Damian Priest garnered momentum Monday night when he and Finn Balor defeated the Street Profits – Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins – ahead of this weekend’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.
Priest and Ford will be competitors in the Elimination Chamber match for the United States Championship against current champion Austin Theory, Seth Rollins, Johnny Gargano and Bronson Reed. Priest is looking to become a two-time champion.
In the unique setting, two superstars begin the match while the four others are enclosed in glass pods. The pods open at random and will continue until all the wrestlers are released. Wrestlers are eliminated via pinfall or submission only and the last man standing is declared the winner. This is one of the rare times when the U.S. title, and not the WWE or Universal Championship, is on the line.
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It will be Priest’s first time in the Elimination Chamber.
"I feel good. I’m excited," he told Fox News Digital in the days leading up to the event. "I feel ready. I’ve been putting in the work week after week, going through these awesome matchups and putting in the time. I just feel like I’m ready for something like this."
Because Priest has never been in a match like this before, he’s turned to his Judgment Day stablemate for some advice. Balor was in the 2018 match with the winner moving on to WrestleMania 34 to headline a WWE Universal Championship match. Balor was the fourth to be eliminated.
"Yeah, I spoke to him about it. It’s basically one of those things where you don’t know. It’s hard to prepare when you don’t know if you’re starting the match or you’re in a chamber. That changes the dynamic," he said. "It’s one of those things where you just got to be ready and at the top of your game with whoever you’re in the ring with. You just got to, like he explained to me, know how everybody works. Just make sure you know all their stuff and what you can do with them and just be ready for whoever’s in there when you come out."
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Priest, whose real name is Luis Martinez, stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs 250 pounds, which offers its own challenges in the enclosed cage. He said he’s scouted other Elimination Chamber matches to get a feel for how other men of his stature have fared.
"Anytime I’m in a match where it’s not just a basic wrestling match – whether it’s weapons or cage or ladders – I take my time walking around and basically surveying the land," he said. "So for Chamber, I would expect that as soon as I get to the arena, I’m going to go straight for the ringside area. Hopefully the Chamber will be set up and I could walk through it and feel it out and kind of plan out in my head how to use it to my advantage and what to avoid."
Priest isn’t the only member of Judgment Day to have a match at Elimination Chamber on Saturday night.
Balor will team up with 2023 women’s Royal Rumble winner Rhea Ripley in a mixed tag-team match against Edge and Beth Phoenix. Judgment Day and Edge and Phoenix have been going at each other over the course of the last year as the members of the faction turned on Edge.
Ripley got the advantage on Phoenix at Raw on Monday night when she came in to save Dominik Mysterio from a beatdown.
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Ripley has come on strong over the last year since she teamed up with Balor, Priest and Mysterio. Priest has noticed just how hard she’s worked to get to where she is and earn that SmackDown Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania 39.
"That’s my homie. Man, I’m so proud of her," Priest told Fox News Digital. "What I see is the cuffs are off. There’s nothing holding her back. She’s just letting lose. People who know her but are close to her like myself, we knew that she had this other side that, even as much as she accomplished, the WWE Universe and even her peers hadn’t seen everything Rhea could give."
"And I don’t think she has yet, but she’s definitely letting loose, and we’re getting to see a whole new level of Rhea Ripley. She’s earning everything and I can’t wait to see her just take everything that she deserves."
Elimination Chamber is set for 8 p.m. ET on Peacock at the Bell Centre in Montreal.