As The Viper renewed a “charismatic” rivalry on an explosive SmackDown, Daniel Bryan faced the consequences of criticizing The Authority's Director of Operations and two dominant factions tested the waters of their impending Elimination Chamber pay-per-view match.
Daniel Bryan opened SmackDown, claiming that while The Authority had hinted he might be the new “Face of WWE” if he could beat Randy Orton on Raw, he had no interest in the job. Instead, Bryan wanted to talk about Director of Operations Kane chokeslamming him at that match's conclusion. And he wasted no time calling out the “Big Red Corporate Sellout.”
For his part, Kane apologized to Bryan for his Monday night actions – on behalf of The Authority – claiming that he had acted on his own.
When The Beard demanded his former Team Hell No tag team partner go get his mask and get rid of the Corporate persona, Kane stated that they were never friends and that he likes things just the way they are. Rather than accept Bryan's challenge to fight him, the Director of Operations decided to put The Beard into a contest against fellow Elimination Chamber participant, Antonio Cesaro!
As United States Champion Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns teamed together against Dolph Ziggler & Kofi Kingston, Seth Rollins sat in with the SmackDown announce team – vehemently denying that any problems existed between the members of The Shield.
However, when Ambrose tried to tag himself into the match – just as he had done on Raw – the look on Roman Reigns’ face showed anything by unity. Then, after Kingston was grounded outside the ring, Reigns blasted The Showoff with a Superman Punch/Spear combination. He then decided to make a point to his partner, tagging Ambrose in to the match and allowing him to pick up the effortless three-count.
While The Hounds of Justice began bickering after the bell, the appearance of The Wyatt Family on the TitanTron quickly drew their focus – as The Eater of Worlds and his disciples offered another creepy message to their Elimination Chamber pay-per-view opponents.
Four days after defeating Curtis Axel on Raw, Sheamus battled Ryback on SmackDown. While The Celtic Warrior took out Axel early with a Brogue Kick outside the ring, The Human Wrecking Ball unleashed a powerful assault on the three-time World Champion.
However, when Ryback missed an uncharacteristic splash attempt off the top rope, Sheamus again took charge. Though his first Brogue Kick was countered by his fierce foe, Sheamus finally connected with his boot as Ryback attempted the Meat Hook Clothesline, leading to a big Friday night win for the recently returned Irish Superstar.
While Daniel Bryan ultimately triumphed in a hard-fought contest – overcoming his fellow Elimination Chamber Match competitor, Antonio Cesaro, with the “Yes!” Lock – the action did not end there. Kane emerged moments after the bell, opening the door for Cesaro to attack The Beard from behind and hit him with a post-match Neutralizer. The Director of Operations then entered the ring and delivered another chokeslam to the former WWE Champion.
Following a strong debut in the Royal Rumble Match, Alexander Rusev journeyed to Friday night with a message of superiority.
Seconds after an entanglement between Tamina and Brie Bella broke out on the ring apron, Nikki Bella accidently launched AJ Lee into Brie. The opportunistic Divas Champion took full advantage of the distraction, locking in the Black Widow on Nikki to make the “Total Diva” tap out.
As Titus O’Neil was “interviewing” Renee Young about his assault on former tag team partner Darren Young one week ago, Mr. No Days Off launched his own attack of retribution and left Titus reeling.
In the wake of their WWE Tag Team Title Rematch loss inside a steel cage on Raw – highlighted by Cody Rhodes’ bold moonsault attempt off the top of the structure – the Rhodes brothers described themselves as “desperate.”
With that in mind, Goldust went to battle against Bray Wyatt, determined to get things back on track. But when Luke Harper and Erick Rowan attacked Cody outside the ring at the height of the action, The Bizarre One was distracted enough for Bray to take charge and ultimately triumph with Sister Abigail.
As the smoke cleared, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins appeared on the TitanTron and explained why The Wyatt Family will learn to believe in The Shield.
Longstanding adversaries WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton and Christian went head-to-head in SmackDown's main event – a match made as part of The Authority's edict that the “Face of WWE” should battle each of his Elimination Chamber Match opponents in the weeks leading up to the career-changing pay-per-view showdown.
While Captain Charisma's all-out slugfest against The Viper would not disappoint for one second, in the end, Orton would catch Christian coming off the turnbuckle and deliver a mid-air RKO for the victory.
Will WWE's Apex Predator have the same good fortune when he faces John Cena this Monday on Raw?
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The Shield (Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns) (w/ Seth Rollins) defeated Dolph Ziggler & Kofi Kingston (10:30)
- Sheamus defeated Ryback (w/ Curtis Axel) (6:01)
- Daniel Bryan defeated Antonio Cesaro (w/ Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter) (11:06)
- AJ Lee (w/ Tamina Snuka) defeated Nikki Bella (w/ Brie Bella) (2:20)
- Bray Wyatt (w/ Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) defeated Goldust (w/ Cody Rhodes) (3:20)
- Randy Orton defeated Christian (12:34)
- Dark match: Daniel Bryan defeated Bray Wyatt by DQ
Other on-screen talent
Daniel Bryan took issue with Kane
Ambrose & Reigns v Ziggler & Kingston
Sheamus v Ryback
Daniel Bryan v Antonio Cesaro
AJ Lee v Nikki Bella