Heading into WrestleMania 34, the WWE Universe assumed Shinsuke Nakamura would beat AJ Styles to become the WWE Champion. Afterward, The Phenomenal One would move to Raw and The King of Strong Style would lead SmackDown Live as its champion. However, those plans went up in smoke after AJ Styles defeated Nakamura to retain the WWE Title, but Shinsuke turned heel and left his former friend laid out.
Since last night, some fans have shared their disappointment about the performance Nakamura and Styles put on since their match was hyped up as something truly special. Despite those complaints, there’s a lot of speculation about Shinsuke’s heel turn and why WWE officials decided to head in that direction instead of just booking the easy title change. According to a new report from the Wrestling Observer, WWE officials pulled the trigger on Nakamura’s turn because they want the rivalry with Styles to continue and escalate.
WWE officials believed their rivalry would work a lot better with a stronger babyface versus heel dynamic, but Styles has already had a great heel run on SmackDown Live. It was logical for Nakamura to make the turn, and the expectation is that The King of Strong Style will be winning the WWE Title eventually. All of this depends on the WWE Universe buying Shinsuke Nakamura’s heel persona over the next couple weeks.
The initial reaction within the Superdome was mixed. The heel turn itself received a huge reaction from the WWE Universe, but that was the payoff of the entire match instead of the title change most people thought was coming. On paper, a more dangerous and violent Shinsuke Nakamura could make his character more interesting, but the language barrier might be a problem for him if Shinsuke needs to explain his motives.
The WWE Universe wasn’t happy with the match they received on the grandest stage of them all last night, but Nakamura’s heel turn is more than enough to keep them interested. WrestleMania was only the second time the two men had wrestled one another. As their feud continues and their conflict gets more personal, their matches will also improve. Eventually, the last thing the fans will complain about is the match quality.