John Cena kicked off SmackDown LIVE as a conquering hero returning from battle, and for very good reason. On Sunday, the “Never Give Up” Superstar overcame AJ Styles in an epic contest to become a 16-time World Champion – tying a record set by WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair.
While Cena was more than ready to get to business and discuss defending his crown against five opponents inside the Elimination Chamber in two weeks, he could not even complete a full thought before 2017 Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton and one of The Champ’s Elimination Chamber Match challengers, Bray Wyatt, interrupted.
The Eater of Worlds waxed poetic about how one way or another the WWE Championship would soon be the property of The Wyatt Family. The two then attempted to lambast Cena, however, Cena would soon have backup in the way of the exiled Luke Harper, who joined The Champ in combatting Orton & Wyatt. Because of the chaos, SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon arrived on the scene to say that the two pairs would square off in a tag team match … next!
These two pairs squared off following SmackDown LIVE Commisioner Shane McMahon's announcement.
In an interesting wrinkle, while Luke Harper seemed fully dedicated to assisting John Cena counteract The Viper, he still seemed hesitant to engage with The New Face of Fear. This would ultimately cost The Champ. For in the height of the action, as it appeared Harper might finally strike his former leader, bedlam ensued and allowed for Orton to hit the RKO on Cena and pick up a huge victory over the man he could potentially face at WrestleMania.
The Miz joined commentary for SmackDown LIVE’s main event as his fellow Elimination Chamber Match participants Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles prepared to rekindle their longstanding rivalry inside the ring.
From the start, The A-Lister openly criticized another Elimination Chamber competitor, Baron Corbin, for getting involved in his match with Ambrose last week, as The Lunatic Fringe and The Phenomenal One both looked to make a statement on The Road to WrestleMania.
Eventually, though, Miz’s bashing of Corbin backfired as The Lone Wolf joined him at the commentary desk. And as match’s intensity began to reach epic proportions, so did Miz and Corbin’s war of words. And in the final moments, their escalation led to them getting physical at ringside and becoming a distraction for Ambrose, who took both of them out, which led to Styles capitalize by hitting a Styles Clash on The Lunatic Fringe for the win.
After the contest, Miz and Corbin both got their licks in, first with Miz hitting the Skull-Crushing Finale on Ambrose and then Corbin taking out both Miz and Ambrose with End of Days as Corbin stood tall and jaw jacked with The Phenomenal One who continued to celebrate on the ramp.
In other action … Carmella def. Delilah Dawson … Dolph Ziggler def. Kalisto … Naomi & Becky Lynch def. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James … and chaos broke loose before SmackDown Tag Team Champions American Alpha’s open challenge ever began.