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WWE SmackDown Live preview (Feb. 14, 2017): Modern romance

After a short break between pay-per-view (PPV), Team Blue starts the long march to WrestleMania tonight in Anaheim.

The Headliners

New WWE World champ Bray Wyatt (cool as it sounds, it’s still gonna take a little getting used to) won the belt in convincing fashion, and expect the company to make a big deal out of his pinning John Cena and AJ Styles en route to his first singles gold.

While the Eater of Worlds celebrated in the Elimination Chamber on Sunday night, his “brother”, Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton made his way out to... not exactly staredown his prospective Mania opponent... but they definitely shared a moment.

There’s no shortage of intrigue about that potential main event for Orlando, but before we dive into whether it represents an end to the new Wyatt Family or just a pause in the Viper/Bray partnership, former champ Cena gets his rematch tonight.

There’s little chance Vince McMahon would give the Face That Runs the Place his record-setting 17th WWE title on a Tuesday night with only a couple days worth of build, but how he loses - and how a successful Wyatt title defense impacts Orton - will certainly be a key plot point not only for the Valentine’s Day edition of SmackDown, but April 2’s Showcase of the Immortals, as well.

The Title Scene

Bray wasn’t the only new champ crowned at Elimination Chamber, Naomi also achieved her dream of becoming Women’s champion with a victory over Alexa Bliss. Little Miss Bliss was full of excuses for why she lost... too much sun in Arizona, bad night’s sleep... but Naomi doesn’t want to hear it, and sounds willing to let Alexa feel the glow again in a rematch whenever, wherever.

Though his Intercontinental title wasn’t on the line at the PPV, Dean Ambrose does seem to have picked up a new challenger. Baron Corbin was livid when the Lunatic Fringe took advantage of his attention being elsewhere to pin him in the Chamber, and proceeded to decimate Dean so Miz could pick up an easy elimination. What will the champ and the Lone Wolf have to say to each other tonight?

After stacking the deck against themselves in a tag turmoil match and still coming out on top, what challenges await tag champs American Alpha? The Usos continue to be a thorn in the side, but haven’t been able to get over the hump and reclaim the belts, former champs Heath Slater & Rhyno remain popular and everyone is clamoring for a set of Top Guys for NXT. Chad Gable & Jason Jordan want to main event Mania as a duo some day, but first - they need a hot feud.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- In addition to Cena being the one to pin Miz in the Chamber match, Nikki Bella had a run-in (literally) with Maryse backstage. Was that the set-up for the rumored WrestleMania mixed tag?

- Even if it was, Nik has as much unfinished business as her beau this V-Day, since what the match that was supposed to end her personal rivalry with Natalya ended in an indecisive double countout.

- Elimination Chamber had three women’s matches, so there are lots of plot threads dangling in that division. Mickie James is fuming after losing to Becky Lynch, while Carmella is... up to something watching and critiquing the action with her boy toy Big Hog James Ellsworth.

- After being the man Bray pinned to claim the WWE title, there’s a lot of speculation (and no small amount of outrage) concerning what the best wrestler in the world, AJ Styles, will be doing at Mania.

- Despite losing the match, Dolph Ziggler stood tall amidst some uncomfortable adulation with his post-match beatdown of Kalisto & Apollo Crews. Will those two attempt to get revenge, or can we leave that behind us?

It’s the Elimination Chamber Fallout show!

What will you be looking for on SmackDown Live tonight?

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