The Champ and Kingston were the two left standing at the end of a gruelling men’s Chamber match for the gold.
But as he went toe-to-toe against the man with whom he started the bout some 35 minutes earlier. it quickly became apparent that Kingston would be the star of the night.
The 37-year-old is one of WWE’s unsung heroes. While he has done so much in claiming multiple titles – mostly in the tag team ranks – in his 13 years, there is a groundswell of opinion that he deserves at least one run as a world champion.
On this night he came mighty close. With tremendous fan support and real momentum, it looked like this might be the night as he came close with a number of near-falls.
At the end, Bryan capitalised on one mistake; Kingston missed a big splash from on top of one of the pods, the champ following up with his running knee to secure the victory.
Have the seeds been sewn for another match between these two at Wrestlemania? It may be a little too good to be true as a feelgood story, but fans will certainly hope.
Elsewhere on the night, history was made as Sasha Banks and Bayley became the first WWE Women’s tag team champions.
The match, again inside the Chamber, pitted the Raw duo up against five other teams from their own show and Smackdown Live.
Much like the WWE Championship match, this bout finished as it started, as Bayley and Banks saw off Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville – after the foursome had combined to see off Nia Jax and Tamina.
At the pivotal moment, a miscue saw Deville spear her own partner to allow Banks to lock in her Banks Statement submission hold for what was an historic victory.
That was not the only gold to change hands at Elimination Chamber. Despite only recently winning their titles, The Miz and Shane McMahon were usurped by The Usos.
The Miz looked to have the match won after a Skull Crushing Finale, but was shocked to see Jimmy Uso reverse into a pin of his own for the win.
The unseated champs looked to be unified at the end of the contest, but history teaches us to watch this space.
Another wrestler celebrating a huge win was Finn Balor. The popular Irishman manage to dispose of not only Bobby Lashley, the previous incumbent, but also his ‘hype man’, Lio Rush who was at ringside – clearing them both out with a stunning somersault senton on over the top rope.
That allowed Balor to get Lashley one-on-one and, thanks to a Coup de Grace, pick up a massive success.
The night did not go quite as planned for Raw Women’s Champion, Ronda Rousey. Rousey had picked up a routine win over Ruby Riott in a match that was over in a little more than 90 seconds. So far, so good.
But with her Wrestlemania challenger, Charlotte Flair, watching at ringside, both Rousey and Flair found themselves obliterated by an attack from ousted Becky Lynch. Lynch will almost certainly be in the Mania bout, too, but at the moment is serving a storyline suspension – no doubt more punishment is coming her way after this.
While you can fully understand the build to what will be such a huge match – likely the main event – of Wrestlemania and what came after the Rousey/Riott match, Riott herself deserved a lot more than a 90-second squash on pay per view.
She’s comfortably one of the most accomplished stars on the roster. She may not quite yet be at a main event level, but WWE could easily have accomplished their goals for the night while also letting Riott shine a little more.
Baron Corbin claimed a surprise win over Braun Strowman at Elimination Chamber – albeit with substantial help from Drew McIntyre, while the kick off show saw Buddy Murphy once again his Cruiserweight championship over Akira Tozawa.
WWE ELIMINATION CHAMBER QUICK RESULTS
Daniel Bryan (c) DEF. AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton, Samoa Joe and Kofi Kingston in an Elimination Chamber match to retain the WWE Championship
Finn Bálor DEF. Bobby Lashley (c) and Lio Rush in a handicap match to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Ronda Rousey (c) DEF. Ruby Riott by submission in a singles match to retain the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Baron Corbin DEF. Braun Strowman in a No Disqualification match
Buddy Murphy (c) DEF. Akira Tozawa in a singles match to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Bayley and Sasha Banks DEF Carmella and Naomi, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, Nia Jax and Tamina, The IIconics and The Riott Squad in a tag team Elimination Chamber match to become the inaugural WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions
The Usos DEF. The Miz and Shane McMahon (c) in a tag team match to win the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship