Jinder Mahal Battles Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn In Tag Team Match At Live Event In Knoxville

The WWE World Champion Jinder Mahal was involved in tag team battle on Saturday night as he took on one of WWE’s newest superstars. The latest WWE house show match saw the “Modern-Day Maharaja” in action with tag team partner Baron Corbin, as they took on two other Money in the Bank ladder match participants. Sami Zayn teamed with Shinsuke Nakamura, less than a week after “The King of Strong Style” made his in-ring debut for SmackDown Live. In addition to that, the latest WWE show featured Kevin Owens putting the United States Championship on the line against A.J. Styles again.

The latest event was a live WWE house show featuring the SmackDown Live stars in Knoxville, Tennessee. As Wrestling Inc reported, the match card featured a total of eight matches that fans got to witness in person. Leading off the show were the entertaining act known as The Fashion Police, while A.J. Styles and Kevin Owens closed out the show in the main event United States title match. Interestingly, the tag team match featuring the WWE World Champion Jinder Mahal and Shinsuke Nakamura was around the middle of the card. Former WWE Champion Randy Orton was not a part of the show.

WWE SmackDown Live star Shinsuke Nakamura makes his entrance
WWE SmackDown Live star Shinsuke Nakamura makes his entrance at Backlash 2017. [Image by WWE]

Abbey Arthur of Top Rope Press indicated that Orton will still make appearances on SmackDown Live but will be away from WWE live events, such as this Knoxville event. In the house show match, the team of Nakamura and Zayn grabbed the victory, as one Twitter user provided some of the takeaways, including that Nakamura spent 80 percent of the match on the apron. “The King of Strong Style” ultimately got his team the big win, though, as he hit his running knee finisher Kinshasha to take down his opponent for the pinfall. Nakamura used the move to capture a win on SmackDown Live when teaming with AJ Styles this past week, as well.

What makes the latest tag team match interesting is the fact that it featured the current champion and three of the Money in the Bank ladder match competitors. One of those MITB contenders is considered the top favorite to win. Ongoing WWE rumors have suggested Baron Corbin will be “Mr. Money in the Bank” this year, although Kevin Owens is a close second on the betting odds, along with Nakamura. One has to wonder if the reason these competitors were working together is due to a plan that WWE has involving them. However, this also seems to be Nakamura filling in for Orton while he’s away from the live shows. One would expect that Nakamura could have more matches with “The Showoff” Dolph Ziggler coming up at shows.

While “The King of Strong Style” already has a good bit of popularity with viewers who watched him in other places such as NXT, he’s still building up his main roster credibility. There was criticism over Nakamura’s Backlash 2017 match, which was his main roster debut at a pay-per-view. Nakamura collected the win over Dolph Ziggler in a mediocre match to open the pay-per-view. Wrestling journalists including Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter Radio mentioned that the match didn’t hurt Nakamura, but it didn’t really do him any favors either.

Jinder Mahal puts headlock on Sami Zayn
Jinder Mahal and Sami Zayn have met in several matches since moving to the WWE SmackDown Live program. [Image by WWE]

As far as Jinder Mahal goes, most wrestling fans know that the jury is still out on the newest WWE World Champion. Mahal will have the championship belt until at least the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. At that event, he’ll defend in a rematch against “The Viper” Randy Orton. Fans are certainly waiting to see if Mahal can continue to elevate his overall in-ring and mic skills in the coming weeks to really sell this match. If not, the “Modern-day Maharaja” could end up amongst the list of forgettable championship reigns in WWE history.

[Featured Image by WWE]

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