WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Triple H confronts Becky Lynch, Elimination Chamber melee
Lynch is proving to be the anti-authority figure everyone perceives her to be
Given the brand split, it's very rare these days that a top storyline from Raw on a Monday night will spill over into the SmackDown episode the following evening. This week, however, that's exactly what we got as "The Man" Becky Lynch returned home to the blue brand just 24 hours after assaulting Stephanie McMahon in the wake of being handed a suspension. Lynch initially returned to continue her long-running feud with Charlotte Flair, but as it turns out, her former best friend was the least of her worries as she drew the wrath of a McMahon family member yet again.
Let's have a look at everything that went down on SmackDown Live Tuesday night, with the Elimination Chamber event fast approaching.
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Becky Lynch deals with Triple H
Charlotte Flair was out to open SmackDown on Tuesday, just one week after the brawl with Becky Lynch. Flair addressed Lynch's attack on Stephanie McMahon from Raw on Monday night, citing the fact that she let her arrogance get the best of her with the events that led to her suspension. After mocking the chants for Lynch from the crowd, Flair said that she knows someone who's 100 percent healthy and would love to face Rousey at WrestleMania. As Flair was pointing towards the WrestleMania sign, Lynch made her way through the crowd and down to the ring. Officials quickly rushed in to keep the two apart as they argued.
A visibly upset Triple H was out next, telling Lynch to go home and see the doctor. Flair was still taunting Lynch on the microphone, which led to Triple H telling her to get out of the ring because none of this concerns her. He promptly reminded Lynch -- more than once -- that it's very simple if she wants her suspension lifted: all she has to do to get cleared is to go see the doctor. As Triple H was exiting the ring, Lynch asked him how Stephanie was doing and if she was medically cleared after getting punched in the face on Monday. The boss, now even more incensed, told Lynch that she's not "The Man" at all, rather she's a self-destructor who's only looking to be a martyr. Triple H is of the belief that Lynch constantly seeks a way out because she's scared; as a matter of fact, he questioned whether Lynch's knee is actually injured right now. When it comes down to it, Triple H thinks Lynch is scared of being exposed by Rousey at WrestleMania. That final comment caused Lynch to slap Triple H across the face, striking a member of top-level management for the second time in as many nights. Lynch stared down Triple H before leaving through the crowd.
If it wasn't abundantly clear on Monday night, the point was certainly driven home on Tuesday that Lynch is the new prominent anti-authority figure on WWE television -- which is not necessarily a bad thing, as some will be quick to believe. The showdown with McMahon on Monday night was expected at some point in the WrestleMania build even before the announcement, but seeing Lynch squaring off with the man who helped guide her through NXT gave this all an even more special feel. This company is completely behind Lynch as her superstardom continues to skyrocket. In the midst of all this, though, another point left out there in the open is that it's still very much in play that Flair eventually joins the Lynch-Rousey WrestleMania main event party -- which will draw the ire of a good portion of the fans. Grade: B
Elimination Chamber participants battle
The WWE champion was out to the ring mid-show, and he was introduced as the "favorite son of Washington," which drew loud cheers from the fans in Everett, Washington. Bryan, in front of his home-state crowd, said it was nice to finally be in front of people who understand what he's trying to do here. Holding up his new hemp title, Bryan said his new championship is not only a symbol of excellence but a symbol of change as well. Rowan took a turn to talk -- shocking, I know -- and said that people fear he and Bryan because of their intelligence. Once again, Bryan proclaimed that he's the planet's champion but he revealed that management doesn't like it; that's why they're sticking him in an Elimination Chamber match. He then threw to a video package showcasing just how dangerous a Chamber bout is. The champ capped off the promo by saying that the planet needs him as champion.
Backstage, Jeff Hardy, Bryan's opponent for Tuesday night, said he's offended as a former WWE champion. AJ Styles interrupted and said that he couldn't agree more, but he also questioned whether Hardy could be a good WWE champ given his recent history. Hardy shot back and said maybe Styles isn't the best fit either since he can't beat Bryan, but they'll find out in the Elimination Chamber.
Jeff Hardy def. Daniel Bryan via disqualification: Hardy hit the Swanton Bomb, but as he was going for the cover, Rowan pulled him to the outside and assaulted him to cause the DQ finish.
After the match, Bryan slapped the Labell Lock on Hardy, but Samoa Joe came out and put Bryan in the Coquina Clutch. This brought out Randy Orton who exchanged punches with Joe, and Mustafa Ali joined the fracas next, connecting with a double missile dropkick to Orton and Joe. Finally, Styles cleaned house to stand tall as Bryan retreated up the ramp. In gorilla position, Bryan went on a vicious rant regarding the brawl, and finished with again stating that he'll be champion forever.
There was a lot happening here tonight with the six Elimination Chamber participants, but with less than two weeks to build and the match having been made just last week, there really are no other options. If there is one interesting layer to this match, though, it's the fact that it doesn't seem 100 percent obvious that Bryan will be walking out with that title given the plethora of talent included in the bout -- unless he enlists more help than just Rowan. Grade: C+
What else happened on SmackDown?
- Rusev & Shinsuke Nakamura def. The Good Brothers via pinfall: Rusev & Nakamura are off to a successful start as a team, picking up the victory after Rusev took out Karl Anderson with the Machka Kick.
- The Usos return next week: The challengers for the tag team championship cut a brief backstage promo on champions Miz & Shane McMahon, finishing with saying that next week things will get locked down.
- Randy Orton def. Mustafa Ali via pinfall: This was a terrific match with a clearly motivated Orton (which is always a good thing), and the finish may be the in-ring highlight of the week. Ali was aiming for another major upset, climbing to the top for the 0-5-4. As he did, Orton pulled his feet out from underneath him and caught him with a gorgeous RKO in mid-air followed by the pinfall. Afterwards, Samoa Joe snuck up from behind and slapped Orton in the Coquina Clutch before he could properly celebrate the win. Backstage, Joe cut an emotional promo about the attack on Orton being revenge for the RKO that was delivered on the Royal Rumble go-home show while saying he's ready to win the WWE title in the Elimination Chamber.
- Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville def. Naomi (via pinfall) & Carmella and The IIconics: The story in this one, ultimately, was the ongoing rivalry between Rose and Naomi. Rose again got the upperhand here, earning the pinfall on Naomi after a sit-out gourdbuster.
- Andrade and Zelina Vega taunt Rey Mysterio more: Backstage, Andrade and Vega wanted to talk about the legend of Mysterio. Vega said that Mysterio is a folktale from the past. Andrade stomped out the legend last week because he had to, and the legend of Andrade will begins with Mysterio's end.
- Asuka vignette: After recapping the saga with Lynch and Flair, Tom Phillips asked if anyone was ready for Asuka and a vignette aired featuring highlights of the reigning SmackDown women's champion. Afterwards, Phillips questioned who will step up to the champion in the future -- leading you to believe that the company may in fact not have a plan as of right now.
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