Reported reason for RAW's AJ Styles being included in the Intercontinental Championship tournament revealed

  • Ahead of tonight's SmackDown, rumors have surfaced explaining AJ Styles' involvement in the IC Title tournament.
  • AJ Styles will be representing RAW as part of the new Brand-To-Brand Invitational.
Ali Siddiqui
Modified 23 May 2020, 13:37 IST

AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura are set to square off on SmackDown tonight.
AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura are set to square off on SmackDown tonight.

On last week's episode of RAW, WWE announced a new "Brand-to-Brand Invitational" system. Per this new rule, every RAW Superstar will have the ability to appear as part of SmackDown on a maximum of four occasions per year and vice versa.

Tonight on SmackDown, RAW Superstar AJ Styles will square off against Shinsuke Nakamura in a first-round match as part of the tournament to crown a new Intercontinental Champion.

Fans have been wondering, though, what will happen if Styles beats Nakamura to advance into the semis? Also, what happens if Styles ends up winning the whole thing? Now it seems we may have some answers for these questions.

AJ Styles' past history with Shinsuke Nakamura is reportedly the reason behind the for his inclusion in the Intercontinental Title tournament

In his latest video, Tom Colohue (Sportskeeda's Senior Journalist) addressed the rumors surrounding the Phenomenal One's role in the ongoing tournament. He revealed:

"AJ Styles is there to make sure every first-round match has some heat, has some intensity, and has some history to it. They have done that with Sheamus and Jeff Hardy. They have done that with Daniel Bryan and Drew Gulak. They have done that with Baron Corbin and Elias and they need an opponent for Nakamura who would really help that."

Tom offered his personal view on the likelihood of Styles advancing into the later rounds of the tournament.

"We'll see if Styles advances because when it comes to Elias, I think Nakamura and Elias have a stronger pairing."

Well, AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura certainly makes for an interesting first-round match. Back in 2018, the two feuded over Styles' WWE Championship. Their heated rivalry culminated at Money in the Bank 2018, with the "Phenomenal One" defeating Nakamura in a Last Man Standing bout to retain his title.


Although Nakamura has been rumored to be getting the win on SmackDown, we can't rule out AJ Styles just yet. As stated above, the Brand-to-Brand Invitational allows every Superstar to show up on the opposite brand up to four times a year.

Therefore, if Styles was to advance against Nakamura, he would still technically be able to make three more appearances on the blue brand in 2020. This would be enough, of course, to allow Styles to compete in the entire Intercontinental Championship tournament.

There are a good number of options for WWE to consider when selecting the next Intercontinental Champion. Whichever way the company chooses to go, the tournament itself should be a thrilling watch.

Published 23 May 2020, 05:07 IST
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