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Brock Lesnar Returns After Roman Reigns Retains Title vs. Riddle at WWE SmackDown

Brock Lesnar Returns After Roman Reigns Retains Title vs. Riddle at WWE SmackDown

FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images

Roman Reigns defeated Riddle on Friday night’s episode of SmackDown to retain the undisputed WWE Universal Championship, but the surprise was what came after the match.

It was announced that Reigns will defend the undisputed WWE championship against Brock Lesnar in a last man standing match at SummerSlam on July 30.

WWE @WWE

JUST ANNOUNCED: @BrockLesnar will challenge @WWERomanReigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Title in a Last Man Standing Match at #SummerSlam! @HeymanHustle

ūüéü https://t.co/s7HlO4Vp46 pic.twitter.com/uHRM4RWUA3

Based on the stipulation laid out by Reigns’ special counsel, Paul Heyman, Riddle can no longer challenge for the title while Reigns is champion.

The finish saw Riddle attempt an RKO, but Reigns countered by throwing him into the ropes. Reigns hit the ropes, speared Riddle in mid air and the referee counted the pinfall.

Afterward, Lesnar made his first appearance on television since losing to Reigns a WrestleMania. The Beast hit all three members of The Bloodline with an F5 as the show went off the air.

WWE @WWE

ūü§Įūü§†ūü§Įūü§†ūü§Į@BrockLesnar is BACK and he’s taking #TheBloodline to Suplex City! #SmackDown @WWERomanReigns @WWEUsos @HeymanHustle pic.twitter.com/tapTH04RO0

Lesnar’s return comes at a point when WWE may have been scrambling to find a challenger for the undisputed champion. It was originally thought that Randy Orton would get the shot at SummerSlam, but Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select (h/t WrestlingInc’s Dominic DeAngelo) reported on Thursday there’s concern the Viper may need back surgery that would keep him out for the rest of 2022.

Based on the stipulation laid out by Reigns’ special counsel, Paul Heyman, Riddle can no longer challenge for the title while Reigns is champion.

Riddle has been at odds with The Tribal Chief and The Bloodline as a whole for several weeks, dating back to RK-Bro’s feud with The Usos over the Raw and SmackDown Tag Team Championships.

At the time, Riddle and Randy Orton held the Raw tag team titles, and The Usos were SmackDown tag team champs. That led to a unification match on SmackDown, which The Usos won thanks to interference from Reigns.

After the match, Reigns and The Usos brutally attacked RK-Bro, leaving Orton on the shelf with an injury for an undetermined amount of time.

From that point forward, The Original Bro vowed to get revenge on The Bloodline, and he temporarily teamed with Shinsuke Nakamura in an attempt to beat The Usos for the tag titles, but Jimmy and Jey Uso were victorious.

Riddle then set his sights on Reigns, and he was given the opportunity to challenge Reigns for the world title if he could beat Sami Zayn in a match.

Zayn, who had been trying to force his way into The Bloodline, came up with the stipulation that Riddle would be banned from SmackDown if he lost, but would face Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship if he won.

Riddle came out on top, setting the stage for the biggest match of his relatively young WWE career.

Friday marked Reigns’ first title defense since unifying the WWE and Universal Championships in a win over Lesnar at WrestleMania 38.

Riddle posed a legitimate challenge, but Reigns managed to come out of the match with his title run still intact.


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