WWE Friday Night SmackDown continues. AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan will meet face-to-face tonight, but first we see a Matt Riddle vignette where he talks about the crowd bro’ing up with him, but we’re told in spite of his laidback demeanor he’s a dangerous man and it’s an easy thing to prove with the footage. Now backstage, Braun Strowman is being interviewed. He’s asked about what his Backlash opponents promised to do. Braun says earlier they messed with his protein shakes. Compares them to two annoying bugs crawling around your neck. As he talks we see Miz and Morrison fiddle with a remote. Slime drops from the ceiling but it misses Braun and gets all over Kayla Braxton instead. Braun asks if she’s okay, knows they set that up for him. Miz and Morrison argue about how that was supposed to be on the left, Morrison says it’s stage left. They’re concerned about making her mad and she growls “Those bastards”. They call it a success anyway. Braun is furious.
Now, Renee Young is in the ring with the Intercontinental title on a podium. She introduces Daniel Bryan to the ring first. The PC fails hard at synchronizing for the Yes Chant. Actual crowds kinda like to try and do that. Especially when Bryan himself is going out there, you’re supposed to do it along with him… whatever. AJ Styles is out next of course. AJ says Bryan is gonna call him a coward for making the smart move and taking his bye to the finals while Daniel, look a fool, fought his way in. And truth be told, if Jeff Hardy hadn’t gotten involved, it’d be Sheamus standing across from him right now. Bryan agrees that he does think AJ atleast shows traits of cowardice but he has his way of thinking and Bryan has his, and he’s okay with that.
AJ says again that he took his bye because it was the smart move. When he looks in the mirror, he sees a champion. He sees the greatest champion the WWE has ever seen. It’s all heart. He’s not saying it’s a bad thing for you to do the right thing, it’s noble but it’s stupid. Daniel says the two of them have known each for a long time, long enough to know they have two entirely different world views and two entirely different visions of being Intercontinental Champion. Says under AJ’s vision, he probably defends that title very sparingly and only against select few challengers under the guise of nobody else being worthy.
Bryan says AJ genuinely believes that he’s the greatest but he can’t handle the thought of someone unexpected shattering that notion and that’s why he’s a coward. Bryan says he wants to grow, being the best isn’t about who he is right now it’s who he can be. Says he wants everyone watching to know that there’s a chance their favorite superstar could be the one to beat him and become a champion. AJ says he doesn’t believe in hand outs, he believes in earning opportunity.
Says how did Drew Gulak get the opportunity to become his coach? An opportunity to work here in the WWE? It sounds like a hand out to him. If we can’t agree on what our visions are, how about he reach across the aisle and do something unexpected? How about he give Drew Gulak an opportunity right here tonight? Calls Gulak to come down to this ring and get his hand-out; an ass-whipping. Gulak makes his way out and immediately double legs Styles, attacking him and driving him out of the ring!
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