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WWE SummerSlam 2017: Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura full match preview


It’s the context of this match that’s really mind-blowing.

Two years ago, you could have told me that Shinsuke Nakamura was wrestling Jinder Mahal and my response would have been “Oh, Shinsuke’s doing an Inoki Genome Federation show? Neat.”

One year ago, I would have assumed this would be happening on WWE TV, likely in service of getting Nakamura a quick win to build him up for his “real” PPV opponent, whomever that might have been.

But here and now, the King of Strong Style battling the Modern Day Maharaja for the WWE Championship? The richest prize in pro wrestling, held by a string of history’s greatest, from Bruno Sammartino to Hulk Hogan to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to Daniel Bryan? At SummerSlam, no less?

Wrestling is wild sometimes

Of course, how we got here is pretty nuts, too.

Fresh off winning and retaining the WWE Championship by defeating thirteen-time world champion Randy Orton three times in a row, Jinder Mahal demanded competition. SmackDown being the Land of Opportunity and whatnot, he was obliged with a #1 contender’s match.

But not just any #1 contender’s match, nope. SmackDown played host to a match that could just as easily have headlined SummerSlam, as John Cena went one-on-one with Shinsuke Nakamura for the first time. After a hard-fought contest that included an inverted exploder suplex that would have made “Dr. Death” Steve Williams wince with its sheer vertical drop intensity, the King of Strong Style did what few men have done and pinned the Face That Runs the Place (Original Flavor) clean in the middle of the ring.

Zoom out from that for a second and really think about it, folks. John Cena, the ace of WWE for over ten years now, and Shinsuke Nakamura, New Japan’s #2 guy for years and years who singlehandedly took their Intercontinental Championship from an afterthought designed to make an American tour feel important to a title that headlined Wrestle Kingdom, did battle on free TV for the right to face Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam, and Nakamura wasn’t just victorious, he won in a way that left zero doubt.

Once again, it’s not the matchup itself, it’s the context of it that makes it really mind-blowing.

SummerSlam Strong Style

So this brings us to the match itself, and it’s here that the differences begin to melt away.

Because one thing they absolutely have in common is a love of hard strikes and stiff knees. Sure, Nakamura has had a more successful career by at least an order of magnitude and that inclines one to expect the match to tilt in his favor, but all it’ll take from Jinder is one perfectly timed knee strike to set up Khallas and that might be it. If I might borrow a phrase from the late, great Dusty Rhodes— it’s, uh, it’s gonna be a clubbering, folks.

Or, at least, it should be. Putting two small thumbs on the scale are the Singh Brothers, Samir and Sunil, who have been instrumental to Mahal’s success thus far. Granted, Shinsuke’s no stranger to interference from factions, he and the rest of Chaos fought Bullet Club long enough that he’s surely ready to keep his head on the proverbial swivel, but sometimes you just can’t outpace That Damned Numbers Game.

But okay, set the Singhs aside for a moment, let’s assume the referee has a spine and tosses them out early, and it comes back to the point from earlier, where all it takes is one well-placed knee... but the King of Strong Style has more than just hard hits and head drops in his bag of tricks. He’s also an accomplished grappler, having earned each of his three victories in MMA by submission, and changing the ebb and flow up by locking the champion down with the cross armbar at the right moment could be the kind of decision that wins championships.

It is, after all, kind of hard to grab Khallas one-armed.

Wrestling royalty collides as the King of Strong Style faces off against the Modern Day Maharaja, but only one man can emerge as champion.


Who will win?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Jinder Mahal
    (36 votes)
  • 71%
    Shinsuke Nakamura
    (90 votes)
126 votes total Vote Now

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