How Shinsuke Nakamura's freak injury altered three WWE stars' SmackDown debut

Shinsuke Nakamura has worked for WWE since 2016.
Shinsuke Nakamura has worked for WWE since 2016.

Big Damo, formerly known as Killian Dain in WWE, recently discussed the bizarre situation involving Shinsuke Nakamura that led to SAnitY’s main roster debut.

Nakamura was scheduled to challenge Jeff Hardy for the United States Championship on the June 26, 2018 episode of SmackDown. However, he was unable to compete after a police dog bit his leg.

Speaking on the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast, Damo recalled how WWE’s higher-ups chose SAnitY member Eric Young as Nakamura’s replacement.

“We go up to the main roster, we’re heels, we don’t have Nikki [Cross],” Damo said. “Shinsuke Nakamura gets bitten by a bomb dog, so they need somebody to job to Jeff Hardy. Some genius puts their hand up and says, ‘Hey, why don’t you have EY [Eric Young] do that? He’s a great wrestler.’ And he is, but that was our debut. We lose on television, and that’s what happens.” [51:39-52:01]

As Damo referenced, Nikki Cross did not join her fellow SAnitY members on SmackDown. Instead, she stayed in NXT before moving to the main roster in late 2018 as a singles competitor.

How did WWE book SAnitY in Shinsuke Nakamura’s place?

The team of @JEFFHARDYBRAND & The @WWEUsos united to battle #SAnitY in #6ManTag action on #SDLive!

Eric Young defeated Jeff Hardy via disqualification in a 10-minute match after being attacked by Jey Uso. At the time, SAnitY had already started feuding with The Usos but they had not yet competed against each other.

In the next match, Hardy teamed up with The Usos to defeat SAnitY (Alexander Wolfe, Eric Young, and Killian Dain). The finish to the seven-minute contest saw Hardy pin Wolfe following a Swanton Bomb.

SAnitY defeated The New Day in a tables match during the Extreme Rules 2018 kickoff show a month later. Unfortunately, that victory turned out to be the only major highlight of their one-year run together on the main roster.

Please credit the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling if you use quotes from this article.

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Edited by Kartik Arry