Tag Team Turmoil match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships
American Alpha (c) vs. The Usos vs. The Ascension vs. Breezango vs. The Vaudevillains vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno
What’s the perfect gimmick match for 6 teams fighting on a pay-per-view named Elimination Chamber? Tag team Turmoil! Duh.
The Road to Elimination Chamber
American Alpha was bored of just sitting in the corner doing nothing in January, so as the month ended they issued an open challenge to any team in the locker room who wanted a shot at their tag team gold.
Every single team hanging out backstage decided to answer the call, and a wild melee ensued:
Daniel Bryan saw the chaos go down and decided that the best way to settle this situation was to pit these 6 teams against each other at Elimination Chamber 2017 in a Tag Team Turmoil match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
The rules of Tag Team Turmoil are simple: two teams start the match and when one team takes a fall, they are eliminated and a new team comes out to take their spot. This continues until only one team is left standing tall, and that team will be declared the winners.
The luck of the draw is certainly a factor here, and American Alpha could see their championship reign come to a quick end if they draw the unlucky number one or two positions in the lineup.
So why isn’t this match taking place inside the Elimination Chamber structure?
There are two potential reasons for why these 6 teams won’t get to use that giant steel chamber hanging above the ring.
The optimistic reason is that WWE is going to debut a new team as a surprise 7th entrant into Tag Team Turmoil (perhaps the Revival), and so the chamber gimmick would not be conducive to such a surprise because all 6 teams would be inside the chamber; there is no pathway for a 7th team to enter the match.
The pessimistic reason is that WWE simply doesn’t think these teams are worth giving a 25-minute match right now. It can be argued that 3 of these teams are longtime jobbers and the other 3 teams (including the champs) have been deemphasized on SmackDown television ever since the calendar flipped to 2017.
The rules of the chamber match require at least 16 to 20 minutes of match time, depending on whether 4 or 5 minute waiting intervals are used between chamber openings. And then you could probably tack on another 5 minutes or so to settle things once all the teams have entered the match.
And the harsh truth is that these teams aren’t important enough right now to get that kind of time on this card. I have studied the match times on all WWE PPVs since 2013, and most of these 3-hour events include between 90 to 100 minutes of match time. Only 3 of the non-Rumble 3-hour events ever broke past 100 minutes of match time, and none of them have reached 107 minutes.
I can look at the rest of the Elimination Chamber 2017 lineup and see about 85 minutes of match time already going to the other 6 matches: 35 minutes for the main event chamber, 15 minutes for Orton, 30 minutes combined for the 3 women’s matches, and conservatively giving 5 minutes to Ziggler. I don’t think I am wildly inflating any of these estimates here, and with roughly 85 minutes right there, there probably isn’t enough time remaining for these tag teams to get the 20 to 25 minutes that is required for the chamber gimmick. Tag Team Turmoil will more likely go somewhere between 10 to 15 minutes.
One caveat is that WWE could always extend the card beyond 3 hours to accommodate extra time here, but it’s also worth noting that all 3 SmackDown-exclusive pay-per-views of this new era ended up with total show times of less than 2 hours and 44 minutes.
What’s at stake?
The SmackDown tag team championships will be on the line when these 6 teams go to war under Tag Team Turmoil rules. If American Alpha defeats all 5 other teams and retains the straps, what option does that really leave them for an interesting WrestleMania 33 pre-show opponent? Is WWE better served giving the belts to one of the other 5 teams in order to give a sudden shake-up to this seemingly forgotten tag team division?
Tune into Elimination Chamber 2017 and keep it here on Cageside Seats to see which teams survives Tag team Turmoil!