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.
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? February 4, 2019
For Raw, the whole back and forth rivalry between Jeff Jarrett and Elias was entertaining. What started at the Royal Rumble and has carried over for the past few weeks, seeing Elias and Jarrett exchange guitar shots had a throwback feel to it. Along with that, Road Dogg being in the corner of Jarrett really brought times back. Lastly, Elias ended up winning the match, which helps give him momentum going into whoever his next rival will be.
For Smackdown, Mustafa Ali and Randy Orton put on the best match during their show this week. Ali’s high flying against Randy Orton’s slow attacking pace was a great matchup of styles and it showed. Orton ended up winning after hitting an RKO from the top rope and gives him the upper hand towards the Elimination Chamber match.
For Raw, the lack of featuring the tag team champions on their show this week was evident. While they did have a number one contenders match featured this week, the winners ended up being the Revival. This is a match that we have already seen one too many times and if there isn’t a different result this time around, then what is the point of the Revival facing off against the tag team champions.
For Smackdown, after R-Truth shocked the world last week by defeating Shinsuke Nakamura to win the United States championship, you would think that we would get a segment of him celebrating this victory the next week. Instead, he wasn’t even really on the show this week. As good as R-Truth is, at least a 30 second segment would’ve been better than nothing from him.
The Final Verdict
Both shows were average this week. They did help build the Elimination Chamber as well as still pushing Ronda Rousey versus Becky Lynch as the main event of Wrestlemania. But, there was lots missing from both brands this week. Both shows were missing champions this week and didn’t even bother mentioning them. As talented as the champions currently are, each one should get respective time. With that said though, I will have to say that Raw had the better show this week. A debuting EC3, a solid double match with Ronda Rousey, and a decent main event gave Raw a better show this time around. In conclusion, WWE still has some work to do when building up these next two PPV’s, hopefully, they can put on better efforts that they did this week.
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? January 28, 2019
For Raw, the ending segment between Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar was an awesome way to close out the show and start the build for this match at Wrestlemania. After Rollins won the Royal Rumble on Sunday, he had to make a decision on which champion he would face. Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar told Rollins to choose Daniel Bryan over Lesnar because he didn’t want to fight with Lesnar, which led to Rollins responding by igniting a brawl. Overall, great way to help ramp up the intensity for what could be the main event of Wrestlemania.
For Smackdown, we have a new United States champion and this moment really came out of nowhere. R-Truth went one on one against Shinsuke Nakamura for the championship and he won via roll up. Soon after Truth won, Rusev then came out and challenged Truth to defend his newly won belt. Truth won again via roll up, which led to both Nakamura and Rusev attacking him after. Its a fresh start with the US championship and somebody with as much charisma as Truth is a good way to hit the reset button for this belt.
For Raw, who knows what they are trying to do with Kurt Angle. After losing to Baron Corbin in about five minutes, this leaves lots of questions on where Angle stands with WWE. Ever since he has came back to the ring, he has lost over and over again. This shouldn’t be happening with a hall of fame of his status. But, this could lead to an interesting story considering how good Angle is.
For Smackdown, while it was a feel good moment to see the Miz and Shane McMahon win the tag team championship, their celebration on the show this week wasn’t that compelling. At the PPV, when they won the match, they celebrated with the Miz’s father. Then, during this celebration, it was the same thing as the Miz’s dad came out and celebrated with them along with a video package being played. This could’ve been done better and differently considering we already saw this type of celebration during the PPV.
The Final Verdict
Overall, both shows were really good this week. Not only are they starting to layout some of the big matches for Wrestlemania, but they are also starting to implement matches for their upcoming PPV, Elimination Chamber. Smackdown felt a little crammed though as they were trying to fit in promos during superstars entrances and having promos during commercials. While Raw, on the other hand, was able to announce two huge matches for Wrestlemania as well as help build up some rivalries going into Elimination Chamber. Raw had the better show this week for a few reasons. A solid ending, a great beginning for the Ronda Rousey versus Becky Lynch match, and an entertaining segment with Elias help Raw deliver this week. In conclusion, 2019 continues to be good for WWE so hopefully they can continue this pace going into their next big PPV of the year.
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? January 21, 2019
For Raw, the match between Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre to help build up the Royal Rumble was a great match. It will be likely these two will be near the end of the Royal Rumble match so this was a great preview for what is to come. Rollins ended up winning after a surprise roll up, which is great for him having lots of momentum going into the Royal Rumble.
For Smackdown, the ending of their show was awesome. The main event was Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade again, but this time, it was a two out of three falls match. The innovation and chemistry these two have in the ring is incredible. The series was tied 1-1 and when it looked like Mysterio was going to win this bout, Samoa Joe interfered. He attacked both superstars to make a statement in regards to the Royal Rumble. What made this so great though was when Joe was on the mic, Randy Orton hit an RKO out of nowhere.
For Raw, while Elias and Baron Corbin were able to put on a pretty good match this week, this is something we have seen for way too long. It was even mentioned by the announce team that this had been going on for months. While some rivalries are able to pull that off, these two can only do it for so long because it has felt like it has been going on since halfway through 2018.
For Smackdown, the only downside that occurred on their show this week was the lack of build up to the United States Championship match. Smackdown seemed to have time to build up every match for the PPV as well as matches on their show. So, it doesn’t seem understandable on why they wouldn’t put time for that match too.
The Final Verdict
With these being the go home shows before the Royal Rumble, both brands were able to put on great shows. From start to finish, they were able to build the PPV as well as put on good matches. As far as who put on a better quality show, it feels like Smackdown had the better show this week. A great segment for the WWE Championship match, an incredible main event, and an even better ending is why they were able to have the better show. In conclusion, WWE seemed to hit all the right notes for both brands in the build up for the Royal Rumble so hopefully we get to see more of this in 2019.
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