WWE SmackDown: Spoiler-Free Preview for Feb. 14

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WWE SmackDown: Spoiler-Free Preview for Feb. 14
Credit: WWE.com

The Valentine's Day edition of WWE SmackDown is sure to crush championship dreams for some and offer a bigger slice of the spotlight for others.

Randy Orton has to face another one of the enemies that await him inside the Elimination Chamber on Feb. 23. Big E Langston is set to get a new challenger, and Darren Young, Cesaro and Eva Marie get chances to grab the fans' attention.

Tag teams, temporary or otherwise, will be highlights of Friday's SmackDown as well.

For those who didn't attend the event live in Ontario, Calif., and have yet to read the spoilers, the following is a look at the matches on the card with the results omitted.

 

The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan, Sheamus and Christian

Three of the men set to battle inside the Elimination Chamber in less than two weeks must first face the toilsome task of challenging The Shield.

Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose continue to show signs of splintering as a group. In preparation for taking on The Wyatt Family, they are going to need to reinforce their union and move beyond their petty squabbles.

This team of former world champs offers "The Hounds of Justice" an opportunity to make a major statement.

This is the kind of all-star trio The Shield regularly faced in the early months following the group's debut. Perhaps revisiting that level of competition has them headed back to the cohesiveness that was once their strength.

 

Mark Henry vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger 

The victor here becomes the No. 1 contender for the Intercontinental Championship. Big E Langston will be watching intently as a varied group of opponents collide.

Henry would normally be the favorite here because of his size and power advantage. His injured arm is not yet recovered, though.

Ambrose attacked that body part to slow the big man on Monday's Raw. Mysterio, Kingston and Swagger will have to follow suit to survive a collision with "The World's Strongest Man."

Dean Ambrose exposes Mark Henry's weakness.

Swagger had to watch his tag team partner get a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the Jan. 31 edition of SmackDown. A win here offers him a title opportunity of his own.

The IC title is not as prestigious as Randy Orton's title, but it's a bigger prize these days with the two world titles now merged.

 

Alicia Fox vs. Eva Marie

The lack of depth in the Divas division is showing in a big way.

Naomi's eye injury and Kaitlyn recently exiting the company leaves WWE less options when setting up Divas bouts. That, and WWE's inexplicable confidence in Eva leads to a match like this.

Expectations will be low, as Eva's history in the ring has been underwhelming, to be kind.

Fox, like most of her peers, has been booked in countless tag team matches as of late. She'll get a chance at some solo spotlight here. Eva will be looking for an upset against the more experienced Fox, the first step to getting into the conversation as a contender for the Divas title.

 

The Usos, Goldust and Cody Rhodes vs. The New Age Outlaws, Ryback and Curtis Axel

Fans could be seeing Tag Team champs past, present and future in the same ring.

Goldust and Rhodes have been unable to take back their titles from The New Age Outlaws. The Usos have since become the de facto top contenders.

Both those squads look to impress in a match that features a variety of talent.

Power, speed, experience and intensity will all be on display. Will we see some hints in regard to if any of these teams get added to the Elimination Chamber card or just the kind of consistent action that has made the tag division so fun over the last few months?

 

Damien Sandow vs. Darren Young

Young gets his first singles challenge after Titus O'Neil ended their alliance in violent fashion. Unfortunately, though, he faces a man who is dangerously desperate.

Sandow's loss column has fattened immensely as of late, and he will likely do anything to reverse that trend.

Damien Sandow loses to Kofi Kingston on SmackDown.

Does Young's speed and athleticism overcome Sandow's cunning and mercilessness or vice versa? Either way, this is a fresh, intriguing matchup.

Momentum awaits the man who can outlast the other.

 

The Miz vs. Fandango

Miz has recently taken to interrupting other Superstars' matches and mocking them, saying he should be in action instead.

Miz interrupts a match on Raw.

This time around, he gets the opportunity he's been demanding. Fandango will look to make him regret being so eager to step into the ring.

The ballroom dancer has quietly racked up wins against Santino Marella and Xavier Woods in recent weeks. Miz is a step up from that level of foe.

"The Awesome One" is rumored, per F4WOnline (via WrestlingInc.com), to be part of a future partnership with Dolph Ziggler as a pair of disgruntled Superstars. If that plan come to pass, this could be the catalyst for that angle either by way of a frustrating loss or a momentum-building win.

 

Cesaro vs. Randy Orton

As his WWE.com profile suggests, Antonio Cesaro is apparently only using his last name from now on. 

Cesaro is set to be in his first pay-per-view main event, taking on five combatants in the Elimination Chamber.

He'll get his hands on one of those foes on Friday's SmackDown, as Orton will be forced to battle yet another of his Chamber opponents. Orton is 1-2 so far in these matches, his only win coming on last week's SmackDown against Christian

Will SmackDown serve him that well this time around, or will Cesaro earn the biggest victory of his career so far? "The Viper" will do anything to avoid losing any more momentum heading into his title defense. Cesaro is the only foe who has yet to wear a world title, so he does come in as an underdog.

This bout caps off a SmackDown episode built around compelling pairings and temporary partnerships. Orton's ring work has been fantastic for the most part.

He, Cesaro, the tag team division and the IC title hopefuls serve as excellent reasons to make sure to be around a TV when Friday night rolls around, Valentine's Day or not.

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