Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Elimination Chamber Is Back As a Network Exclusive

It's baaaaaack
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Last night on RAW, Michael Cole announced the return of the Elimination Chamber on May 31 as a special WWE Network-only event. The show was up until last year a regular pay-per-view in February as the last stop until WrestleMania. This year, it was scuttled in favor of Fast Lane. The show will be held live in Corpus Christi, TX, and it coincides with the final day of the latest free month deal from The Network.

Four matches have already been announced, although the competitors in them are currently TBA. The Tag Team Championships and the now-vacant Intercontinental Championship will be defended inside the Chamber, while the United States and WWE World Heavyweight Championships will have matches outside the structure. Leaving the big title outside the structure is a departure from the past, and I'm not sure how a tag team match inside the big mess of metal and UNBREAKABLE LEXAN will work. However, the fact that WWE is thinking outside the box, however slightly, with how it's booking around the structure feels refreshing.

Also, if one's looking for ways to sell The Network outside of first-run shows, NXT, or regular pay-per-views, a full-blown shindig only on the over-the-top service isn't the worst thing in the world. The question of oversaturation that dogged the product in the brand extension days with 16 events jammed into a 12 month frame will come back. Then again, these Network exclusive events happening on a venue that is already paid for, in addition to them having more of a midcard focus like the Chamber show seems to have, may end up supplementing the narrative more than bloating it. If this show is treated more like a modern Saturday Night's Main Event or a Clash of the Champions, it could work in the long term.