Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt def. WWE Champion John Cena and Luke Harper
Cena's promo wasn't exactly what I was hoping from him coming off his historic WWE Championship victory at the Royal Rumble, but it wasn't terrible, either. It was just the "business as usual" approach from him, which was uninspiring. I know it more than likely isn't happening, but I don't even want to entertain the idea of Cena and Orton facing off for the WWE title at WrestleMania. This was a solid tag team match, and Orton pinning Cena surprised me, though Harper's involvement was what mainly held my interest. I was half-expecting Harper to turn on Cena, so thankfully that didn't happen.
Carmella def. Delilah Dawson
It's encouraging Carmella continues to receive television time despite not being a part of a program at the moment, but her pairing with James Ellsworth does absolutely nothing for me. I think we all knew from the get-go that Ellsworth wouldn't last long as a scrappy underdog, but there is only so much they can do with him in this role, too. On the bright side, JBL screaming that Ellsworth should have been with "the blue thing" instead was hilarious.
Dolph Ziggler def. Kalisto
Well, we've seen this match two times before, and nothing ever seems to change. Ziggler still comes out to that tired, annoying entrance music. He still has the same stupid gear. And his matches with Kalisto are still under three minutes long. What do either of them really gain from this? Ziggler turning heel was a step in the right direction, but he's been treading water over the past month. Hopefully his likely match with Apollo Crews at Elimination Chamber heats up his character a bit.
Naomi and Becky Lynch def. SmackDown Women's Champion Alexa Bliss and Mickie James
Lynch has had the odds stacked against her in her feud with Bliss and James in recent week, so it made sense from a storyline standpoint for Naomi to team up with her. It was a well-wrestled enough match and Naomi didn't feel out of place coming off her win over Bliss at Royal Rumble. I also didn't mind her beating Bliss for a second time here as it clearly sets her up for a title shot at Elimination Chamber. Meanwhile, James was protected in defeat.
SmackDown Live's Tag Team Division Brawled
I praised SmackDown's tag team division as being superior to Raw's for quite some time, but it's no longer better. They may have a surplus of tandems, but none of them mean a damn thing. Even American Alpha feel directionless at the moment because they're on TV so inconsistently. It looks like we'll receive another tag team Elimination Chamber match next Sunday, and I'm skeptical because the last one wasn't that great. Can WWE just bring back The World's Greatest Tag Team to feud with American Alpha and call it a day?
AJ Styles def. Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose (Non-title)
I can't say I was too thrilled about seeing Styles and Ambrose rekindle their rivalry so soon after their incredible TLC match last month, but it's hard to complain when all of their encounters are above-average. I was happy they were given a ton of time to work with and they more than made the most of it. The Miz and Baron Corbin added even more excitement to the match with their presence at ringside and Styles going over was the right move, though I'm not typically a fan of champions losing non-title matches. Additionally, Corbin as the last man standing was refreshing and I look forward to him having a strong showing inside the Chamber.
SmackDown is at a distinct disadvantage of literally having a very brief turnaround time of only two weeks between pay-per-views, but the Elimination Chamber match essentially sells itself, and the seeds had already been planted for the women's matches as well as Ziggler vs. Crews. The rest of the card could use some work, but I'm sure they'll find a way to fill it out. This wasn't the most exciting edition of SmackDown this year, but there was some solid storyline progression and logical follow-up from the Rumble.
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