On Saturday night, an audacious steel cage contraption will take center stage in Montreal.
The 13th edition of Elimination Chamber will take place at the Bell Centre (8 p.m. ET on Peacock). The last pay-per-view ahead of WrestleMania features two title fights scheduled on the card, along with No. 1 contender status to challenge for a third title.
The main event features Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn for the undisputed WWE universal championship. After Reigns banished Zayn from The Bloodline, the former "Honorary Uce" has vowed vengeance against the double belt holder. Can Zayn pull off a monumental upset and weaken the power of the strongest faction in WWE?
The battle to determine who will face Bianca Belair for her Raw women's championship at WrestleMania will be settled in one six-woman Elimination Chamber match. In the other Elimination Chamber match, Austin Theory puts up his U.S. championship against five others.
Other matches include Bobby Lashley facing off against Brock Lesnar and The Judgment Day's Finn Balor and Rhea Ripley battling the couple of Edge and Beth Phoenix in a mixed tag team match. Finally, a triple tag team match with Becky Lynch, Lita and a wrestler to be determined will step into the ring against Damage CTRL.
Let's break down each match, predict the victors and offer up what could come next.
Undisputed WWE universal championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Sami Zayn
AN HONORARY UCE NO MORE!@SamiZayn has just betrayed @WWERomanReigns and the entire Bloodline at #RoyalRumble! pic.twitter.com/ZtzAF1xGGD— WWE (@WWE) January 29, 2023
My curiosity in this match will be whether the cracks in The Bloodline faction will be patched or further fractured after Saturday night. We can expect Reigns to punish Zayn because his recent disrespect of the Tribal Chief will not be tolerated. We can also expect Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa to back Reigns per usual, with Paul Heyman dutifully serving as boisterous hype man and championship belt holder. But what about Jey Uso? Could one-half of the tag team champions defect? Or at least be disobedient at an inopportune time?
Prediction: Reigns retains, but The Bloodline's foundation continues to crack heading into WrestleMania 39 where Reigns will face Cody Rhodes.
Elimination Chamber United States championship title match: Austin Theory vs. Seth Rollins vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Bronson Reed vs. Damian Priest vs. Montez Ford
Austin Theory's run as the United States champion has gone better than expected, so well that I assume there are bigger and better things on the horizon for Triple H's beloved talent. Theory and Rollins are the validated names on the marquee, but it's time for new blood to hold the American strap. Seeing Ford's name as a solo act is tantalizing, as his tag team run with Angelo Dawkins has pushed every duo in the promotion to the brink. The Street Profits will be around for a while, but Ford looks ready for some added responsibility.
Prediction: Ford pins Theory to win the United States championship, setting up a rematch at WrestleMania
Women's Elimination Chamber match: Raquel Rodriguez vs. Nikki Kross vs. Liv Morgan vs. Asuka vs. Natalya vs. Carmella
The winner will become the No. 1 contender to face Bianca Belair for the Raw women's championship
I asked ESPN's esteemed wrestling aficionado Marc Raimondi who he thought would emerge victorious from this match, and he quickly responded that Asuka was the most logical choice. She has put in the work and would likely put on the best match and push Belair the most on the big stage at WrestleMania 39.
That could be true, but the leadership in Stamford, Connecticut, loves crafting opportunities for new stars to emerge. Few are poised to take the leap more than Rodriguez, as she has won everything possible in NXT and is physically capable of keeping up with the big names on the women's side. Need a reminder of what she can do? Watch the Rodriguez vs. Ronda Rousey title match.
Prediction: Rodriguez pins Asuka to face the EST of WWE at WrestleMania
Mixed tag match: Edge and Beth Phoenix vs. Finn Balor and Rhea Ripley
Ripley's focus could understandably be on the biggest match of her career, as in six weeks she'll face Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown women's title at WrestleMania. For now, half of The Judgment Day faction must handle the ongoing melodrama with Edge and Phoenix. We can recall Edge being forced to spare his wife in an "I Quit" match last year, along with additional graces given by Phoenix to Ripley in the lead-up. The tab is due for Balor and Ripley on Saturday night.
Prediction: Edge pins Balor.
Six-woman tag team match: Becky Lynch, Lita and TBA vs. Damage CTRL (Bayley, Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky)
Damage CTRL has been running roughshod across WWE for months, yet the return of Lita in aiding former foe-turned-friend Becky Lynch in a steel cage match versus Bayley seemed to even the scales a bit. Lynch and Lita are a dynamic duo, but it's 3-on-3 on Saturday night vs. a fierce faction -- who's the third teammate?
Prediction: Trish Stratus joins Lita and Lynch to defeat Damage CTRL, setting up Trish and Lita to tag team against Kai and Sky at WrestleMania.
Singles match: Bobby Lashley vs. Brock Lesnar
Another Contract Signing descends into chaos as #BrockLesnar engages @fightbobby en route to their showdown at #WWEChamber on Saturday and falls right into The All Mighty's trap. #WWERaw pic.twitter.com/D1a0g6hzyA— WWE (@WWE) February 15, 2023
This feels like unfinished business between two powerhouses in Lashley vs. Lesnar. This time a year ago, Lesnar dethroned Lashley for the WWE championship at Elimination Chamber after Lashley defeated Lesnar for the title at the Royal Rumble.
A Lashley concussion derailed a conclusion for the rivalry at WrestleMania 38. Now, with no straps on the line, the two are back at it again. During the contract signing, chants of "Bobby's scared" rang out as Lashley debated whether to sign the deal or not. Feels like that chant could reemerge on Saturday night, and I'm here for it.
Prediction: Lesnar F5's Lashley for the win, and we'll likely see the duo once again at WrestleMania 39.