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WWE SmackDown was less about the return of Bray Wyatt and more an introduction to Windham Lawrence Rotunda, the man who portrays Wyatt. The angel and the devil inside of Wyatt’s psyche emerged in a terrific closing to the show on Friday night.
Wyatt made his first televised WWE appearance in 19 months following his release last year. Once known as The Fiend, Wyatt possessed the WWE universe once again in an all-time great return at Extreme Rules last week.
SmackDown also crowned a new No. 1 contender for GUNTHER’s intercontinental championship. Rey Mysterio, the blue brand’s newest acquisition, defeated three worthy challengers to place himself in line for a shot at the intercontinental champion.
CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Fireflies illuminated the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans as fans held up their phones in anticipation of their leader. Wyatt, equipped with his trademark lantern and a new theme song, emerged from an eerie-looking door and slowly marched to the ring. The voice and message of the speaker were stark contrasts from the iterations of Wyatt fans were familiar with.
Wyatt was rattled with nervousness as the man behind the characters spoke. Wyatt expressed that his confidence was shattered following his release, mourned the death of his friends and expressed his gratefulness for the fan support that persisted throughout his time away.
“I just wanted to say thank you. You all saved my life,” Wyatt told the crowd. “Every time I tried to run away, you found me.”
The lights went black as a dark figure took over the broadcast, interrupting Wyatt’s cathartic release. A new version of Wyatt sporting the same mask as he did at Extreme Rules emerged. This version of Wyatt told Wyatt and the audience to forget the past. This sinister Wyatt compelled the crowd to follow him into the future. He warned that the WWE Universe soon would understand the terror at its doorstep.
Moments prior to Wyatt’s SmackDown return, a fatal four-way match headlined SmackDown to crown a new contender for the intercontinental championship.
No 1 contender’s match for the intercontinental championship — Rey Mysterio def. Ricochet, Sheamus and Solo Sikoa via pinfall after hitting Ricochet with a 619 and frog splash combination. Every superstar got their licks in during the match. Mysterio and Ricochet showed off their aerial maneuvers, including dives to the outside, while Sheamus and Sikoa filled their roles as heavy-hitting bruisers. Sheamus appeared on the verge of submitting Sikoa with the Clover Leaf submission before Sami Zayn and Jey Uso interfered. Sami and Jey piled on the punches before Sheamus’ cohorts Butch and Ridge Holland evened out the numbers. The commotion between The Bloodline and Brawling Brutes allowed Ricochet and Mysterio to compete amongst themselves for the intercontinental title shot with Mysterio ultimately scoring the victory.
Mysterio was a substitute for Karrion Kross after Kross was assaulted by Drew McIntyre at the beginning of the show. Mysterio was on the verge of quitting WWE due to his friction with his son, Dominik Mysterio, before Triple H called Rey into his office. It appears Rey will compete exclusively on SmackDown moving forward to distance himself from his son.
Wow, what a close to SmackDown. The gravity of Wyatt’s heart-to-heart with the audience was emphasized by just how unexpected it was. Wyatt has never really peeled back the curtain on the creative mind behind his mystic personas. The introduction to his insidious new persona was marvelously done. It subverted expectations and introduced two dueling versions of Wyatt to the WWE. The company’s attention to detail throughout the show should also be applauded. Mysterio’s move to SmackDown made sense. He was on the verge of quitting and an opportunity presented itself due to McIntyre’s assault on Kross. GUNTHER vs. Mysterio should produce a great David vs. Goliath match. Grade: A+
NEXT FRIDAY on #SmackDown
👀 The return of @LoganPaul
🏆 #DamageCTRL vs. @RaquelWWE & @ShotziWWE – #WomensTagTitles
👊 @YaOnlyLivvOnce vs. @SonyaDevilleWWE
What did we just witness?!#SmackDown pic.twitter.com/k218QELOzI
Let it out, Bray. ❤️#SmackDown pic.twitter.com/qVTeTBFGl9
Bray Wyatt is BACK on #SmackDown. pic.twitter.com/3wpXKv11Zg
Welcome home to #SmackDown, @reymysterio! pic.twitter.com/kzzHp8G7sv
UP NEXT on #SmackDown
Who will earn the opportunity to challenge @Gunther_AUT for the #ICTitle?#SmackDown pic.twitter.com/ChRdTXJbHJ
BREAKING NEWS: @reymysterio has officially struck a deal with @TripleH to be moved to the #SmackDown roster.
Who will earn the opportunity to challenge for the #ICTitle on #SmackDown?
With @realKILLERkross unable to compete, the @WWEUniverse witnessed a very SURPRISING replacement on #SmackDown! pic.twitter.com/oFZ0OQsFCy
Looks like @YaOnlyLivvOnce just took out her @RondaRousey frustrations on @SonyaDevilleWWE in an EXTREME way!#SmackDown pic.twitter.com/IydJX0arT4
Who will @CoraJadeWWE select? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/ui7p2fwjLT
.@roxanne_wwe gets welcomed to #SmackDown courtesy of @itsBayleyWWE! pic.twitter.com/xu67vNLwWK
Why oh why does @itsBayleyWWE have such a problem with @MichaelCole?!#SmackDown pic.twitter.com/vRkppO3RiS
.@roxanne_wwe gets welcomed to #SmackDown by DAMAGE CTRL! pic.twitter.com/GmVo9HiiZs
𝑯𝒆’𝒔 𝒈𝒐𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒐𝒍𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 𝒊𝒏 𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒔…#SmackDown
The legend begins again…
Bray Wyatt on #SmackDown, live tonight. pic.twitter.com/ZQ7bPv7oJJ
LA KNIGHT SMACKDOWN@RealLAKnight reminds everyone who he is on #SmackDown! pic.twitter.com/IWmNsnU8Ea
Dodge…RAM!!! #SmackDown pic.twitter.com/d20s9Z6WHl
He’s baaaaaaaaaaack!@RealLAKnight has arrived on #SmackDown. pic.twitter.com/EFZRblPUwK
Has #BraunStrowman met his match in @TheGiantOmos?
(Welcome back to #SmackDown, @The305MVP! 👋) pic.twitter.com/GmLNqgUScA
Name this team. Wrong answers only.#SmackDown pic.twitter.com/S1GyQaiusp
Hey @CoraJadeWWE, your opponent has been selected by @roxanne_wwe … and it’s @RaquelWWE!
However, @itsBayleyWWE has something to say about that.#SmackDown pic.twitter.com/958lPj2a5E
WOAH. @reymysterio has a major announcement for @TripleH on #SmackDown! pic.twitter.com/2sMJA1xtqe
Hey @WWERomanReigns, Jey @WWEUsos did good tonight on #SmackDown! pic.twitter.com/UD8f1F4unt
Shades of @WWEUsos!@SamiZayn #SmackDown pic.twitter.com/yVodl7adPG
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