As we usher in a new era for the Intercontinental Championship, we must remember the great lineage the title has. If you’d ask me, it’s the most valuable championship WWE has to offer. From classic wrestling matches featuring Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, RVD, Dolph Ziggler, Seth Rollins, and so many more, to the extreme levels of ladder matches Superstars would go to claim this prize, it’s apparent the “IC title” is a hot commodity. After last week’s classic bout between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles, my points above are proven.
Smackdown began with a celebration to present the new Intercontinental Champion, AJ Styles, his title. Of course Styles had to make it difficult, especially for all the Superstars who were surrounding the ring. He demanded he be awarded the title by the man he defeated to earn it- Daniel Bryan. Surprisingly, Bryan didn’t put up a fight and did exactly what the champion said to do; However, there was a Bro in the back who that didn’t sit well with. Cue the debut of “The Original Bro” Matt Riddle from NXT! Riddle quickly made a statement by referring to himself as the “The Bro That’s Gonna Run the Show!” This led to exactly where you’d think it go.
The debut match of Matt Riddle on SmackDown was against AJ Styles and it happened to be the best bout of the evening! After some turmoil outside the ring with King Corbin, Riddle had some distractions, but it was Daniel Bryan who repaid the disrespect by distracting Styles. It was Matt Riddle who capitalized on Bryan’s hand and collected his first win on SmackDown, putting the WWE Universe on notice, along with the Intercontinental Champion!
Although I heavily enjoyed this match, I did have some thoughts regarding the booking. WWE has a tendency to make Superstars reliant on titles, hence by Matt Riddle’s debut was developed around the IC title. I would’ve preferred to see him debut in a program with King Corbin or Cesaro. This would allow the WWE Universe to learn more about Riddle and get invested in his character. Once we are invested in a character, it works! This would also benefit the opposing heel character feuding with Riddle. The idea is to create stars for the fans to become invested in and tell stories. If Riddle doesn’t leave this program with the title he doesn’t look strong.
The key is to build them up to these matches, not break them down from them. If only WWE would listen to their fans, sometimes we have great ideas and points!
Although we didn’t see many Women’s matches, we did experience a lot of attention of the SmackDown Woman Superstars! I do have to point out that I’m so glad to see Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville being utilized. Mandy Rose reminds me of Trish Stratus early on in her career before she found her spot in the Women’s Evolution. Sonya Deville is a star, plain and simple. You can hear and feel the passion pour out of her every time she speaks or performs. It’s only a matter of time before we see her with a Women’s Championship.
A key point to tonight’s show involved the SmackDown Women’s Champion, Bayley, (Bayley dos straps) and her partner Sasha Banks. Having them both on commentary enhanced my excitement for the matches, the night, and their current storyline. They’re having fun out there and it’s authentic! I’m biting my nails waiting for the two of them to feud for Bayley’s title!
My favorite segment of the night involved the return of the Firefly Fun House AND classic Bray Wyatt! Bray has had many character twists and turns and while feuding with Universal Champion, Braun Strowman, it only makes sense to resurrect the former “Eater of Worlds.” I’m predicting the culmination of this story happens at this year’s SummerSlam PPV later this year. It’s too big of a feud to end after one match. Braun will somehow full out the win at Extreme Rules, but succumb to The Fiend at SummerSlam. Save this for later because I believe I’m correct.
Overall, I enjoyed this week’s Friday Night SmackDown! It was fun and upbeat. We took a deeper dive into Jeff Hardy and Sheamus’ storyline as well as the rise of Shorty G! I believe we were introduced to the new tag team of Cesaro and Shinsuke Namakura as they brutally attacked the current SmackDown Tag Team Champions, The New Day. I’m looking forward to that storyline and all of the current angle’s on SmackDown! Tune into the Angle’s SmackDown Zoom Party next week starting at 8pm where we can all watch the program together and give exclusive commentary! Join the guest list by going to any of The Angle’s social media pages! Until next time, thanks for being a pro wrestling fan!