• Jayden Becker

WWE Smackdown Review 6/19/20


Another week, another episode of Friday Night Smackdown. After a tough week in the world of the WWE due to health and awareness issues, this episode of Smackdown was still able to show the debut of NXT Star Matt Riddle. Bray Wyatt and his firefly fun house returns after his loss at Money in the Bank.


Nikki Cross gets her hands on Bayley and Sasha Banks. Jeff Hardy speaks out after his loss to Sheamus. Shorty G stands up to another taller opponent.


It’s Friday Night Smackdown on FOX, let's jump right into it.


AJ Styles Intercontinental Championship Ceremony


With superstars surrounding the ring, Renee Young is set to present the Intercontinental Championship to AJ Styles who won the belt the week prior. To Styles, this is vindication. Styles asks Daniel Bryan, the man he beat for the title, to put the belt on him. Reluctantly, Bryan obliges. Bryan then puts up his friend Drew Gulak for a title shot. Styles doesn’t take well to this as he believes only the best of the best will get a title shot and if anyone speaks out against that, they will deal with consequences.


With that being said, Matt Riddle makes his entrance. Riddle was formerly an NXT talent that took the world by storm with his unique gimmick and style. The laid back rookie utters, “What’s up Bro!” to the new Intercontinental Champion. Riddle then believes he will take Styles places as the “Bro who runs the show.”


Styles gives him a cheap shot but Riddle stunning the rookie. Riddle drills Styles out the ring with a strong kick. A disgruntled champion calls for an official to make the encounter between the two a match.


Takeaways:


I’ll go one and talk about Riddle in the next segment given news surfacing about Riddle’s past. We got our first good look at the new belt. Much like the North American championship, the strap is wide and very strong compared to the previous belt. The dark strap and gold plating make the belt look very powerful. It's very different from the classic iconic look but at least it’s better than the sad oval from the late 90s and 2000s.


AJ Styles vs Matt Riddle


Due to the brawl between the two, this match is now official. Originally it’s believed that this match is for the title but AJ Styles calls it off at the last minute. Superstars continue to surround the ring although this isn’t a lumberjack match, they are just there as fans (how odd).


Riddle starts this match very strong with lethal strikes and well rounded grappling moves. As action falls outside the ring, Riddle is pushed into King Corbin. Corbin shoves Riddle back before Styles dives from inside the ring with a flying dropkick.


Back in the ring, Riddle connects with the Broton (Senton) and the Bromission (Rear naked choke). Styles locks in the calf crusher but is broken with Riddle reaching the bottom rope. Styles rolls out of the ring and pushes Bryan away from Riddle. Bryan at the time was given the rookie some motivation.


Styles tries for the phenomenal forearm but is caught into the Bro Gerrick, an inverted neutralizer. Matt Riddle pins and beats the Intercontinental Champion. As Riddle stands tall, Daniel Bryan raises his hand in victory.


Takeaways:


News released after his victory about real-life sexual assault allegation against Riddle. Candy Cartwright, a professional wrestler working on the independent scene, accused Riddle through multiple tweets of incidents that occurred during their time on the road. This comes after the #SpeakingOut movement that has allowed female professional wrestlers to out the dark past of sexual assault and rape in the world of professional wrestling. Riddle has denied the claims against him and WWE has started an investigation.


With that being said, this debut made Riddle look very strong. With most of the Smackdown roster backing him in his debut by literally standing ringside and Daniel Bryan raising his hand, Riddle has gotten the green checkmark from not only the locker room but management. This debut reminded me of the John Cena debut, except this time the rookie won.


We honestly don’t know what will happen to Riddle next given the surfacing of Cartwright’s accusations.


Jeff Hardy Interview


The last we saw Jeff Hardy was at Backlash when he lost to rival Sheamus. Hardy feels just when one fire in his life is extinguished another appears. As he dealt with his loss at Backlash, he has started to doubt himself.


Hardy finds that the truth in all of this lies in Sheamus. Hardy believes that he doesn’t have the problem. It is Sheamus who is the one with a bullying problem, with his insecurities. The veteran is not done yet.


Takeaways:


Sheamus and hardy will probably have another match down the line but Sheamus has been built as a great heel. The see-saw career of Sheamus is once again on the upswing and I think we should be happy that is the case.


With this being most likely being Hardy’s final run. I would love to see him hang it up in front of us, the fans who have been through all of his ups and downs in his professional wrestling career. Either way, Extreme Rules a month away and I would love to see some Extreme from him.


Shorty G vs Mojo Rawley


Before the match gets underway, Shorty G backstage is participating in an interview. Behind him is Mojo Rawley making fun of his height. Shorty G strikes Rawley to end the interview as he walks to the ring for his match.


As the bell rings, Rawley starts hot. A German suplex drops Rawley with Shorty G now in control. As Shorty G heads to the top rope, Rawley catches him during a crossbody. Shorty G maneuvers himself to roll up Rawley. 1… 2… 3, Shorty G sneaks a victory over Mojo Rawley.


