WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER 7/17: Final Extreme Rules: The Horror Show Hype – A.J. Defends Against the Bro, Bray Returns to the Funhouse, A Blissful Mystery and Surprise

WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
JULY 17, 2020
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE WWE PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves

Top 10 Moments from Last Week

Overview and Items Advertised by WWE

Tonight’s edition of Smackdown will be the go-home show for Extreme Rules: The Horror Show which takes place this Sunday, July 19 from the WWE Performance Center which has been the home of WWE main roster shows since we got knee-deep into the pandemic in mid-March. I remember being Wade Keller’s co-host for the first empty arena Smackdown show on March 13 and I’m excited to return to the chair as I will join Wade tonight for the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Post Show. Listen, give a call, or send an email as I look forward to interacting with you the readers and listeners.

Here’s what advertised for tonight’s show:

  • A.J. Styles and Matt Riddle set for Intercontinental Championship clash
  • Bray Wyatt heads to the Firefly Fun House ahead of the Horror Show at Extreme Rules
  • Alexa Bliss invites mystery guest onto “A Moment of Bliss”

Intercontinental Championship: A.J. Styles (champ) vs. Matt Riddle

A.J. Styles’ Intercontinental Championship reign continues to take shape as he defends tonight against Matt Riddle, who recently made the move from NXT.

Several weeks ago, Riddle made his debut as A.J. was celebrating his victory over Daniel Bryan the previous week to win the title. He interrupted the proceedings and immediately challenged A.J. to a championship match. A.J. agreed to wrestle him, but said the title wasn’t on the line. Riddle won the non-title affair, which essentially was a lumberjack match. I typically don’t include videos of things we’ve already seen, but since the match was several weeks ago, here’s a YouTube clip to refresh our memories:

Last week, A.J. was informed in a backstage interview conducted with McKenzie Mitchell that he would defend the title tonight against Riddle. Here’s Riddle on Twitter:

Frank’s Analysis: Does Matt Riddle like to say “bro?” I wouldn’t know. Anyway, I typically don’t like giving matches away like this on TV. I do understand though that WWE’s business model is built on television revenue. I just figured, looking at the calendar, that they may build towards this at SummerSlam. We’ve seen several big IC title wins at that event through the years (Ultimate Warrior in ’88 and ’89, Bret Hart in ’91, British Bulldog in ’92, Razor Ramon in ’94, Steve Austin in ’97, Triple H in ’98, etc. etc.). Riddle winning the title was a possibility and could still happen, depending on how they book the finish tonight. I don’t see a title change off A.J. so soon.

Bray Wyatt Returns to Firefly Funhouse

Bray Wyatt, in his original Wyatt Family leader character, will take on Universal Champion Braun Strowman in a Wyatt Swamp Fight at Extreme Rules: The Horror Show this coming Sunday. The match, or whatever it will be, is not for the Universal title. As I’ve talked about, Braun Strowman was a member of the Wyatt Family from the night after SummerSlam in 2015 until the rosters split the following year. Strowman went to Raw and Bray went to Smackdown.

Last week they replayed the match from Money in the Bank where Strowman defeated Bray, portraying his Firefly Funhouse character. Braun teased rejoining Bray by wearing the sheep mask he wore while with the Wyatt Family, only to betray him in the end. While sitting in the corner in disgust, Bray flashed to images of his alter-ego the Fiend before they moved on to the next segment. In advance of their match Sunday, which has likely already been filmed, Bray welcomes us back to the Firefly Funhouse.

Frank’s Analysis: I like the ride on which we’re on with this situation. Like him or not (and I can’t stand The Fiend), I want to see what Bray is going to do next. I still wish Braun weren’t the Universal Champion in this situation, but they’ll get the belt off him soon enough, so I’m not worried. You don’t need a title match EVERY month.

A Moment of Bliss: Alexa Bliss Welcomes a Mystery Guest

Last week, Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross lost a non-title match to WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks & Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley. Alexa & Nikki were the most recent champions having lost the title to Sasha & Bayley several weeks ago. Nikki took the pin after being taunted by Sasha, and she and Alexa had this discussion in a WWE exclusive:

Tonight, Alexa welcomes a mystery guest into her show A Moment of Bliss. It’s hard to say who it will be, but she has been tweeting about Charlotte Flair. Five years ago, around this time Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch were brought up from NXT as part of the Divas Revolution which became the Women’s Revolution. Here are those tweets:

Frank’s Analysis: I don’t see Charlotte, but you never know. We haven’t seen Carmella in a while, so that’s another possibility. Whomever it may be, a mystery guest is always a good hook for a show. Bear in mind that Nikki challenges Bayley for the Smackdown Women’s Championship this Sunday.

Other Match Results and News Items from Last Week:

On MizTV, Jeff Hardy was a guest of Miz & John Morrison. Miz recommended Hardy and Sheamus have a bar fight at Extreme Rules. Hardy accepted, and then defeated Miz one-on-one. Sheamus interrupted via video mid-match and held up a beer.

Naomi won a Karaoke Contest over Lacey Evans, Dana Brooke, and Tamina. Naomi then wrestled a (heel?) Lacey Evans to a no-contest.

Smackdown Tag Team Champions New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E) and Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura wrestled to a no-contest in their tag team championship match.

Final Thoughts: Given there’s a PPV this coming Sunday, my big focus tonight will be to see how WWE hypes the show. Do they do enough to get you interested to want to subscribe to the network and watch? An eye for an eye stipulation, a bar fight, a swamp fight, and a stipulation to be named in a championship match make me want to see how WWE plays things out more so than “looking forward to it.” Given the ratings drop in Raw, it would appear they haven’t done a particularly good job. We shall see, and again I look forward to the interaction tonight!


Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!


CATCH UP… 7/10 WWE SMACKDOWN RESULTS: Keller’s report on Jeff Hardy on Miz TV, Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt replay, New Day defend against Nakamura & Cesaro

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