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SK Exclusive: Shinsuke Nakamura to face this SmackDown Live Superstar on Backlash

The first ever televised encounter between Shinsuke Nakamura and Dolph Ziggler will be held off for another 4 weeks, until WWE Backlash.

This encounter is a must-watch!

What's the story? 

As revealed on the “Dirty Sheets’ Podcast, via our “DS Breaking News” show, the first televised SmackDown Live match between Shinsuke Nakamura and Dolph Ziggler will be held off until SmackDown Live's Backlash PPV on May 21st. 

You can listen to the Podcast here, by opening the Soundcloud link, below (length: 7 minutes and 44 seconds).


In case you didn't know... 

Nakamura debuted on SmackDown on April 4th. This was the SmackDown after WrestleMania. Nakamura had his final NXT match at NXT Takeover: Orlando. In that match, he came up short against Bobby Roode, failing to become the first man to capture the NXT Championship for the third time.

Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe are the only two-time NXT Champions.

The heart of the matter

The WWE will hold off the first televised contest between Nakamura and Dolph Ziggler until Backlash, despite featuring it regularly on dark matches at TV tapings and at house shows. One of these dark matches took place the night after WrestleMania, which I was present at.

Nakamura has been beating Ziggler every night via pinfall, with the Kinshasa. It is not known if WWE will make his encounter with Ziggler his televised SmackDown debut or they feed him some enhancement talent. 

What's next?

Backlash on Sunday 21st May. This will be SmackDown’s first brand-exclusive PPV since WrestleMania 34 and the “Superstar Shake-up.” It will take place in Chicago, IL. The Chicago crowd are likely to give Nakamura a tremendous reception.

This is another reason to hold off his debut until the Backlash PPV, however, four weeks is a long time in the modern era.

Author's take

Nakamura is the most unique and charismatic talent in the WWE. I like the fact that the WWE are treating him like a fresh talent, rather than carrying on from his NXT run, where he was heavily selling and suffered three losses. It's important to establish Nakamura on SmackDown.

His selling should be limited to big matches and his record should be clean. Dolph Ziggler is the perfect guy to start with, as he an established name and one of the best performers in the WWE.

Waiting until Backlash and facing an established opponent makes Nakamura seem much more special. It previously worked for him in NXT, when he debuted against the established Sami Zayn. If they follow the blueprint of his NXT run, he should have a very solid year, which should culminate with him winning the WWE Championship.

If booked correctly, Nakamura will make the WWE and himself, a lot of money.

Be sure to check out my Podcast, “The Dirty Sheets” for the latest breaking news, along with rumours and in-depth analysis. It is available via iTunes. 

If you enjoyed this article, check out our SK WWE Exclusive section for more news, scoops and interesting stories.


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