WWE SmackDown results: AJ Styles traded from Raw as Intercontinental Title Tournament rolls on

The familiar foes faced off (Photo: WWE)

This week’s edition of SmackDown delivered with great in-ring action and solid storyline progression – and a couple of surprises.

The Intercontinental Title Tournament rolled on as WWE looks to crown a new champion with Sami Zayn no longer taking part in shows amid the coronavirus pandemic, and thus stripped of the gold.

After last week’s matches saw Daniel Bryan and Elias progress, it was time to find out who their opponents would be.

First, AJ Styles was taking on a familiar foe in Shinsuke Nakamura, but before the contest got underway Michael Cole revealed the Phenomenal One was now officially part of the blue brand roster again.

Although his spot in the tournament was previously explained as part of the invitational initiative, it seems he’s now permanently back on SmackDown – and he must be a favourite to win the whole thing now.

He triumphed over Shinsuke tonight as the two delivered the kind of match everyone knew they were capable of during their lukewarm feud back in 2018.

Despite a long period as a sidekick, this bout – which would have been even better with a live crowd to feed off – looked like AJ’s equal and more than held is own.

The main event of the night didn’t quite live up to the same level, but Jeff Hardy still sneaked a victory in a damn fine match with Sheamus.

.@JEFFHARDYBRAND brings the fight, but @WWESheamus sends him crashing down hard. #SmackDown. pic.twitter.com/YDuHlmHlOU

— WWE (@WWE) May 23, 2020

This felt more like the start of a feud rather than the culmination of one, with neither man really going all out – but they still delivered more than a solid effort here.

The ending was smart, as Sheamus couldn’t hold Hardy up for the White Noise due to his shoulder getting hurt, which meant the Charismatic Enigma could roll him up for the win.

Regardless of whether Jeff wins the tournament, look for Sheamus to seek revenge and really kick-start a storyline to keep us going into the summer.

Best of the rest

The night started with Miz and John Morrison hosting The Dirt Sheet with their special guest Braun Strowman – who they accused of being a replaced by puppets in Bray Wyatt’s Family, and being put in a Universal Title match at WrestleMania without earning it.

Eventually he came out to respond, leading to a back and forth as Miz warned the champion that he knows – from personal experience – that Wyatt isn’t done with him yet.

It was a great bit of continuity, and the segment led to an extended squash as the Monster Among Men beat the A-Lister in fairly comfortable fashion.

A lot of 𝘥𝘪𝘳𝘵 is being thrown on #UniversalChampion @BraunStrowman’s name tonight on #TheDirtSheet. #SmackDown @mikethemiz @TheRealMorrison pic.twitter.com/GoeNhVPfVW

— WWE (@WWE) May 23, 2020

In a very unexpected move, Backlash will see Strowman defending his title in a handicap match against the former Tag Team Champs. Alright then!

Later in the show, NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair took on the SmackDown titleholder Bayley in a really great, physical match as the Role Model won without Sasha Banks by her side.

It’ll be interesting to see where things go from here, and how this win will affect the dynamic between the two BFFs.

This is as personal as it gets…@SonyaDevilleWWE & @HEELZiggler battle @WWE_MandyRose & @otiswwe RIGHT NOW on #SmackDown! pic.twitter.com/5jfOGylPXg

— WWE (@WWE) May 23, 2020

Elsewhere on the show, we got treated to a Mixed Tag Team Match pitting Mandy Rose and Otis against Sonya Deville and Dolph Ziggler.

Thankfully, the match was largely a way to showcase the former Fire & Desire partners as they really showed off their talent in a cracking match, with Otis and Ziggler largely playing second fiddle.

More: WWE

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It worked well, with Deville stealing the win before her partner took out Otis with a superkick after the match.

It’s great that WWE aren’t rushing into the big one-on-one match between Mandy and her former friend, and they’ll be able to deliver something truly special when the time is right.

Quickfire results

  • Braun Strowman pinned The Miz
  • IC Title Tournament: AJ Styles beat Shinsuke Nakamura
  • Bayley defeated Charlotte Flair
  • Sonya Deville and Dolph Ziggler beat Mandy Rose and Otis
  • IC Title Tournament: Jeff Hardy pinned Sheamus

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