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John Cena vs. Shinsuke Nakamura shouldn’t end clean, and here’s why

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Thursday’s Rude Awakening looks at the benefits of shenanigans in Tuesday’s big match, a huge NXT TakeOver match announcement, and Smacking Talk.

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Asking to avoid a clean finish in a WWE match sure feels weird, given the promotion’s tendency to end bouts in distractions or disqualifications or huge brawls or whatever it is they’ve decided to dodge reaching a conclusion with. For John Cena vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, though, planned for next week’s episode of SmackDown Live to determine who faces Jinder Mahal at SummerSlam, avoiding a clean finish is the only finish that makes sense.

WWE is touting this as a dream match, except they’re kind of coming at it from that weird, narrative-less angle indie dream matches are born from instead of the one where WWE has three weekly television shows and, in theory, an extended narrative to play with. John Cena vs. Shinsuke Nakamura is a dream match: just, maybe, WWE could spend some time building to it instead of throwing two guys willing to work together in a match against each other like they’re booking a show in a gym.

With that being said, there is a workaround here, and it’s to keep from having an actual winner. Let Cena and Nakamura feel each other out a little bit, but before we can see just who would have won for real, run interference. Have Baron Corbin show up to reinsert himself into Cena’s field of vision and to take out Nakamura, who he has been feuding with. Given Corbin has the Money in the Bank briefcase, that would plant seeds for him cashing in on either of the two should they eventually get Jinder and the WWE Championship.

Or, have Jinder Mahal show up with his entire retinue, and proceed to interrupt the match in a show of strength to make it known that no competitor is worthy of taking on the Maharaja one on one. That gives Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan an easy in for putting together a triple threat at SummerSlam, and one with a narrative in place, even, since it would leave the question of Cena vs. Nakamura unanswered, and keep suspense in place for who would actually win that three-way dance.

There are times where WWE has clearly booked themselves into a corner by creating situations they don’t need to create, such as Battleground’s Corbin vs. Nakamura match. That one could have had a finish, but WWE decided neither should lose, so instead, no one won, where “no one” includes WWE and its viewership, too. Cena vs. Nakamura is different, though, since it can clearly build to something else. That something else should be the current dream — give Cena and Nak more time before throwing them together for an actual dream match between the two.