NJPW History: AJ Styles challenges a familiar foe for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship
At NJPW: Power Struggle 2015, Shinsuke Nakamura was scheduled to defend his IWGP Intercontinental Championship against one half of the IWGP Tag Team Champions. Karl Anderson had challenged The King of Strong Style to a match at Destruction in Kobe, claiming that he had already beaten Nakamura at the 2015 G1 Climax and deserved a shot at the title.
With Nakamura eventually accepting the challenge, a title match between himself and The Machine Gun was made official for Power Struggle and prior to the event, NJPW had hyped up the title bout by showcasing clips of the two men training together at NJPW's LA dojo back in the day.
Additionally, it was also confirmed that if Nakamura had gotten past Anderson, he would defend the IWGP IC Title at the Wrestle Kingdom 10 event at the Tokyo Dome in an open challenge, as it was teased that a title challenger would show up at Power Struggle and lay down the challenge to The King of Strong Style. That title challenger ultimately turned out to be Anderson's fellow Bullet Club stablemate, The Phenomenal One, AJ Styles.
AJ Styles steps up to Shinsuke Nakamura and sets up a dream match
At Power Struggle 2015, Karl Anderson came agonizingly close to winning the IWGP Intercontinental Championship for the first time in his career. However, Nakamura eventually retained the title after a hard-fought win over The Machine Gun, despite all of the Bullet Club being at ringside in support of the latter and also distracting Nakamura at times, as well.
Following the match, with Nakamura struggling to get up on his two feet, Bullet Club's main man AJ Styles walked up to The King of Strong Style, as the crowd and the commentators started to realize that the mystery title challenger was non-other The Phenomenal One himself.
After a minute of confrontation between the two, Styles then walked up to referee Red Shoes and took the IWGP Intercontinental Championship only to hand it over to Nakamura. But, with that The Phenomenal One also had the message for the champion as he pointed towards the IC Title and made his point clear by stating:
"This, I'm taking it!"
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At Wrestle Kingdom 10, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura faced off for the first time and it was an instant classic. Styles, however, failed to capture the IC Title from The King of Strong Style, as the two men left New Japan within a few weeks for WWE.Published 27 Sep 2019, 07:59 IST