Last night at WWE Backlash, Shinsuke Nakamura finally made his in-ring debut. He defeated Dolph Ziggler in the opening match of the evening, which surprised many people because they expected the match to take place later in the night. There was a lot of hype heading into the match, especially for Nakamura’s debut, but WWE officials decided to put his bout with Ziggler to open WWE Backlash because of the following reason.
During the event, the NBA Playoffs were also taking place as the Cleveland Cavilers were hosting the Boston Celtics for the third game of the Eastern Conference Finals. However, their game did not begin until roughly 8:30 p.m, which gave WWE the first half an hour of the PPV free to feature whatever they wanted to without competition from the NBA Playoffs and the choice was made to book Nakamura vs. Ziggler to open the show.
There was a lot of hype heading into the match at WWE Backlash because the powers that be wanted to wait for a PPV to ensure “The King of Strong Style” is featured as a big attraction. He was heavily featured in the promotion for the PPV for that exact reason. The win over Dolph Ziggler was just the beginning of his push as a top babyface for WWE, but it’s coming to light that his debut may not have gone exactly as planned and WWE officials will need to book him better in the future.
Following Nakamura’s win over Ziggler at WWE Backlash, a lot of fans are disappointed with the match the two men put on last night at the PPV. There is a general feeling that WWE officials waited too long to debut Shinsuke and his match with Dolph was underwhelming for many people because the expectations were too his first match on the main roster. Some fans may have been expecting something more from Nakamura.
Unfortunately, not everyone watches New Japan Pro Wrestling or even NXT. A great deal of the WWE fans had their first exposure to “The King of Strong Style” last night at WWE Backlash. After being hyped up for almost two months, it’s understandable why many WWE fans would feel underwhelmed by Shinsuke’s first match last night. WWE officials need to be careful in the future to ensure his rise continues on SmackDown.
The powers that be could also be intentionally holding back Shinsuke Nakamura’s work in the ring as a way to control his momentum because they don’t want him to enter the main event scene or WWE Title picture for a while. Nakamura had great matches in NXT with various opponents, so WWE officials may just be trying to manage the expectations of the fans, especially since Shinsuke has been brought in to replace John Cena.
Later in the night, Kevin Owens successfully defended the United States Championship against AJ Styles by count out. There is a strong possibility that the rivalry between Owens and Styles has only just begun, but it has been reported that WWE officials are thinking about having Shinsuke enter the U.S. Title hunt and begin a feud with Owens. On paper, Nakamura vs. Owens would be a huge boost to give the latter bigger matches.
The only issue with their rivalry is Nakamura would need to win the United States Title from Owens. At this point, WWE officials should not be booking Shinsuke to lose matches or get involved in some dusty finishes to keep the championship on Owens because that won’t help his momentum. Shinsuke Nakamura needs to have stronger matches to keep up with the expectations before WWE fans start to turn against his push.
[Featured Image by WWE]