SmackDown Results and Recap: Step Up To The King

Kimberly Schueler
Samoa Joe, Rowan, Daniel Bryan (source: WWE)

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 an 054 into an RKO and earn a victory that was probably much harder fought than he had expected.

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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 words, but they supported his general message of environmentalism. Rowan got a few less enthusiastically received words about the power of ideas in there too. This segment also included a video package that outlined the dangers and history of the Elimination Chamber.

Backstage, Bryan’s opponent for that night’s main event, Jeff Hardy, was upset by Bryan’s disrespect of the heritage of the WWE Championship. As he explained that, “You can’t change the ways of a mad man… Instead of telling him to shut up, I’m going to go out there and make him shut up,” he was interrupted by AJ Styles. Styles doubted that Hardy was the best person to be the next WWE Champion, and Hardy pointed out Styles’ recent losing record against Bryan. With genuine heat now between the two Southern men, Hardy said they’d settle their issues in the Elimination Chamber.

The Women’s Tag Team Elimination Chamber match was also previewed this episode when Fabulous Glow (the new team of Naomi and Carmella), The IIconics, and Fire and Desire (Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose) wrestled a triple threat match. In promos beforehand, Naomi said that Rose’s story about their interaction on Tough Enough was full of lies, The IIconics described how they’ve been teaming together since they were teens in Australia, and Rose and Deville pointed out the fact that they’re the only pair in this match to have competed in the Elimination Chamber before. Naomi and Carmella seemed to have made fast progress as a duo as they showed off a cool double team moonwalk-to-DDT, but it was Rose and Deville who looked the strongest going into the Chamber. They won the match after Rose was again able to pin her rival Naomi.

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.

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