Raw Five-Point Preview: February 17, 2014

Raw Five-Point Preview: February 17, 2014

It’s one week until Elimination Chamber, and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton is sweating. He probably won’t admit it, but he’s in dire straits after being defeated by three of his five Elimination Chamber Match opponents in one-on-one matches, and his toughest fight is still yet to come in the Elimination Chamber Match itself. While The Viper tries to save face, Jack Swagger has made a huge power play and Daniel Bryan defied Authority orders to make an example out of Kane. What will happen on Monday’s Raw when these Superstars’ paths to Elimination Chamber reach a fever pitch?

The final test

Cesaro vs. Randy Orton: SmackDown, Feb. 14, 2014

Cesaro steps inside the ring with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton in the main event of SmackDown.

Randy Orton is – how to put this delicately – in deep trouble. The Authority’s faith in him seems to flip-flop every week, and the Champion of Champions hasn’t exactly risen to their challenge of taking out all five of his Elimination Chamber Match opponents in singles competition leading up to the brawl in "Satan’s Prison." The Viper is sitting less-than-pretty at 1-3 after his upset loss to Cesaro on SmackDown, and his final hurdle is against Sheamus, a man who’s got more pins than a bowling alley. The Apex Predator needs needs needs to win this one. Can he?

Uso, you didn’t know?

The Usos, Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. New Age Outlaws, Ryback & Curtis Axel: SmackDown, Feb. 14, 2014

The Usos & The Rhodes Brothers face the combination of WWE Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws and Ryback & Curtis Axel.

Maybe this notion of The Usos as WWE Tag Team Champions isn’t so bizarre after all. Not only did the brothers defeat the “Rybaxel” tag team on last Monday’s Raw, but they defeated the reigning Tag Team Champions in an Eight-Man Tag Team Match on SmackDown. The New Age Outlaws have been somewhat dismissive of the notion of The Usos as legitimate contenders to their titles, but the proof is in the pudding. Will the brothers finally get their opportunity?

UPDATE: It seems like, in fact, they will. How will the champions respond to their new No. 1 contenders?

Swagger’s ‘Big’ chance

Fatal 4-Way Intercontinental Title No. 1 Contender Match: SmackDown, Feb. 14, 2014

Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, and Jack Swagger all vie for an opportunity at Big E's Intercontinental Championship.

Jack Swagger has been the odd man out of The Real Americans ever since Cesaro qualified for the Elimination Chamber Match, though the former World Heavyweight Champion seemed to get back on track when he defeated Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio & Mark Henry to become the No. 1 contender to Big E’s Intercontinental Championship. Elimination Chamber is setting up to be a game-changer for Zeb Colter and his crew; can Swagger stay on the rebound from his recent misfortunes and keep The Real Americans running strong?

Not business, strictly personal

Kane accepts his punishment for attacking Daniel Bryan: Raw, Feb. 10, 2014

Despite Kane accepting his punishment, Daniel Bryan still manages to get some retribution.

Looks like strongly worded reprimands aren’t going to do much for Daniel Bryan, who gave his old buddy Kane a stronger reprimand right to the face courtesy of a running knee that sent the Director of Operations tumbling into the audience last Monday on Raw. Kane was absent from the proceedings on SmackDown, though it’s unlikely the “Yes!” man will get away without another confrontation from his former tag team partner Monday night.

Bombs away

Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio: Raw, Feb. 10, 2014

Alberto Del Rio faces Dolph Ziggler and then receives a little payback from Batista.

So Alberto Del Rio got what he wanted – he’ll face Batista at Elimination Chamber – and he also may have gotten more than he bargained for, as a Batista Bomb through the announce table likely demonstrated on Monday. Now that The Animal has zeroed in on Del Rio as his target, though, the former WWE and World Heavyweight Champion has to start thinking strategy. Can Del Rio find a way to neutralize Batista before Elimination Chamber? Or is it simply just a matter of time before he’s disposed of by the Royal Rumble Match winner? Find out Monday at 8/7 CT, live on USA Network!

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