The go-home episode of Friday Night SmackDown opened with an ascension ceremony. Both Jeff Hardy and Sami Zayn's WWE Intercontinental Championship belts were hung above the ring in preparation for their Ladder match at Clash of Champions.
During the ceremony, Zayn attacked AJ Styles and Hardy by sneakily knocking a pair of ladders onto them both. A Triple Threat match between the warring trio was then immediately set by Adam Pearce. The disdain that the trio holds for one another was well and truly on display during the last-minute match.
The match ended with Zayn pinning Hardy, before Styles attacked both of his rivals with a ladder and took both belts off the hook. It was what The Phenomenal One would've hoped is a preview of what is to come at Clash of Champions.
#5 AJ Styles wins at Clash of Champions
Following the ending to the Triple Threat match on Friday Night SmackDown, AJ Styles scaled the ladders to collect both titles. The Phenomenal One reached the WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Final after Sami Zayn decided to take a hiatus from WWE earlier this year. He defeated Daniel Bryan to win the title for the first time in his WWE career.
Styles held on to the Intercontinental Championship for 70 days until he was beaten by Jeff Hardy. Since Hardy won the title, the pair have continued their feud, with Styles determined to win it back.
Styles has shown that he is a strong contender in ladder matches recently. The Superstar was fingertips away from becoming this year's Mr. Money in the Bank. He managed to climb to the top of the ladder and unhook the briefcase, but unfortunately dropped it and Otis grabbed it to win.
The high-flying abilities of Styles are a perfect pairing with the Ladder match, and this could work to his advantage at Clash of Champions.