Fans who tuned into SmackDown last week were surprised to see Matt Riddle announced as the newest member of the blue brand, and it turns out they weren't the only ones surprised at Riddle's move, at least initially. The call to bring Riddle to SmackDown resulted in several changes to NXT plans, though it was also a result of the coronavirus pandemic's effect on certain stars being available for programs, and now we know a bit more about the changes that were made to NXT's preexisting plans. According to Fightful, Riddle's move "sent shockwaves through multiple brands", and his move necessitated some big changes to the Tag Team Championship picture, including the removal of one team, the crowning of another, and a feud with Timothy Thatcher.
All of those moving parts were necessary after Vince McMahon decided to bring Riddle to SmackDown, as NXT didn't have any immediate plans to remove the belts from Riddle and Pete Dunne. Dunne has been stuck in the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic, but NXT was okay with just waiting things out for a bit to see if at some point he could return. That's why Riddle had some alternate partners for the time being, and the plan was to have Riddle and his partner feud with Indus Shera, which is why they attacked Riddle on a previous episode.
That all changed though when NXT got the news of Riddle's move. The obvious thing to do would be to let Indus Shera win and take the titles, but according to the report management didn't have the confidence in them just yet, and they haven't been seen on NXT TV since.
That's why the match was set up between Riddle and Imperium, but Riddle needed a partner to make it happen. Enter Timothy Thatcher, who would become Riddle's temporary partner as they dropped the titles to Imperium, who NXT knew could carry the belts for a bit. That would then feed into a brief but fantastic feud between Riddle and Thatcher, which would ultimately make both competitors look strong and act as Riddle's final program in NXT.
That's a lot of movement from one decision, but it just goes to show how much goes on behind the scenes with storylines and the like. Ultimately it looks to have worked out, but we'll have to wait and see what's in store for Riddle on SmackDown.
Do you like all the changes? Let us know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MattAguilarCB for all things NXT!
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