The WWE Universe was shocked when A.J. Styles defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the WWE title at Wrestlemania. The Universe was even more floored when Nakamura hit Styles with a low blow, signifying a heel turn.
Nakamura never fully explained his actions on why he attacked Styles on the Smackdown Live after Wrestlemania. He merely offered an apology.
When he was asked why he did it, the King of Strong Style added “sorry, no speak English,” in a mocking tone.
Later in the evening, Nakamura solidified his heel turn by interrupting the dream match between Styles and former Smackdown General Manager-turned superstar Daniel Bryan. He low-blowed Styles twice, then hit Bryan with a Kinshasa.
It appears Nakamura’s program will continue with Styles and it will likely lead to another title bout at Extreme Rules.
This is the first time WWE fans will see Nakamura as a heel, and it could fall flat or it could lead to some big things for the King of Strong Style.
This is the first time Nakamura has been a heel since he started in WWE. He was a face during his entire NXT run, as well as his first year on Smackdown Live.
However, this isn’t the first time Nakamura has resorted to heel tactics. In 2009, while working for New Japan Pro Wrestling, Nakamura turned heel to side with former Great Bash Heel members to form the Chaos stable. This turn led to him becoming the King of Strong Style and resulted in great success, including a plethora of IWGP championships and epic matches with the likes of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe and Yugi Nagata.
Nakamura’s heel turn could result in the same success if he is invested in making his new persona work.
There are aspects Nakamura needs to work on in order to make this heel character successful. He has some work to do when it comes his language barrier and promos – and he has progressed since his NXT run. But he’ll need to continue to work on it, or at least have someone as a manager – like a Paul Heyman or a Zelina Vega.
Another way for him to be over as a heel is for him to channel that menacing wrestler who was mericlous when he fought his opponents. Nakamura needs to find a way to be that character but also have the fans boo him when he does it. The difficult aspect of being a heel in today’s wrestling – especially on WWE’s main roster – is fans will cheer you even if you are a bad guy and doing dastardly things.
However, having him work heel with fan favorites like Styles and Bryan and disrupting their dream match is a good start for Nakamura garnering heel heat.
WWE will also need to invested in a heel Nakamura. The company has not had a good track record of promoting International superstars, especially heels, like Cesaro, Rusev and Wade Barrett. The exceptions to this would be Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Then there are International stars like Jinder Mahal and Sheamus, who have had success but fans have not taken to them on their own – the Celtic Warrior recently got over with the crowd due to his amazing tag team work with fan favorite Cesaro.
However, Nakamura turning heel has perhaps propelled him to the top heel spot on Smackdown Live and having a babyface Styles could potentially make their next match better than Wrestlemania. Part of what made their match at Wrestle Kingdom 10 a classic was a heel Styles versus a babyface Nakamura.
Nakamura’s main roster run was luke warm up until he won the 2018 Royal Rumble.
Is there a chance Nakamura’s heel turn could tank? Probably, but it could be the best thing for his career. Fans will just have to wait and see.
Swerve Strickland Talks Hit Row’s Return to WWE
AEW superstar Swerve Strickland shared his thoughts on his former faction Hit Row, making their return to WWE. Since Strickland is currently in AEW, and one half of the tag team champions with Keith Lee, he is unable to join them.
“I’m happy for those guys and I’m happy they got their second chance, I really am” Strickland said during an appearance on the Grapsody podcast.
“Some people were like, ‘Are you upset about this? They’re back.’ Good, they deserve to be on TV. Now, this is their chance to be them and do what they do or however they want to do. There were times when I would discuss things and they wanted to do it this way, and I was like, ‘Okay, let’s try to mesh this together.’ It was a lot of teamwork and effort and family-type vibes to put these promos together. I don’t think I brought them up to the main roster, I think we did it together. A lot of people with these comments are trying to separate us and do the dividing thing. No, you’re not going to divide me from my friends. You’re not going to divide me from people that I was really grinding with at the PC [Performance Center] and every week on TV, trying to do something really special and being, literally, probably one of the most creative people in the entire PC because nobody was telling us what to do. We were literally coming up with it ourselves. We did that together to get to the main roster.” (quote courtesy of Fightful.com)
Braun Strowman Returns to WWE
After over a year since his release from WWE, Braun Strowman made his surprise return to the company during Monday Night RAW, during the Fatal-Four Way Number One Contenders tag team match between The New Day, Alpha Academy, Los Lotharios, and The Street Profits.
Now we have more information has come out regarding where Strowman will find himself on the main roster.
According to PWInsider, despite making his return on RAW Strowman will be a member of the SmackDown Live roster, and is slated to be used as a babyface.
Live Morgan Injury Update
SmackDown Women’s Champion Liv Morgan is set to defend her title at WWE Clash at the Castle that takes places in the United Kingdom during Labor Day Weekend, but could an injury limit her?
Morgan was wearing an arm brace on SmackDown leading fans to think she is legitimately hurt.
According to Fightful, Morgan is not hurt and the injury is a work to advance the storyline of Ronda Rousey “snapping” following the controversial ending to their SummerSlam championship match which saw Morgan clearly tapping out to Rousey prior to Rousey being counted down for the pinfall, giving Morgan the victory.
Morgan wining walking away still champion, given the circumstances, has irked fans.
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