SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)…
WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
JUNE 19, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT THE WWE PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
Top 10 Moments from Last Week
Backlash Results Pertinent to Smackdown
- Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley & Sasha Banks defeated Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross and the IIconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce) to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship.
- Sheamus defeated Jeff Hardy
- Braun Strowman defeated the Miz & John Morrison to retain the Universal Championship
Items Advertised by WWE
We moved past Backlash and turn our attention towards Extreme Rules, which we learned will take place on Sunday, July 19. Things remained status quo in terms of champions at Backlash and we’ll likely move in new directions because of what’s advertised tonight. Speaking of which, here’s what’s on tap for tonight:
- Bray Wyatt and “Firefly Funhouse” to make ominous return
- A.J. Styles rolling out red carpet for Intercontinental Championship presentation
- Mandy Rose set to address broken relationship with Sonya Deville on “MizTV”
- Note: Advertising of Matt Riddle’s debut has been pulled, most likely related to the #SpeakingOut sexual assault allegations that WWE is investigating regarding him. Details below.
Firefly Funhouse Returns
“We’re really glad that you’re our friend….and this is the friendship that’ll never ever end.”
I couldn’t help it there. Anyway, we learned that Bray Wyatt and the Firefly Funhouse would return to Smackdown tonight. Bray was last seen on WWE TV during Money in the Bank where he unsuccessfully challenged Braun Strowman, his former Wyatt Family member. As you may recall, Strowman teased re-joining Bray during the match, but it was ultimately a rouse. Following the match, we saw Bray sitting in the corner and images of his alter-ego, the Fiend, come onto our screen.
Strowman retained the Universal Championship this past Sunday at Backlash. It is possible Bray is coming back to pursue the title once again he lost back in February to Goldberg at Super Showdown. Whatever the case may be, we are all invited to the Firefly Funhouse.
Frank’s Analysis: If they set up Strowman vs. Bray again for the Universal Championship, it could be an Extreme Rules match. If I remember correctly, and no I don’t have the desire to look it up, I think they do one for Raw and one for Smackdown. There are a few options for Raw. There’s not much for Smackdown. Anyway, it’s always interesting when we get the Funhouse.
A Phenomenal Celebration for New Intercontinental Champion A.J. Styles
Last week in a compelling 40+ minute match, A.J. Styles defeated Daniel Bryan to win his first Intercontinental Championship in WWE. He defeated Shinsuke Nakamura and was set to face Elias in the semi-finals, but Elias was taken out before the show and A.J. earned a bye into the finals. He has now held the WWE Championship twice, the U.S. Championship three times, and the now the Intercontinental gold. Bryan and A.J. feuded over the WWE Championship in late 2018-early 2019 where Bryan turned heel and took the championship after initially coming up short.
This past Sunday at Backlash, he said he wanted to have the greatest championship presentation (again with this greatest nonsense) because he is the greatest champion ever (just pour it on thick there A.J.). He said that Bryan should be there to learn how to become a champion. Here’s A.J. posing with his new title in a WWE exclusive and a tweet talking about winning:
I know what this title means.
I know what I have to do.
What a match with @WWEDanielBryan, now it’s about making this title #phenomenal. I’m watching…and waiting. #Smackdown #WWEBacklash https://t.co/cANXaBDq4n
— AJStyles.Org (@AJStylesOrg) June 13, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: I love seeing that A.J. wants to take the title seriously, and he’s a guy that make it seem important. It’s a matter of WWE getting behind it and allowing it to happen. I’m not super confident as the title has typically been passed around and treated in a low-rent way. If they can build up some babyface opponents for him, such as Shorty G, Jeff Hardy, Drew Gulak, etc. then it can work. As far as the “celebration,” we know it’s going to lead to Bryan interrupting or somebody stepping in.
Miz TV: Guest Mandy Rose
Mandy Rose is several months into her relationship with 2020 Money in the Bank winner Otis of Heavy Machinery. She’s also had matches, both individual and mixed tag, with her former best friend Sonya Deville. It was Sonya that corroborated with Dolph Ziggler to try and keep Mandy and Otis from getting together.
Last week, Heavy Machinery (Otis & Tucker) and Universal Champion Braun Strowman defeated Ziggler and Miz & John Morrison. The match wasn’t without its antics, as King Corbin confronted Mandy in the back regarding Otis stealing his crown a week earlier. He told her she was fantasizing about a man with power and respect, like himself. Otis left the match and went after Corbin. Later, he would return to hit his signature Caterpillar Elbow on Ziggler to score the win.
Tonight, Mandy joins Miz on an episode of MizTV. She will address her relationship with Sonya. John Morrison is likely to be there and I’m certain Otis will accompany Mandy, his “peach.”
Frank’s Analysis: I don’t hate all of this, but I don’t really care either. It’s comic relief, and some people want to see that on their wrestling show. None of this is the worst thing in the world, so it’s fine. Otis holding Money in the Bank is not doing it for me. I think I want to see King Corbin beat him for the briefcase at this point. Did I type that? Yes, I did.
Matt Riddle Debut
WWE at one point advertised on their website and on TV that Matt Riddle would make his debut tonight. That said, WWN wrestler and valet Candy Cartwright came out and accused Riddle of sexual assault. Below are links to PWTorch columnist Sean Radican’s articles regarding the allegation:
Matt Riddle accused of rape and sexual assault, Evolve valet details experience in van with Riddle
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Riddle challenges credibility of accuser in DM to interviewer, says WWE is going to press charges
Considering the allegation, I’m not offering any analysis nor will I hype his debut as I would typically do in my primers. Tonight’s episode has already been recorded, so I don’t know how they can edit him out if they want to understandably hold off on his debut. Here’s the latest from Sean who communicated with WWE:
WWE issues statement on Riddle sexual assault and rape accusations, says they are investigating the matter, no longer being hyped for tonight’s TV show
Other Match Results and News Items from Last Week:
- Sheamus made Jeff Hardy take a drug test at their contract signing ahead of their Backlash match. As someone who is subject to random drug tests, that’s NOT how it’s done.
- Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Smackdown Tag Team Champions New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) in a non-title match. What, you expected something else?
- Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley & Sasha Banks celebrated their winning the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. They got into a confrontation with their Backlash opponents the IIconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce), and Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross.
Despite uninspired storylines there are some things to which we can look forward tonight. I’m curious if Bray gets into it with Strowman. I want to see what’s next for the Intercontinental Championship. The good thing about Smackdown is that it goes quick, so there’s that!
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!