On this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown, Matt Riddle will be getting his first chance at a singles title on WWE’s main roster, as he challenges AJ Styles for the Intercontinental Championship. However, a pair of new rumors suggest that the rivalry between the superstars might be little more than a short-term storyline, one that won’t result in the belt changing hands. It also appears that the angle could lead to a bigger, previously-rumored feud between Riddle and “King” Baron Corbin.
As quoted by Ringside News on Friday, it was reported on this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that the Styles vs. Riddle program is “supposed to transition” to the former UFC fighter’s upcoming rivalry with Corbin. No further details were cited, but Ringside News pointed out that WWE has “a lot of options” for Riddle, including a possible resumption of his storyline with the reigning Intercontinental Champion.
Another subscriber-only report, this time from Fightful Select, also shed some light on how Riddle may be booked going forward. As cited by WhatCulture, the company doesn’t have any immediate plans to give the SmackDown newcomer a title reign, as the upcoming match with Styles might see the current champ retain his belt with Corbin getting involved in one way or another in the finish. This would reportedly be followed by a post-match beatdown in which the two heels attack Riddle, thus leading to his rumored longer-term feud with last year’s King of the Ring tournament winner.
— WWE (@WWE) July 12, 2020
The onscreen issues between Riddle and Corbin date back to this year’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view in January, where the latter eliminated the former in the men’s battle royal. Plans were purportedly made in March for the men to eventually feud with each other; while these didn’t immediately come to fruition, Corbin appeared to take issue with the idea of an extended program with Riddle. At that time, he was quoted as saying that WWE should book the “King of Bros” to defeat five enhancement talents before they could have a rivalry against each other.
Prior to getting called up to the main roster, Riddle established himself on NXT, where he and Pete Dunne won the black-and-gold brand’s Tag Team Championships at the TakeOver: Portland pay-per-view in February. Meanwhile, Corbin’s last lengthy program wrapped up toward the end of February, when he lost to Roman Reigns at Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia, as shown on his ProFightDB wrestler page. He has since wrestled various babyfaces — mostly in losing efforts — on Friday Night SmackDown.