The title contest was determined by the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match. Bryan outlasted Jey Uso, Kevin Owens, Cesaro, King Corbin and Sami Zayn inside the structure, meaning he earned the right to challenge The Tribal Chief for the universal belt afterward.
Reigns didn't waste any time coming down to the ring to give The Yes! Man his opportunity.
Bryan surprised the champion by applying the Yes! Lock right out of the gate, but Reigns powered out of the submission. The challenger was unable to put up much of a fight from there, and the match ended once the titleholder slapped on his Guillotine Choke.
The Tribal Chief was savoring his victory when Edge suddenly arrived to deliver a Spear. The men's Royal Rumble winner made it clear he's coming for the belt at WrestleMania 37.
WWE official Adam Pearce announced on the Feb. 12 edition of SmackDown that Reigns would have to defend the Universal Championship inside the chamber, but the titleholder immediately turned down the idea.
Paul Heyman explained that while The Tribal Chief was contractually obligated to defend the belt at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, his contract said nothing about being in the same-titled match.
Reigns said he would instead face the winner of the Chamber bout, and Pearce had no choice but to agree to his demands.
The WWE official announced straight away that Owens and Uso would be part of the six-man bout, and he then scrambled to put together some qualifying contests.
Sonya Deville helped him out by booking Corbin and Zayn against Rey and Dominik Mysterio. Corbin and Zayn won that match, leaving two open spots left to fill.
Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode lobbied for spots, resulting in them facing Bryan and Cesaro. By virtue of their win, The Yes! Man and The Swiss Cyborg rounded out a star-studded Elimination Chamber field.
There was no shortage of intriguing potential opponents for Reigns, with Bryan and Cesaro standing out especially, as well as Owens and Uso given their recent history with The Tribal Chief.
Bryan ultimately survived the six-man qualifier and got his shot at Reigns. Although he did not leave with the universal title, winning the Chamber is a big vote of confidence that should serve him well heading toward WrestleMania 37 on April 10-11.
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