AJ Styles is now a member of the blue brand after WWE play-by-play commentator Michael Cole announced the two-time WWE champion was traded from Monday Night Raw to the Friday Night SmackDown roster in exchange for Superstars to be named later.
The announcement occurred as Styles was introduced prior to his WWE Intercontinental Tournament quarterfinal match with Shinsuke Nakamura. Styles won and advanced to the semifinals against Elias.
Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet provided some context behind the move as well as Styles' placement in the tournament, which is being held for a title defended on the blue brand, despite him being on the Raw roster initially:
"As you’ll recall, Styles was announced as part of the Intercontinental Championship tournament this month despite being part of Raw. While walking to the ring tonight, however, commentary confirmed he was traded for 'Superstars to be named later.'
"This is a change from the initial reason given for his inclusion, which was WWE’s brand invitation.
"Styles moving back to SmackDown after WrestleMania had been rumored months back, but this was initially not possible due to family commitments he had on Friday nights. Now, with the shows being pre-taped for the most part, as well as children’s sports not happening, the move became possible."
The WWE has moved to its performance center in Orlando, Florida, without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That would appear to be the case for the foreseeable future with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing its spread throughout the United States. Per the World Health Organization on Friday, over 1.52 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States, and over 91,500 people have died. A total of 24,417 new confirmed cases occurred on Thursday alone.
As far as this edition of SmackDown went, Styles took the quarterfinal win home thanks to a Phenomenal Forearm:
Styles has been on the SmackDown roster before after he was drafted to the blue brand in 2016. He moved over to Raw in the 2019 Superstar Shake-up and stayed there for over a year before Friday's announcement.