#AndNEW: Sami Zayn Wins Intercontinental Championship on SmackDown

Sami Zayn Three Time Intercontinental Champion

On this week’s edition of Friday Night SmackDown, which was a pre-taped show, Shinsuke Nakamura defended the Intercontinental Championship against Sami Zayn. Late last year, Zayn became the number one contender when he won a 12 Days of Christmas Gauntlet Match. Since then, Zayn has not only been focused on Nakamura and Rick Boogs but even had a few run-ins with Johnny Knoxville, both on the Red Carpet and in this year’s Royal Rumble match. SmackDown saw the inevitable Intercontinental title match come to pass. Following a spirited effort from Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn emerged victorious with his third Intercontinental Championship in his WWE career.

The match approached its conclusion when it seemed like Shinsuke Nakamura had the match in his control. Prior to this, however, Nakamura’s knee suffered considerable abuse in what had been a brutal match. Sami Zayn escaped to the outside, which allowed him to further target the champion’s knee. Back in the ring, Zayn attacked Nakamura’s knee once more before covering him for the surprise three-count.

Sami Zayn Captures Intercontinental Championship

What to Know Following Title Victory on Friday Night SmackDown

With this victory, as mentioned earlier, Sami Zayn is now a 3x WWE Intercontinental Champion. His previous reigns both took place in 2020, winning his first in March and his second the following September. Zayn’s first reign lasted 65 days, being stripped of the title when he elected to step away from competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic. His second reign was slightly longer at 86 days, winning the title in a Triple Threat Ladder Match against AJ Styles and then-titleholder Jeff Hardy. Zayn would go on to lose the title to Big E on the pre-Christmas edition of SmackDown later that year.

With WrestleMania 38 only a few months away, it’s fair to expect that Sami Zayn will enter “The Grandest Stage of Them All” as the Intercontinental Champion. One must wonder what role he’ll play during this event. Will he be challenged by Nakamura to a rematch? Will Zayn find himself defending the title against multiple competitors in a single match? Perhaps Knoxville will reemerge as a WrestleMania competitor. Stay tuned to WWE on TV and via social media as this story develops.

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