17/04/2024

Picture: WWE

Nearly one whole week after his departure from The Bloodline, an incensed and emotionally-driven Sami Zayn made his intentions crystal clear; to take the Undisputed Universal Championship from Roman Reigns.

Welcome to the WWE Weekly Round-up, where The Inner Sanctum will take you through this week’s most pivotal moments on WWE television and preview what shapes to be a huge period ahead.

Two Elimination Chamber matches made official

The turnaround from the Royal Rumble to Elimination Chamber is only three weeks, meaning build to the final stop before WrestleMania was bound to happen on Monday Night Raw and it did.

Two Elimination Chamber matches were announced, with competitors for both to be finalised in the next week. Austin Theory will defend his United States Championship inside the chaotic structure, while six women will vie for a Raw Women’s Title opportunity against Bianca Belair at WrestleMania.

Theory is scheduled to put his gold on the line against Seth Rollins, Johnny Gargano, and Bronson Reed, with two more qualifying matches set for next week’s edition of Raw. They will see Montez Ford challenge Elias and Damien Priest collide against Angelo Dawkins.

Meanwhile, Liv Morgan, Raquel Rodriguez, Nikki Cross, Asuka and Natalya are all in their respective Elimination Chamber match with a fatal-five-way to determine the sixth spot set for next week’s Raw. It will be contested between Piper Niven, Candice LeRae, Mia Yim and Carmella.

Theory should retain his United States Title and walk into WrestleMania as champion, where it is assumed he will face John Cena. Asuka is the only top candidate to win her Elimination Chamber and challenge the E.S.T., undergoing a gimmick change and having a history with Belair before going on a short hiatus.

Rhea Ripley declares to dethrone the Queen at WrestleMania

After winning the women’s Royal Rumble, Rhea Ripley had the luxury to choose which champion she wished to face in the main event of WrestleMania 39. While it was expected that the Eradicator would elect Bianca Belair, she instead decided to challenge Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

It will be a rematch from their clash at WrestleMania 36 for the NXT Women’s Title, when the roles were reversed where Ripley was the champion and Flair was the Rumble winner. That contest went in the latter’s favour, as the Eradicator hopes to score her win back in 2023 and secure her redemption.

When it was anticipated that Ripley would choose Belair, she has this deeper history with Flair which makes the match more enticing. There also would have been a gaping hole on who the Queen would face at WrestleMania if the Eradicator didn’t choose her, as Smackdown’s women’s division lacks depth and starpower compared to Raw’s.

Ripley should capture the Smackdown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania and if so, it should mean The Judgment Day follow her to the blue brand after being on Raw for the last year. It would be a refresher for the group, present a wide range of new opponents and could place them as the top faction since The Bloodline is projected to fall.

More Wrestling News:

WWE Royal Rumble 2023 Review & Results: Zayn betrays The Bloodline, Rhodes and Ripley reign supreme

London home to first Premium Live Event in over 20 years with Money in the Bank set for July

WWE End of Year Awards: What was the best moment of 2022?

Braun Strowman and Ricochet set their sights on Smackdown Tag Team Championships

After not initially being in the Smackdown Tag Team Title contender’s tournament, Braun Strowman and Ricochet prevailed against Imperium to earn their shot against the fractured Usos.

The duo were brought in as a replacement for Sheamus and Drew McIntyre, after they were attacked by The Viking Raiders last week before their semi-final match and gave up their spot.

Gunther was ringside for the tournament final, but was later ejected when the referee saw the Intercontinental Champion push Ricochet. Imperium were lucky not to be disqualified, but it gifted their opponent momentum and proved costly in the end.

While Strowman and Ricochet are slated for their Smackdown Tag Team Championship match next week, it is unknown what state The Usos and in particular, Jey will be in. He did not make an appearance on Smackdown in light of his response to The Bloodline’s beatdown on Sami Zayn at the Royal Rumble.

Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn agree to title fight at Elimination Chamber

The WWE Universe had to wait nearly a whole week to witness the fallout of Sami Zayn’s exit from The Bloodline and on Friday Night Smackdown, he laid down the challenge to Roman Reigns for an Undisputed Universal Championship match.

The former Honorary Uce ambushed the Tribal Chief from behind in the closing stages of the show and demanded a title shot, before suffering an outnumbered assault from Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa.

Reigns then accepted Zayn’s request and made the decision for the match to be held at Elimination Chamber in the latter’s hometown of Montreal. The champion vowed to break his challenger in front of his family and loved ones, much like how Zayn caused Jey Uso to leave and break The Bloodline.

While some had hoped this contest would occur at WrestleMania, it was widely expected to take place at Elimination Chamber and could be the rebirth of Sami Zayn’s former babyface gimmick.

It is also anticipated that Jey Uso will interfere in Roman’s favour, which would lead to The Usos defending their Undisputed Tag Team Championships against Kevin Owens and the former Honorary Uce in Hollywood.

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