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AJ Styles Retains WWE Title vs. Shinsuke Nakamura at WWE Backlash After Count-Out

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

AJ Styles retained the WWE Championship after he and Shinsuke Nakamura wrestled to a double count-out in a No Disqualification match at Backlash Sunday in Newark, New Jersey.

After neither man could gain the upper hand for an extended period, the frustration of both Nakamura and Styles became evident as they simultaneously attempted kicks below the belt. They connected with low blows on one another, and neither man could answer the 10-count:

WWE @WWE

After a DOUBLE LOW BLOW, neither @AJStylesOrg nor @ShinsukeN could answer the count of 1️⃣0️⃣, so AJ Styles is STILL your @WWE Champion! #WWEBacklash https://t.co/Aql9vG3iZ2

Needless to say, the finish left a lot to be desired for many fans:

Dave Schilling @dave_schilling

That was not a great finish, folks. That’s how you piss off an already dead crowd. #WWEBacklash

Bryan Alvarez @bryanalvarez

We had a stupid countout finish at the last show, which sucked in real life, and then they booked a NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH as a result, which sucked in storyline, and then the finish was a double countout, which sucked in storyline AND in real life. #WWEBacklash

PWI @OfficialPWI

Another lame finish to Nakamura-Styles, with both men being counted down, presumably setting up a last man standing. #WWEBacklash #AC

Jeremy Botter @jeremybotter

I remember when I cared about Nakamura vs. Styles. WWE has ruined that feeling entirely.

Sunday's match was several weeks in the making, dating back to the highly anticipated meeting between Styles and Nakamura at WrestleMania 34.

The Phenomenal One was victorious in that match after catching Nakamura in the Styles Clash, and that seemed to flip a switch within The King of Strong Style.

Nakamura hit Styles with a low blow after the match, which signaled a heel turn. Since that point, he has taken every opportunity afforded to him to hit Styles below the belt.

At the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Styles and Nakamura once again locked horns with the WWE Championship hanging in the balance.

Nakamura hit Styles with a low blow when the official wasn't looking, but Styles managed to kick out and preserve his WWE title reign.

The dirty tactics enraged Styles, which led to him brawling with Nakamura outside the ring. That resulted in a double count-out, and SmackDown Live general manager Paige aimed to prevent something similar from happening at Backlash.

In an effort to determine a clear and decisive winner, Paige made the Backlash bout a No Disqualification match, meaning that even Nakamura's low blows would be legal.

That stipulation seemed to play right into Nakamura's hands, considering how dastardly and vicious he has become, although Styles is no stranger to the hardcore element either.

There was a great deal of excitement entering the WrestleMania match between Styles and Nakamura, but the atmosphere was a difficult one for WWE to handle since the WWE Universe loved both Superstars.

Nakamura still has his fair share of fans, but his actions have garnered him some legitimate heat, and it made for a more suitable environment when they did battle for the title at Backlash.

With tons of heat between Nakamura and Styles because of The Artist's recent actions, Sunday's match was a hard-hitting and emotional affair.

Also, it was made even bigger by the fact that Brock Lesnar wasn't part of the card, meaning the Universal Championship wasn't on the line.

Nakamura and Styles took advantage of that spotlight for the most part, but the finish of Sunday's match will overshadow much of what preceded it. Perhaps the fourth meeting between the two stars can finally deliver the classic bout fans have wanted to see since Nakamura's Royal Rumble win in January.

                   

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