WWE SmackDown: AJ Styles Retains IC Title Against Gran Metalik In Excellent Match

Following his victory in a fatal four-way match last week on SmackDown, Gran Metalik received a shot to dethrone WWE Intercontinental Champion AJ Styles this week on WWE SmackDown. The match kicked off the broadcast right at the top of the hour, and Metalik was accompanied to the ring by his partner, Lince Dorado. On commentary, Michael Cole spoke about how the Intercontinental Championship has often been regarded as the "working man's championship," with Corey Graves talking about the respect the belt has among the talent in the locker room.

The match started slow, with both struggling to get position. Eventually, Styles suckered Metalik in and began striking his opponent with some hard kicks and throwing him into the corner for some chops. He methodically worked over his opponent with a backbreaker and a delayed vertical suplex. He continued working the back with a strong Irish whip into the corner.

Metalik fought back after dodging an elbow drop. He hit a head scissors to send Styles outside the ring. He went for some offense, but Styles was able to knock him off the apron to the floor. Styles then tried to fly off the ring apron, but Metalik knocked Styles from the ring to the floor. Metalik then ran across the ring apron and hit a running head scissors, sending Styles into the ring barricade as they went to commercial.

Metalik continued to work for position and hit a flying crossbody for a near fall. After a brief flurry of offense, Styles took advantage again and worked Metalik's left leg. Even so, he fought back and hit a huge swinging DDT for a near fall. He continued on with a missile drop kick for another near fall. The announcers spoke about how doubt might be creeping in as he just couldn't keep Styles down.

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Metalik tried to lift Styles but his knee, which Styles was just working over, gave out. Styles hit a flurry of chops and a clothesline to send him down to the mat. Styles crawled to the outside and went for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Metalik dodged it and his an enziguiri kick. He pounced off the second rope, but Styles dodged it and sent Metalik to the apron. Styles then locked in the Calf Crusher in the middle of the ring and won via submission.

After the closing bell, Styles fought with Lince Dorado in the ring and hit a Styles Clash on him as well. What did you think of the IC Title match on SmackDown? Let us know in the comments section below, and give me a follow on Twitter @ryandroste for all things WWE and AEW.

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