Matt Riddle says he’s gonna be “The Bro That Runs The Show” on Friday nights. Baron Corbin says thee nay, and has his King of the Ring victory as proof.
The Road to Payback
The former UFC and NXT star came out of the gate hot after getting the call to SmackDown. He picking up a non-title win over then Intercontinental champion AJ Styles, and looked like he might start off with a run with that belt. Styles made sure that didn’t happen, but the King still took exception to Riddle arriving on his show and trying to call shots... and how Riddle teamed up with New Day & Braun Strowman to clown him.
To really put the new guy in his place, Corbin came up with a plan to humble Riddle - he put a bounty on his head.
Not sure the King was offering a big enough purse, though, because Shorty G has been pretty much the only person to take the whole ransom thing seriously. The artist formerly known as Chad Gable has made a number of attempts to collect, but he’s come short (sorry, Chad, but pun intended) every time... including on the Payback go home show last night.
Now Corbin has learned what so many evil masterminds have learned over the years. If you want something done, you have to do it yourself.
What’s at stake
The state of Riddle’s push as a top babyface on SmackDown.
When he was wrapping up his NXT run, the sky looked to be the limit for the King of Bros. Then he was accused of sexual assaulting a woman he had an extramarital affair with during the #SpeakingOut movement. Riddle vehemently denies the charge, and his wife & WWE have stood by him. Still, it seemed to take some of the energy out of how he was promoted.
A months-long feud with Corbin that is only now making it onto PPV hasn’t helped either. WWE clearly values the King, but as someone who straddles the line between the mid-card and the main event. In that respect, he’s exactly the person Matt should take down en route to bigger things.
But in the time it’s taken to get here, the main event scene got more interesting. Roman Reigns is back. His face/heel status hasn’t been made clear yet, but either way, the Big Dog is going to be central to SmackDown’s booking plans. There are other options, too. Jeff Hardy could move into the Universal title mix, as could Big E if his singles run continues to be well received.
How does the office see Riddle at this point? We’re about to find out.
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