Takeaways:


Some make think that this gimmick is played but I think it still holds up. The only thing that still bothers me is the name change from Chad Gable to Shorty G. Either way, it's a gimmick that works for him and it’s as simple as that. A push would be fun but it's tough to see where he would go from here. Low to mid-card stud that can grow.


Miz TV with Mandy Rose


Before Miz and Morrison introduce their guests, they describe their loss at Backlash as not the fault of their own. Their focus was divided between Strowman and Otis who could’ve cashed in at anytime


Mandy Rose is introduced and is insulted by both Miz and Morrison as they start their interview. Miz and Morrison introduce Rose’s former best friend Sonya Deville. Deville verbally attacks Rose similar to weeks past. Deville is angered that Rose is still getting opportunities although she has won more matches.


The two start to brawl in the ring throwing haymakers. As soon as Rose gets the advantage, Miz and Morrison block the way of Rose to attack Deville as she rolls out of the ring. Mandy Rose slaps the Miz across the face for interfering.


Takeaways:


This feud has been on and off for a while and has been turned on again in this episode. Either Deville or Rose will have a breakout moment at the end of this. Arguably, Deville has already had her moment when cutting that great original promo when she turned heel.


Otis noticeably not appearing with Rose in this segment. This shows that this segment was intently about Deville and Rose’s former friendship, not Otis.


The New Day vs Lucha House Party


With the Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks and Bayley on commentary, the men’s tag team division has a match scheduled between Lucha House Party and Smackdown Tag Team Champions The New Day.


With both Kofi Kingston and Big E knocked outside of the ring, Lucha House Party connects with splashes to the outside. Backstage, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura look on after their victory against the New Day a week prior.


To finish the match, Big E and Kofi Kingston land a huge double team moves to finish off Lucha House Party. Before they can celebrate, however, Cesaro and Nakamura attack the champions from behind. The two stand tall as their rivalry grows week by week.


Takeaways:


With Cesaro and Nakamura stuck with Sami Zayn taking time off to COVID-19, it was up in the air where these two would land. Now being put into the crowded Smackdown Tag Team picture pushes the two superstars to the spotlight of the card, a place once held by both of them in past years.


The Cesaro, “I’m sick of being overlooked” line not only rings true for the storyline but his career as a whole.


Sasha Banks w/ Bayley vs Nikki Cross w/ Alexa Bliss


As the show returns from break, Nikki Cross attacks both Sasha Banks and Bayley who was still sitting at the commentary table. Cross calls out Banks for a match, Bayley accepts for her friend.


Banks is in control early on until action falls outside. Cross makes use of the ring skirt to trap Banks allowing for easy strikes. The two go back and forth with multiple pin attempts. Fed up, Banks connects with a Meteora pinning the shoulders of Cross. 1… 2… 3, Banks pins and wins beating Nikki Cross.


Takeaways:


Banks has been pushed extremely hard as a dominant force. She has been doing this most of her career but now it is really in your face. Her eventual babyface turn could turn her into the new face of the WWE women’s division with Becky Lynch gone during her pregnancy.


Return of the Firefly Funhouse


Bray Wyatt hasn't appeared on WWE television since his loss to Braun Strowman at Money in the Bank. This episode of Smackdown sees the return of the former Universal Champion. According to Wyatt, he has done many things since his loss including resuscitating the dead.


Before he can continue, Strowman enters the ring with Wyatt on the Titan Tron. Strowman tells Wyatt that he had his opportunity and failed to capitalize. Wyatt laughs at the thought of his story being over.


Wyatt wasn’t joking about resuscitating the dead as he transformed into his former self, the cult leader Bray Wyatt in his rocking chair. Wyatt proclaims that in order to go forward you must take a step back and that all you have to do is follow the buzzards.


Takeaways:


Excuse me, I’m having a Bray Wyatt geek-out moment. I just can’t get enough of him. Welcome back to our screens, please don’t leave again anytime soon. Smackdown and WWE, in general, were suffering from a Bray Wyatt sized hole. This has finally been filled. I can not wait for Extreme Rules.


Wrap-Up:


A solid episode of Smackdown. Given the news released through the Speaking Out movement, us here at 1306 Sports won’t cover any accusations unless the police, wrestling promotion, or the accused make a public comment on the issue. We will keep you up to date on the movement sweeping the professional wrestling community.


Pros:

  • AJ Styles Intercontinental Championship Ceremony

  • AJ Styles vs Matt Riddle

  • Shorty G vs Mojo Rawley

  • The New Day vs Lucha House Party

  • Sasha Banks w/ Bayley vs Nikki Cross w/ Alexa Bliss

  • Return of the Firefly Funhouse


Cons:

  • Jeff Hardy Interview

  • Miz TV with Mandy Rose


Final Grade: B

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