Following WWE stripping Sami Zayn of the Intercontinental Championship, a tournament was revealed to crown a new champion. However, it wasn't until Friday evening that we got the pairings for the bracket. The tournament will involve eight participants, with two first round match-ups scheduled for Friday night's edition of SmackDown. The ntrants in the tournament include Daniel Bryan, Drew Gulak, Jeff Hardy, Sheamus, Elias, King Corbin, AJ Styles, and Shinsuke Nakamura. It's notable that Bryan and Gulak will take on each other in the first round given their recent alliance.
You can view the full tournament bracket below.
Zayn was stripped of the title following his decision to not travel to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the specifics of his decision are not known, WWE was informed that Zayn won't be performing for the foreseeable future, and that decision led WWE to strip hi of the title.
According to a report from Tom Colohue of Sportskeeda:
Well, they asked Sami a few times if he was ready to come back. It's been a gradual process, he has not been able to say very certainly that, 'look, I will not be back', until recently. He came to a decision after he went to work at WrestleMania. Obviously had the match there, retained the belt. I don't know what made the decision for him, I'm sure he has his own personal reasons, so I'm going to leave the speculation there. Either way, the WWE knowing that he was not returning, at least for the foreseeable future, decided that they had to rewrite a lot of storylines. So they came up with the idea to strip him of the belt and put on a tournament.
Who do you want to see emerge from the tournament as the new WWE Intercontinental Champion? Let us know in the comments section below, and give me a follow on Twitter @ryandroste for all things WWE.