Shinsuke Nakamura may currently be feuding with Jeff Hardy for the United States Championship, but he was absent from SmackDown Live on Tuesday due to an unexpected injury the day before, when he was bitten by a police dog in Bakersfield, California. While he is currently on crutches due to the dog bite, he recently cut a series of interviews in his home country of Japan, including one where he provided an update on his injury, and a tentative timeline for his return to the ring.
According to WrestlingNews.co, Nakamura cut an interview on Saturday with Nikkan Sports, where he said that he hopes to be back in the ring in about two weeks from now. This could mean that he will be healthy in time for WWE’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view, which takes place on July 15. Currently, Nakamura does not have a match booked for the event, but WrestlingNews.co speculated that WWE might book him to face reigning U.S. Champion Jeff Hardy for the title, as both men were supposed to face off for the belt on Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live.
At the moment, it’s not clear whether WWE and/or Shinsuke Nakamura will take legal action in relation to the 38-year-old Japanese superstar’s injury, which he suffered on Monday before a house show in Bakersfield. According to Deadspin, Nakamura was bitten by a police dog, an injury which was confirmed in a statement from the Bakersfield Police Department that merely identified him as a “WWE employee.” The incident reportedly took place as the department’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team was conducting a routine sweep of the Rabobank Arena ahead of the scheduled live event.
“The canine entered the room to sweep for the presence of any explosive material,” the statement specified.
“As the sweep took place the WWE employee was accidentally [bitten] by the canine. The employee sustained an injury to his lower left leg. Medical aid was immediately summoned to the scene and the employee was transported to a local area hospital for medical treatment.”
As noted by Wrestling Inc., Shinsuke Nakamura’s injury didn’t stop him from making an appearance at a WWE house show in Tokyo, where he headed to the ring in crutches. As he was performing in his home country, he was booked as a babyface instead of his current heel character, with Samoa Joe attacking him and prompting a save from WWE Champion AJ Styles. Ironically, Nakamura and Styles had an intense rivalry for the WWE Championship, where Styles emerged victorious in the feud by retaining his title at last month’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view.