chamber match for a championship (McIntyre’s match) should be a more exciting main event bout than a basic singles championship match with one fresh heel against an exhausted opponent (Reigns’ match). That appears to give McIntyre an edge for the main event spot.
Believe it or not, Reigns has not been featured in the main event segment of a pay-per-view (PPV) since his match against Jey Uso in September at Clash of Champions 2020. Since then, the main event segments on PPV have been Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton (Hell in a Cell 2020), Undertaker’s final farewell (Survivor Series 2020), Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton (TLC 2020), and Edge winning the men’s Royal Rumble match (Royal Rumble 2021).
In that sense, Edge was right when he said that Roman needs him to be the main event of WrestleMania 37. There is an obvious path towards ending Elimination Chamber 2021 with Edge spearing Reigns during his victory celebration, and declaring Reigns as his opponent in the main event of WrestleMania 37. Therefore, Reigns’ championship defense will get the main event spot over McIntyre’s chamber.
In most cases where a PPV includes two Elimination Chamber matches, one of those matches is the opening match of the night. That’s not always how it goes (like last year, when Bryan vs. Gulak was the opener), but it’s a common way of doing things. None of the other matches on this specific card seem like a good choice for the opening match, so I’m sticking with that rule of thumb.
I guess there’s a chance that the SmackDown chamber could kick off the night, giving the winner a two hour break before he has to deal with Reigns in the main event. But I think the story is more gripping if the babyface or Uso who wins that match has to immediately deal with Roman. That’s why I’m putting McIntyre’s chamber match as the opener, and the SmackDown chamber match goes right before the main event.
That gives me the following card:
Segment 1: Raw Elimination Chamber
Segment 5: SmackDown Elimination Chamber
Segment 6: Roman Reigns vs. ???
That leaves three consecutive segments for the three least important matches of the night.
We might as well get the Asuka/Evans debacle out of the way in Segment 2, following the opening chamber match. It seems that Evans will be unable to compete due to pregnancy, and will need to be replaced. Perhaps WWE will just switch Evans out with her tag partner, Peyton Royce. Or maybe they’ll scrap Asuka’s championship defense altogether and come up with a completely different idea for a new match on the card. Either way, I’m putting it in Segment 2.
WWE doesn’t often book two consecutive women’s matches on a card, so I’ll put Lashley’s match in Segment 3. That leaves Segment 4 for Jax & Baszler vs. Banks & Belair.
One more match?
Considering the circumstances surrounding the advertised matches for Asuka and Lashley, this card could desperately use another match or segment. But it’s hard to come up with any compelling options from the remaining roster, assuming Big E is unavailable due to kayfabe injury. I’m tempted to take this opportunity to put the greatest wrestler in the history of our sport, SLAPJACK, back on PPV, but I doubt that I can wish a match for him into existence once again. Maybe we’ll instead get a rematch between Apollo Crews and Shinsuke Nakamura? Or maybe Roode & Ziggler vs. Street Profits?
You know what, it’s all pointless filler anyway. Maybe it’s best to just keep things as is, and acknowledge that WWE’s mid-card stories are cold right now with less than two months to go until WrestleMania 37. This event doesn’t need to run more than three hours, and the two chamber matches can do the bulk of the work getting there.
So here is my final prediction for the match order at Elimination Chamber, along with guesses on the bell-to-bell match times:
Segment 1: Raw Elimination Chamber (32 minutes)
Segment 2: Asuka vs. ??? (5)
Segment 3: Lashley vs. Lee vs. Riddle (8)
Segment 4: Jax & Baszler vs. Banks & Belair (11)
Segment 5: SmackDown Elimination Chamber (29)
Segment 6: Roman Reigns vs. ??? (10)
That’s my prediction for the match order at Elimination Chamber 2021. What’s yours?