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WWE Elimination Chamber 2017 full match preview: Randy Orton vs Luke Harper

SmackDown Live’s longest running story adds another chapter this Sunday.

The Match up:

The 2017 Royal Rumble winner, Randy Orton, faces his former "brother" from the Wyatt Family, Luke Harper. These two Superstars will clash in the final brand pay-per-view before WrestleMania, at Elimination Chamber, this Sunday, February 12, 2017 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. Harper seeks revenge against Orton, who he feels has manipulated Bray Wyatt into ex-communicating Harper from the Family.

The Road to Elimination Chamber:

Randy Orton found himself, in the aftermath of his clash with Brock Lesnar after Summerslam last year, the target of Bray Wyatt. Wyatt wanted something from Orton. He needed to expose the Viper to the WWE Universe. Wyatt wanted to break Orton down and get inside his head. Much to Wyatt’s surprise, Orton played mind games with him as well, resisting the cult leader’s attempts with some of his own.

A match was set for No Mercy where Orton and Wyatt would get a chance to settle their differences. This is when a familiar face that had not been around for a while reemerged to lend his brother a helping hand.

Wyatt was victorious that night. But Wyatt and Harper were not through with Orton. They continued their games with Orton and his new-found ally, Kane.

Orton’s simple explanation for joining the Wyatts: If you can’t beat them, join them. Bray Wyatt welcomed Randy Orton with open arms. Luke Harper, on the other hand, was always cautious, often showing his paranoia to the Viper in subtle ways. If you were not paying attention, maybe you would not notice the death stare Harper always had on Orton.

Orton proved himself to Wyatt on several occasions, though. He sacrificed himself in the final moments of the RAW versus SmackDown Live men's elimination match at Survivor Series, taking a spear meant for Wyatt so the Family could be the last two survivors of their team. Orton also was Bray’s partner when the Family became SmackDown Tag Team Champions. While Orton was the star student, Harper was losing matches to Kane. Tensions arose when Wyatt would openly praise Orton yet chastise Harper for failing.

Then, on the last episode of SmackDown Live of last year, an interaction between Harper and Orton lead to America Alpha winning the Tag Team Championship. Then it happened again a couple of weeks later during a rematch. A huge argument between Orton and Harper went down in which Harper accidentally hit Bray and knocked him down. Cooler heads prevailed that night because Wyatt would put Orton and Harper against each other in a match to settle their differences.

Orton beat Harper. After the match, Bray delivered a Sister Abigail to Harper and left with Orton, essentially choosing Orton over Harper. Since then, Harper has sought out revenge from Orton while at the same time still showing signs of loyalty to Wyatt. Orton won the 2017 Royal Rumble match after Harper was kicked out of the Family. Harper feels like Orton has taken everything from him and he has nothing left to lose. And he promised to make Orton suffer before he takes everything from him.

Harper is now on his own and seemingly broken Wyatt’s grip on him completely. He has always been a dangerous man. Now he is a dangerous man with nothing left to lose.

The Stakes:

Luke Harper has always been loyal to Bray Wyatt. Right or wrong, good or bad, he has been right by his side, doing whatever is asked of him. And he feels wronged because his brother accepted a former enemy in the Family and allowed him to manipulate Bray into getting rid of Harper. There are no stated stakes here but allow me to float an idea.

If Luke Harper wins, because of the way General Manager Daniel Bryan runs the show, he could make an argument for deserving to be added to the WWE Championship match. After all, he beat the number one contender on pay-per-view. Only beating the actual champion is better than that. It’s just wishful thinking for where I feel this story is headed. Luke Harper has been amazing. I would love to see him get rewarded with a title mach at WrestleMania.

WWE Elimination Chamber airs this Sunday, February 12, 2017, on the WWE Network at 7 pm central time. Join us here at Cageside Seats in the live blog.

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