Shinsuke Nakamura Wins WWE IC Title From Apollo Crews On SmackDown
Nakamura kicks off his second reign as champion
Shinsuke Nakamura is once again WWE Intercontinental champion, capturing the title from Apollo Crews at Friday night's WWE SmackDown taping in Tulsa.
Nakamura won the match after avoiding a splash from Crews, hitting a suplex, and then finishing with the Kinshasa. Both Rick Boogs and Commander Azeez were ejected from ringside during the course of the match.
For Nakamura, it's his second reign as Intercontinental champion. He previously reigned in 2019, after winning the title from Finn Balor on the kickoff show of Extreme Rules.
Nakamura's 201 day reign came to an end on the January 31, 2020 SmackDown, when he lost to Braun Strowman. Coincidentally, that title change also occurred in Tulsa.
For Crews, his first reign as Intercontinental champion comes to an end after 124 days. He captured the title from Big E at WrestleMania 37 in a "Nigerian Drum Fight". It was in that match that Azeez made his debut (in that character), helping Crews win.
Nakamura's win marks the first time the Intercontinental title has changed hands outside of Florida since March 8, 2020, when Sami Zayn won the belt in a handicap match in Philadelphia.