Photo credit: WWE.com.
Friday’s episode of WWE SmackDown on Fox saw its viewership increase slightly compared to last week thanks, in part, to Matt Riddle‘s blue brand debut.
According to Showbuzz Daily, SmackDown averaged 2.089 million viewers during its two-hour broadcast, which was up 1.2 percent from last week’s 2.065 million. Friday’s SmackDown also had a 0.5 rating in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic.
SmackDown opened with an Intercontinental Championship celebration for AJ Styles, who beat Daniel Bryan in the finals of a tournament for the title last week. Styles attempted to embarrass Bryan in front of the SmackDown roster, which surrounded the ring, prompting Riddle to show up.
WWE had been advertising Riddle’s impending jump from NXT to SmackDown for a few weeks, and he made his presence felt in a big way by targeting one of SmackDown’s biggest stars.
Riddle defeated Styles in a non-title match after Styles got distracted by Bryan outside the ring, which suggests that an Intercontinental Championship match between Styles and Riddle could happen in the near future, although it’s possible that sexual assault allegations against him that surfaced Friday could lead to a change in direction.
The main event segment saw universal champion Braun Strowman interrupt Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse. Strowman attempted to tell Wyatt that their rivalry was over, but Wyatt begged to differ.
It seemed as though Wyatt was going to transform into The Fiend, but he became the Wyatt Family version of himself instead, which suggests that the next time Strowman and Wyatt meet, The Monster Among Men will have to go up against the Wyatt who once acted as his leader.
Elsewhere on the show, Shorty G beat Mojo Rawley, The New Day defeated Lucha House Party and Sasha Banks got past Nikki Cross.
There was also a Miz TV segment featuring Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville as guests. Deville ran down Rose on the mic, which led to a brawl before Sonya retreated. The segment seems to suggest that the rivalry between Rose and Deville is far from over.
While there isn’t another pay-per-view until Extreme Rules on July 19, Friday’s SmackDown did well to lay the groundwork for some rivalries that are likely to play out on the road to that event.
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