News for next week’s WWE Smackdown

Jun 18, 2022 - by Marc Middleton

New WWE Intercontinental Champion Gunther is set to make his first title defense next Friday night on SmackDown. Last Friday’s SmackDown saw Gunther defeat Ricochet to capture the WWE Intercontinental Title. Now WWE has announced that Ricochet will get his rematch next week, and the title will be on the line.

This week’s SmackDown featured a backstage segment with Gunther and Ludwig Kaiser, where a new Intercontinental Title storyline began. Kaiser says Gunther’s title win was inevitable because it belongs in his hands. Kaiser went on about how the WWE Intercontinental Title was created in a tournament in South America, won by a French Canadian (WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson), and its greatest champions were international Superstars from Canada, Mexico, England, Ireland, and Italy, but he said the title has also been besmeared by the likes of Ricochet, a man that embodies everything that’s wrong with America – lots of flash but very little substance. Fans in the arena went from chanting “WALTER!” to booing Kaiser’s promo. Kaiser continued and said the title will never be held by an American again as its prestige has been restored and it’s going to remain in the iron grip of the man who holds the mat and the Intercontinental Title sacred – The Ring General, Gunther. Gunther then briefly spoke, declaring that he is the new Intercontinental Champion.

Next Friday’s SmackDown will also feature the return of The Viking Raiders, Erik and Ivar. We noted last week how WWE began airing new teaser vignettes for The Viking Raiders, despite already having both of them on the blue brand roster for some time now. Another vignette aired on this week’s SmackDown and WWE announced that they will be back in action next Friday, but no opponents were named.

Erik and Ivar have not been on TV since their loss to current WWE NXT Tag Team Champions The Creed Brothers on the May 17 NXT 2.0 episode. They have since worked a few non-televised WWE live events in late May, coming up short in Fatal 4 Way matches that also included Los Lotharios, The Brawling Brutes, and the winners, Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos. Before the brief run in NXT this past spring, Erik and Ivar worked the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal on the April 1 SmackDown, took a Handicap Match count out loss to Omos on the March 28 RAW, and feuded with other SmackDown teams in January and February. They were set to challenge The Usos at WWE Elimination Chamber, but the brothers attacked The Vikings before the match and it was called off. They also worked various dark matches. There’s no word yet on who The Viking Raiders will feud with in their re-introduction to the blue brand, but we will keep you updated.

In more news for next Friday’s SmackDown from the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, the WWE Events website has Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns scheduled to appear, but Brock Lesnar is not listed, at least as of this writing. That may change soon as the company plans a follow-up to the big angle on last night’s SmackDown with Lesnar returning to set up the Last Man Standing match with Reigns at SummerSlam.

Below is the updated SmackDown line-up for next Friday’s show, along with the vignette for The Viking Raiders:

* Men’s MITB Ladder Match Qualifier: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn

* Women’s MITB Ladder Match Qualifier: Shotzi vs. Aliyah

* The Viking Raiders return to SmackDown action

* WWE Intercontinental Champion Gunther defends against Ricochet in his rematch

* Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, SmackDown Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey and others advertised to appear

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