SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
This week’s Smackdown wasn’t as much the Roman Reigns show as it was the Edge show. While Roman Reigns provided the bookends of the show – appearing early on and in the dying moments – he wasn’t laced through every second as usual.
In fact, Roman Reigns continues to face very little in terms of odds. When’s the last time Roman was the underdog? When’s the last time he wrestled on Smackdown? At this rate your friendly neighborhood Reigns-o-meter may have to go monthly just to let the odds accrue. Given that, let’s focus on the possible contenders, shall we?
Whomever Roman Reigns lines up against at the Elimination Chamber PPV, they’re going to be a beaten and weakened mess. Over on the Raw side, you can safely eliminate half the field with confidence. For Smackdown, not so much. Kevin Owens could be a winner. Jey Uso could be a winner. Cesaro and Daniel Bryan could be winners. Even Baron Corbin has to be considered a contender due to the well known love that the WWE has for that particular pairing.
Edge drifted around backstage this week from person to person, essentially cutting the same promo with every babyface. What if you win the Elimination Chamber, he seemed to say. Then I would face you at WrestleMania, they seemed to say. Lather, rinse and repeat. Always repeat.
That said, all of them seem to have forgotten the rather large roadblock that stands between them and the championship.
Kevin Owens has had a litany of opportunities and thus far he’s had no luck whatsoever. At this point we’re talking definition of insanity level but what else can he do? Owens’s one “clean” attempt was ruined by a dodgy pair of handcuffs. You’d think somebody would have taken those handcuffs home and tested them before they used them live during the Royal Rumble show. Or maybe they did and the lock was gummed up with gunk. It all makes sense now.
Sami Zayn seems the safest bet for the ’98 Royal Rumble “No chance in hell” award. He’s doing great work recently, but there’s absolutely nothing between he and Roman. Zayn would be involved in the opening segment; essentially appearing purely to get his face kicked off. Classic Zayn booking. Going back through history, the highlight of Reigns vs. Zayn seems to be just after Reigns won the WWE Championship from Triple H. Zayn was one of many challengers the next night on Raw, but the only one openly dismissed by Roman as a ridiculous concept.
Shall we talk for a moment about Baron Corbin? You’re right, dog food. Definitely, more dog food. Sounds like great fun, doesn’t it?
Just like that, we’re getting to the favorites. First up, Jey Uso, who would undoubtedly be sacrificed for the greater good that is Roman Reigns. We’re talking a full on Hulk Hogan vs Jeff Jarrett moment. Or, if you’d like a more relevant example, Hulk Hogan vs Kevin Nash moment. For a less anti-Hogan option, it could be a Shawn Michaels vs Triple H moment. No, you’re right, let’s use a Hulk Hogan example.
Would Jey Uso actually lay down for Roman Reigns? Probably, yes. As wholly unsatisfying a finish as it would be, now doesn’t seem to be the right time to break up the first family of Smackdown. I’d like the family to at least grow a little first, with the recent return of Naomi and the expected impending return of Jimmy Uso making for a potential very strong faction. With Seth Rollins looming in the background as someone trying to take over, a strong first family could make all the difference.
Does Daniel Bryan stand a chance of victory in the chamber? Absolutely, he does. Daniel Bryan has in fact won an Elimination Chamber recently, knocking Kofi Kingston off his KofiMania perch for a brief, but memorable moment in time. Admittedly that was the planet’s champion Daniel Bryan, but you can’t have everything. Bryan vs Reigns seems like it has to happen eventually and yet here we are with Edge having won the Royal Rumble and having all of the power plays to his name. At the moment, Bryan seems like a huge afterthought. We can’t all boost our momentum by bringing back old theme songs.
I’m sorry for saying that, WWE. Please don’t take away Burn It Down.
Finally, we have Cesaro. He is a man being pushed. It’s weird, isn’t it? Seeing Cesaro being pushed, I mean. I feel like I’ve spent the last ten years training myself not to believe in Cesaro and yet things are really going in his direction. The odds, as we know, are not in Cesaro’s favor. Everything is tilted seriously in the direction of Roman Reigns. He’d have to push his way through Smackdown’s best, all in one night, to get his hands on that title. Well, with the exception of Sasha Banks, Bayley and Bianca Belair of course.
Who will claim the win? Hell if I know. Smackdown has one major victory over Raw recently and that’s the random factor. We don’t know. With Raw you can see everything coming, whereas with Smackdown they went into the Royal Rumble with five or six strong contenders to win the whole thing.
And then Edge won it. After highlighting everyone in this chamber match I feel I need to ask the following. If Edge is indeed challenging Roman Reigns then what the hell is anybody in this chamber match going to be doing come WrestleMania?
If this is your top field, maybe they need a clearer direction? But then, would we have so many genuine possibilities? Show me what you’ve got, WWE.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REIGNS-O-METER: REIGNS-O-METER #121: Challengers continue to get in line to face Reigns