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Fatal four-way IC title match set for next week's WWE SmackDown

Apollo Crews' next Intercontinental title defense is set -- but it won't be taking place at WrestleMania Backlash.

WWE has announced that Crews will defend his Intercontinental title against Big E, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens in a fatal four-way match on SmackDown next Friday. It will be the first SmackDown episode following this Sunday's WrestleMania Backlash pay-per-view.

There was a segment on tonight's SmackDown where Crews presented the "Nigerian Medal of Honor" to Commander Azeez. Crews said a swarm of gnats have been coming after him since he became Intercontinental Champion, but Azeez has thwarted them time after time. Crews said he's restored glory to the Intercontinental title with the help of Azeez and has brought honor to his home of Nigeria. Crews said there's no end in sight to his reign of prosperity.

After Crews gave the Medal of Honor to Azeez, Big E appeared on the video screen and interrupted them. Zayn and then Owens came out to the ring. Crews and Azeez brawled with Owens while Zayn bailed. Big E came out to even the odds, but Owens accidentally gave him a superkick during the brawl. Zayn attacked Owens but was laid out with a stunner. Big E recovered and gave Owens the Big Ending. He then tried to give Crews the Big Ending too, but Azeez helped Crews get away.

Crews approached authority figures Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville backstage later in the show and demanded consequences for Big E, Zayn, and Owens. Pearce said he was trying to figure out who would challenge for Crews' Intercontinental title next week. Crews said it was outrageous that Pearce would reward them for their misbehavior.

Deville told Crews that he better be careful or Pearce might make him face all of his challengers at once like he did with Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. Pearce liked that idea and made Crews vs. Big E vs. Zayn vs. Owens for the Intercontinental title official for next Friday's SmackDown.

Crews has been Intercontinental Champion since winning the title from Big E in a Nigerian Drum Fight at WrestleMania 37 last month. Azeez debuted as Crews' bodyguard during that match and interfered to help Crews win the title.