Roderick Strong Beats Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles at WWE Survivor Series 2019

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2019

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North American champion Roderick Strong beat United States champion AJ Styles and intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura at Survivor Series on Sunday in a Triple Threat clash of WWE's midcard titleholders.

Styles was poised to pick up the victory after hitting Nakamura with a Phenomenal Forearm. Strong seized on an opportunity, though, and threw the Raw Superstar out of the ring.

That allowed him to pin The Artist and claim the win for NXT.

For the first time, WWE announced Survivor Series would pit Raw vs. SmackDown vs. NXT, and when that call was made, one of the potential dream matches many fans wanted was a Triple Threat involving Styles, Nakamura and Strong.

All three Superstars made a name for themselves due to their in-ring work before joining WWE. Styles was a major star in Impact Wrestling and in Japan, Nakamura was one of the most popular performers in New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Strong was one of the faces of Ring of Honor.

There wasn't a ton of build between the three combatants prior to Survivor Series, but they all have some level of history together, which meant many fans were already invested.

Most notably, Styles and Nakamura had a lengthy feud over the WWE Championship two years ago that included a match at WrestleMania 34. It started as face vs. face before The Artist turned heel, and both Superstars are currently heels.

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There may have been some leftover bad blood between them, but there was an even bigger issue between Styles and Strong.

After Undisputed Era and several other NXT Superstars invaded Raw by attacking The O.C. and others, Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson made their way to the black and gold brand in an effort to get revenge.

The trio jumped Undisputed Era and left them laying outside Full Sail Arena, although Adam Cole did get the last laugh for the NXT team by interrupting the main event of the show and taking out The Phenomenal One.

Sunday's bout was essentially a showdown between three of the best in-ring performers in the world, and while no titles were on the line, they were battling for bragging rights.

A case could have been made for any of them to win, but with NXT gaining more exposure lately and having a weekly show on USA Network every Wednesday, Strong's victory lends more credibility to the brand as a whole.


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