WWE fans are continuing to wonder when they might see former NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura return to the ring, following his championship loss at NXT TakeOver: San Antonio. During his match against Bobby Roode, Nakamura was shown to have sustained a knee injury. Luckily for fans of the superstar, it appears it was not a serious incident and that Nakamura could be back to the show within the next several weeks. In addition to that, there’s still those ongoing rumors and discussions of when Nakamura might show up on either Raw or SmackDown Live for his main roster debut.
The injury occurred at the NXT TakeOver: San Antonio pay-per-view in a loss against Bobby Roode. At one point in the match, Nakamura was clutching his knee in pain, leading to the referee needing to check on his condition. Nakamura continued the match, but the injury proved to be too much for him, allowing Bobby Roode to win the NXT Championship. Following that match, Roode has appeared on NXT programming to celebrate his title win, while Nakamura was nowhere to be seen due to being hurt.
While Nakamura was missing from Wednesday’s show, WrestleZone indicates that Nakamura won’t need surgery for the injury so he won’t be away much longer. The site reported that WWE didn’t give a specific timetable for the former NXT champ’s return to the WWE Network show. Nakamura wasn’t part of the tapings for the Wednesday, February 8 or February 14 episodes, so there is an expectation he’ll probably appear on the February 22 episode in less than two weeks. The other speculation is that he’d obviously be going after a rematch with Roode for the NXT title.
While the NXT star’s return to his regular program seems imminent, the bigger question is when Nakamura might finally debut on the main roster. In recent weeks, at least two NXT stars have made main roster debuts. Tye Dillinger appeared as the only NXT star in the Royal Rumble making his entrance at the No. 10 spot. Dillinger got involved in the action quite a bit, but was eliminated several spots later. He’s yet to show up on either Raw or SmackDown Live and seems like he’ll be sticking around on NXT a bit longer.
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Meanwhile, Samoa Joe made a huge debut on last Monday’s episode of Raw to assist Triple H in taking care of Seth Rollins. Not only did Joe attack Seth Rollins and put a vicious submission hold on him in the ring, but he ended up causing Rollins to sustain a knee injury, sidelining him for up to eight weeks. Just this past Monday, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley officially signed Joe to Monday Night Raw, and he participated in the main event match against Roman Reigns. Joe came up on the winning side in his debut.
With Joe having shown up on the main roster, and Bobby Roode having captured the NXT title, it makes Shinsuke Nakamura the next likely star to make the transition. According to WWE Leaks, there are betting odds now available as to when Nakamura might make his official debut on Raw or SmackDown. There are four choices listed right now, and as it stands, the month of April is leading the way with 1-to-2 odds. February is at 6-to-1, with March at 3-to-1. The month May or later currently carries odds of 2-to-1 for Nakamura’s debut.
It’s no surprise that April is leading the way since that’s when WrestleMania 33 takes place. It’s not likely that the former NXT Champion will appear during the big pay-per-view, but often, the night after the event takes place, something big happens on Monday Night Raw. Could the stage be set for Nakamura to make a big debut on Raw the night after a new champion is crowned at WrestleMania? His debut will certainly be the next big thing for WWE unless they’re planning to bring UFC star Conor McGregor into the mix.
That also begs the question for which roster would be better for Nakamura. Right now, it would seem that if Samoa Joe is on Raw, then it would be wiser to put Nakamura on SmackDown Live. If John Cena takes time off following WrestleMania, it might make Nakamura a good addition to the blue brand. However, WWE may also decide they want Nakamura to feud with the likes of former NXT talents Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe to start off his career on the main roster.
WWE fans, should Shinsuke Nakamura debut before or after WrestleMania 33? Also which roster would he be better on: Raw or SmackDown?
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