The February 5, 2019 episode of WWE SmackDown Live included a tense confrontation between Becky Lynch and Triple H, singles matches between some of the men who will face off for the WWE Championship in the Elimination Chamber, and the unlikely alliance of Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev.
The episode opened with a confrontation between Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and eventually, Triple H, which you can read all about here.
Later in the show, a video package outlined the WWE main roster career of SmackDown Women’s Champion Asuka. Commentary and the video questioned if—like fans were asking this time last year—anyone is ready for her.
The first match of the night was a tag team but between Good Brothers Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson and the unlikely duo of Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev, with Lana at their side. Nakamura and Rusev almost immediately lost while distracted with an argument over a tag. However, they soon started working together and turned out to make a pretty dominant team as they focused their offense on Anderson. Gallows was finally able to be tagged in against Rusev and fight off an interfering Nakamura. However, aggressive encouragement from Lana still helped lead the pair of former United States Champions to victory, as well as maybe something like mutual respect.
SmackDown newcomer Mustafa Ali then faced WWE veteran Randy Orton, who told the audience in a pre-recorded promo that he hadn’t even bothered to learn his opponent’s name. Orton had the size and experience advantage but seemed to have underestimated the former 205 Live Superstar, who just would not quit.
Ali was able to escape an attack from “The Viper” by the announce table and keep his momentum going back inside the ring. He showed he had scouted Orton’s finishing move when he faked him out into going for an RKO, then used the moment to hit him with a DDT. However, Orton was still able to recover fast enough to counter
But despite Orton’s win, Samoa Joe managed to come out of this match looking like the biggest threat going into the men’s Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship. He ran into the ring, locked the Coquina Clutch on Orton, and kicked Ali to the ground for some Royal Rumble revenge. As he exited, WWE Champion Daniel Bryan and Rowan entered the arena, and Bryan backed away from Joe when they briefly met on the entrance ramp. Backstage, Joe cut an eloquent promo about how the ends of him winning the WWE Championship at the next pay-per-view justify his aggressive tactics.
Daniel Bryan—introduced to his home-state crowd as “the favorite son of Washington”—cut an unusually friendly promo about why the masses and the planet need him to remain WWE Champion. The audience didn’t cheer some of his harsher
Backstage, Bryan’s opponent for that night’s main event, Jeff Hardy, was upset by Bryan’s
The Women’s Tag Team Elimination Chamber match
The night’s main event of Jeff Hardy vs. Daniel Bryan had a less definitive ending. Both men fought hard, with distractions from Rowan helping Bryan use extra-legal tactics outside of the ring. But like last week’s last match, everything ended chaotically when the men’s Elimination Chamber competitors got involved. First Joe, then Orton, then Ali, then Styles entered the ring to throw hands. It was Styles, showing that recently activated killer instinct, who ended the show standing alone in the ring, staring down The New Daniel Bryan.