WWE Friday Night SmackDown continues. AJ Styles taking on Shinsuke Nakamura now, a first round match in the WWE Intercontinental Championship tournament. Is AJ a babyface now? Kinda hard to say.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Round 1: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
AJ and Nak lock-up, AJ takes over in the corner, forcing the break. AJ evades a high kick. Side headlock cinched in. Shinsuke takes him into the ropes, no clean break as Nak just drags him to the center. Shinsuke with an elbow to the nose, hammerlock. AJ reverses into a side headlock. AJ ducks a clothesline, double chop to the throat. Shinsuke with a kick to the knee, leap frogs from AJ into the big dropkick! Takes Nak into the corner, big knife edge chop. Whip to the ropes, Shinsuke hangs onto the ropes, back elbow off a charge! Knee lift to the gut as he charges again. AJ sends Nakamura into the top turnbuckle, they exchange forearms. AJ ducks one, hits an enziguri! Hooks him, suplex but Nakamura escapes behind him, push kick takes him to the corner. Charges, AJ with the feet up but Shinsuke blocks, slips him between the ropes, Taiji Ishimori-style Sliding German! Commercial break.
As we come back, they announce AJ Styles is officially part of SmackDown, “trade for future considerations”, meanwhile they trade kicks, Styles nails a pele! AJ with his combination of strikes into a big lariato! Hoists him up, Ushigoroshi! Nearfall. Shinsuke drives AJ into the corner, Styles reverses a charge with a roll into the Calf Crusher! Shinsuke struggling, trying to grab for the hair but ultimately he gets to the bottom rope for the break! AJ tries to grab the leg again but Nakamura with an enziguri! AJ ducks a follow-up shot, Flying Forearm for a clooose nearfall! Nakamura hoists AJ up onto his shoulders for a surprise Michinoku Driver for a nearfall! Wants a Reverse Suplex, AJ elbows his way out.
Nak with a boot up on the charge, goes to the second rope, flying knee to the chest! Setting up for the Kinsasha, but then hits a sliding knee that actually looks different. Covers lackadasically but AJ kicks out. Nakamura supposedly setting up for the real Kinsasha now, AJ counters with a roll-up but Nak turns it into a Triangle Choke! AJ is slowly fading… but he powers up, hoists him into the air by this position for the Styles Clash!! Nearfall, I’m sad that wasn’t the finish, that was rad! Nakamura to the corner, AJ walks over, gets taken to the apron, forearm nailed, tries for the Phenomenal Forearm but AJ catches him with a kick! But AJ responds with a roundhouse of his own, nails the Phenomenal Forearm and that is that!
Winner: AJ Styles
Good match and a solid return to SmackDown for AJ. He sure did a lot better on this brand than he did on Raw so I’m for it. And he definitely feels like he’s a face again or atleast was this week. But he’s against a pretty clear face in Elias next week so we’ll see if that holds up.
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