Cesaro, Seth Rollins Start New Paths to WrestleMania, More WWE SmackDown Fallout

In preparation for WWE Elimination Chamber, the February 12 edition of Friday Night SmackDown featured major build-up to the event including multiple qualifiers for the Chamber match that would crown the next No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship.

This show did everything in its power to get excited about the rushed card, including highlighting rising veterans. No one perhaps was better showcased in that regard than Cesaro.

The Swiss Cyborg won in the main event alongside Daniel Bryan against the SmackDown tag team champion Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode. Cesaro fought through in a wrestling match of all pure veterans, battling through injury to earn a potential future shot at Roman Reigns.

Seth Rollins gave Cesaro more to think about after attacking The Swiss Cyborg in his return to SmackDown. With new music and a refreshed mindset, The Messiah offered the ultimate opportunity to anyone to join him on his quest to the top.

Shinsuke Nakamura got his own opportunity by challenging Big E for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. While the match was inconclusive, WWE has seemed to quietly sweep The Artist under the rug despite a brief unfulfilled resurgence.

The division left out of the excitement was the women’s division. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair fought Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, but The Legit Boss, The EST and more should have been potentially competing inside one of WWE”s most exciting structures.

While not everything landed as well as expected, this February edition of the blue brand set up some interesting discussions for WWE’s immediate future

WWE has gone in the other direction with Roman Reigns by turning him heel last year, and the decision has worked wonders for his character and the entertainment value of SmackDown on Friday nights.

Reigns was never as entrenched as Cena as WWE’s top guy, though, and it can be argued he needed the heel turn far more than Cena ever did.

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