Typically, SmackDown Live is a show built on various stars with a diverse roster of talent, but the February 12 edition was all about one huge showdown, as a gauntlet match was set to decide who would enter Sunday's Elimination Chamber last.
Daniel Bryan would step into the ring with several opponents looking to take his WWE Championship: Randy Orton, Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, and AJ Styles. With this lineup of great talent all fighting for one precious spot, this was a match that dominated time on the blue brand.
It was unclear who would replace Mustafa Ali in the Chamber, with The Heart of 205 Live being removed from the match because of a concussion, setting up a huge announcement for the show.
The Miz also promised a special edition of "McMiz TV" with Shane McMahon hosting The Usos. With their title match just days away, this was the one real opportunity to sell the SmackDown Tag Team Championships clash.
After the shocking end to Raw, the blue brand was also picking up the pieces from WWE Chairman Vince McMahon suspending Becky Lynch for 60 days and replacing her in the title match against Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 35 with Charlotte Flair. This was The Queen's first opportunity to speak on the situation.
The episode was focused but vital as the final WWE event before the Elimination Chamber, with major issues hanging in the balance for The Show of Shows on April 7.
Charlotte Flair Gloats over Replacing Becky Lynch
Charlotte Flair opened the show to taunt the crowd and promise to steal the show at WrestleMania.
As the crowd booed her, The Queen declared she would also be ringside for Ronda Rousey's Elimination Chamber title match against Ruby Riott on Sunday to scout her future opponent.
Charlotte can often be hit-and-miss on the mic, but here she rode the wave of heat from the crowd with a strong follow-up to Raw's ending. She has found her ideal role for right now, but it is hard to say if this is the correct move.
It will take the next month to decide if WWE has this story under its control or has unnecessarily complicated an easy-money match.
The IIconics vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville vs. Naomi and Carmella
In this supposed Triple Threat tag team match, The IIconics tagged out immediately and refused to get back into the contest. This led to a clash between Naomi and Carmella and Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville.
Making up for last week's loss, Fabulous Glow ran down its opponents, with Naomi getting a measure of revenge against her longstanding rival, Rose, hitting a split-legged moonsault for the win.
Afterward, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay got some spotlight back by taking out the winners and standing tall.
Naomi and Carmella def. Rose and Deville and The IIconics by pinfall; Fire & Desire will start in the Elimination Chamber match
It was weird to repeat this match for the second week in a row, but The IIconics choosing not to compete changed up the dynamic and allowed Fabulous Glow to stand out. The new babyface team looked good together in a way it didn't last week.
It is interesting that the most likely winner in the Elimination Chamber will now be opening, setting up all the other teams as potential spoilers.
The Usos Give 'Best Tag Team in the World' a Reality Check on McMiz TV
Still riding high from their tag team title win at Royal Rumble, The Miz and Shane McMahon played it cool and confident on their new talk show, "McMiz TV," before introducing The Usos.
The twin brothers quickly soured the mood, though.
They called out Miz and McMahon for calling themselves "The Best Tag Team in the World," with the teams trading barbs that grew more personal by the second.
They eventually came to blows, with Jimmy and Jey Uso laying out the champions.
These teams deserved more time to sell this match because they are great together. Their charisma was off the charts in this encounter, but there was no story to tell. They just got angry with each other until The Usos laid out the champs.
This should be a great match to come, with The Miz and McMahon having to keep up with the brothers. Unfortunately, the result is hardly in question.
Bryan vs. Kingston vs. Hardy vs. Joe vs. Styles vs. Orton (Gauntlet)
Daniel Bryan cut another inspiring promo about how much he needs to win for the sake of the planet before The New Day arrived and announced Kofi Kingston would represent the group in the Elimination Chamber.
New Day's veteran pushed the champion to his limit and pinned him after Trouble in Paradise.
His incredible run continued as he caught Jeff Hardy with the SOS to take a second pinfall. Samoa Joe toyed with Kofi but was unable to stop his momentum, with the New Day member rolling him up out of the Coquina Clutch for another pinfall.
AJ Styles ran to the ring to save the New Day member from a post-elimination attack by Joe, and he tried to convince him to step down. However, the veteran refused to give up, forcing The Phenomenal One to make him tap out to the Calf Crusher.
As Styles gave Kofi credit for his effort, he turned around into an RKO to give Orton the victory.
Orton def. Styles, Kofi, Joe, Hardy and Bryan to earn the opportunity to enter the Elimination Chamber last
Just one day removed from reminding everyone that Seth Rollins' run to the top started with an incredible Gauntlet performance, Kofi had a showing to rival, if not exceed, that night; he survived 50 minutes and pinned Bryan, Hardy and Joe.
This was all about establishing The New Day ace as a threat, and it may have done more than that. Suddenly, Kofi looks a viable champion, hopefully setting him up for a fascinating Road to WrestleMania.
Orton's win also made perfect sense. He has always been an opportunist, and the RKO is a finisher built to defeat anyone. Styles vs. The Viper was also protected by the finish, which showed little of what they can do together for now.