During Friday Night SmackDown, it was announced that AJ Styles is now a member of Friday Night SmackDown following a trade with Raw.
Michael Cole made the announcement and stated that Styles had been traded to SmackDown “for future considerations”.
Styles was moved to Raw in April 2019 during the Superstar Shake-Up and remained on the brand after the October 2019 draft. He was part of one of the key programs on Raw with The Undertaker at this past year’s WrestleMania. Their ‘Boneyard Match’ was the main event on the first night of the show with Undertaker winning and Styles disappearing from television for several weeks.
Styles returned on the May 4th episode of Raw winning the Gauntlet Match to qualify for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match in Stamford, Connecticut, which had already been taped the previous month.
After his return on Raw, he spoke candidly on his Mixer account that “the return could’ve been more” with POST Wrestling’s Andrew Thompson transcribing his answer:
“The return… could’ve been more, okay. I’ve heard people talk about, ‘Well I mean… kinda just wasted it. AJ Styles was buried alive, could’ve came back as a different character in a different mood and a different look, something different about AJ Styles and he came back and he was exactly the same before he got buried.’ I’m with you. Now, I think the circumstances had a lot to do with AJ Styles coming back when he did… but, the circumstances, the match… maybe we needed some more star power in the match. Maybe that’s what that was. I don’t know, I’m not tooting my own horn here, but, I wish we could’ve waited and had times been different, that could’ve been something that we would’ve went .”
Styles had not appeared on Raw since Money in the Bank and was announced as part of the Intercontinental title tournament last week, although it wasn’t stated last week he was being moved permanently.
Styles defeated Shinsuke Nakamura in his opening round match that aired on Friday’s SmackDown and will face Elias on next week’s program in the semi-finals.