Our final SmackDown match for WrestleMania 34 sees WWE Champion AJ Styles take on the 2018 Royal Rumble winner, Shinsuke Nakamura.
WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Bell sounds and the match is underway. They are tentative and circle each other, feeling each other out. Collar and elbow tie up and they push each other around until Styles drives Nakamura back into the corner. They separate and reset in the middle of the ring. Nakamura goes for a kicks and Styles evades and hits a takedown and Nakamura pushes Styles back to the ropes and they slowly separate. Nakamura plays some mind games but Styles slaps him in the face. Nakamura ends up hitting Styles with a big kick and pins for a 2-count. Nakamura grinds his knee on Styles face.
Nakamura kicks but Styles catches it. They jockey for position and Styles ends up levelling Nakamura. Styles goes on the attack now, delivering a snap-suplex for a 2-count. Styles sets up for another suplex but Nakamura defends and pushes Styles back into the corner. Nakamura lands some strikes. Irish whip and Styles hits a backbreaker. Nakamura holds the small of his back in pain. Then Styles starts landing some brutal kicks to his back. Styles hits the ropes and drops a knee on Nakamura’s face for a 2-count.
Styles puts Nakamura in a chin-lock and wrenches on it. Nakamura stands up and tries to counter but Styles lays him out with a dropkick. Nakamura rolls to the outside. Styles goes out to the apron and attempts a move but Nakamura evades and Styles smacks his face off the apron. Back in the ring and Nakamura lands some more shots. Nakamura goes to the top rope and hits Styles with a jumping sidekick. Both men sell in the middle of the ring. Nakamura does his “Come on!!” taunt. As Styles runs at him, Nakamura delivers a hard kick.
Nakamura puts Styles on the top rope and drives his knee into the exposed underbelly. Nakamura pins for a 2-count. He raises Styles for a suplex and drops Styles on his face. Nakamnura goes for something else but Styles counters now and drops Nakamura on his face in turn. Styles delivers a pump-handle gutbuster to Nakamura and pins for a near-fall. Styles sets up for a Styles Clash but Nakamura backdrops him out to the apron. Styles cracks Nakamura with a shot and springboards but Nakamura catches him and executes a landslide for a 2-count.
Styles and Nakamura fight for position and Styles end up kicks Nakamura’s leg out from under him. Nakamura goes down clutching his leg in pain. They scramble and Styles finds his way into a Calf Crusher as he torques on Nakamura’s leg. Nakamura transitions suddenly into a triangle choke. He has it tight on Styles but Styles somehow muscles Nakamura into the air and drops him on his neck to break the hold. Styles limps over to give Nakamura the Styles Clash but his back gives out.
Nakamura tries to capitalize and go for a kick but his leg gives out. Nakamura sets Styles up on the corner and goes for a kick but Styles knocks him back. Styles springboards and lands the Phenomenal Forearm. He pins. 1-2-… but Nakamura kicks out. Styles goes to the apron again. He springboards for the 450 splash but Nakamura gets his knees up. They both stand slowly and start trading shots in the middle of the ring. Nakamura looks rocked as Styles starts to get the best of the exchange.
Styles hits a pele kick but then Nakamura counters with a running knee to the back of Styles’ neck. He pins but Styles kicks out. Nakamura continues landing shots but his fatigue is showing. Nakamura then hits a reverse exploder suplex and sets up for a Kinshasa. As he runs for it, Styles rolls it through right into a Styles Clash. He pins for the 3-count. AJ Styles retains the WWE Championship.
Winner: AJ Styles (c)
After the match, Styles helps Nakamura up to his feet and the two men embrace. The crowd sounds their applause for the show of respect between the two great competitors. Nakamura approaches the ref and takes the title belt from him. He goes down to one knee and present Styles with the belt and Styles graciously accepts. But then suddenly Nakamura delivers a lowblow to Styles. The crowd reacts with a mix of shock and disgust. Nakamura taunts and mocks Styles and puts the boots to him as the crowd begins to boo loudly.
Nakamnura kicks Styles out of the ring and the ref is trying to talk him down but Nakamura continues to kicks Styles while he’s down. Nakamura sets up and makes his dash, taking Styles head nearly clean off with a Kinshasa beside the ring. The crowd boos as Nakamura makes his way up the aisle to the back.