Shinsuke Nakamura went from being one of the top heels in WWE to barely on TV in under 4 short months. What happened to The King of Strong Style and how can WWE revive his momentum on the road to Survivor Series?
I want everyone to take a moment and think back to Extreme Rules in July. A time in WWE before Becky Lynch became the top heel in the company or Bobby Lashley began having his name chanted from ringside every 30 seconds he was on TV.
Who was the top heel at that time? Who was the person who’s dastardly tactics fans couldn’t get enough of?
That’s right, there was a time in the not-too-distant past that Shinsuke Nakamura was the hottest heel in WWE.
Shocking, I know, considering The King of Strong Style has been wandering around without a true storyline or rival on Smackdown for months.
At first, it seemed like we were getting a slow burn to a rivalry with Randy Orton. Orton conveniently crept around Nakamura’s United States title opponents for awhile, jabbing construction equipment in ears and breaking fingers at will.
Strangely, that story seemed to screech to a halt. Orton hasn’t done anything to provoke the low blow wizard in weeks. You would think there would have to be a twist coming, but it seems as though the explanation for Orton crossing paths with Nakamura is going to come down to coincidence.
That lack of storytelling in Nakamura’s only real developing feud makes you wonder whether WWE writers have forgotten about the United States champion. Did the story get dropped because management has soured on Nakamura? Was Smackdown 1000 suppose to be prominent enough role for the champ to start a rivalry with Rey Mysterio in the future? Has Nakamura been weaving through crowds backstage in a red-and-white striped sweater and beanie, making him practically invisible to the writers?
No matter the explanation, one of WWE’s most talented superstars has remained directionless for far too long. Reducing Nakamura to title defenses on heavily promoted shows like Crown Jewel in thrown together feuds is no way to treat someone as talented as him .
It’s time to change how WWE books Shinsuke Nakamura.
In my opinion, there’s really only one possible rout for the company to revive Nakamura’s push overnight in order to feature him on Survivor Series.
As commentary mentioned on Smackdown, Nakamura appears set to face Seth Rollins in a champion versus champion non-title match at Survior Series. That is a practical dream match for many wrestling fans, and should be promoted as one of the marquee matchups on the show, right up next to Becky Lynch versus Ronda Rousey.
I’m not talking just a small build-up where each competitor takes turns on the mic running the other down, as we tend to see far too often in situations like this. No, this should be a feud that sees both stars jump between shows to confront one another in electric face-offs that excite audiences.
Don’t worry Dean Ambrose fans, you could even easily rope the red hot Ambrose versus Rollins rivalry in by having The Lunatic Fringe lurk behind the scenes, distracting Rollins from the dangerous opponent he has to deal with. This would make Rollins prone to one of Nakamura’s signature underhanded tactics, potentially costing him a knee to the face during one of these showdowns.
This feud would be the perfect way to build the brand versus brand rivalry at Survivor Series, while still keeping the Ambrose versus Rollins rolling.
Perhaps more importantly though, it would allow WWE to truly feature Shinsuke Nakamura, one of the company’s most misused stars as of late, on the road to Survivor Series.