The WWE Universe was anxiously awaiting the first match of Shinsuke Nakamura’s main roster career. Former World champ Dolph Ziggler was not among those who were excited. The Show Off has been telling everyone, including the Japanese Superstar the company desperately wants us to call “The Artist”, Nak hasn’t done anything until he’s done it on Raw or SmackDown.
Tonight (May 21) at Backlash, Shinsuke got his shot when he opened the show against Ziggler.
Chicagoland’s Allstate Arena was certainly ready, singing along with the violins of “The Rising Sun” in Nakamura’s already iconic entrance and chanting his name through the early grappling exhibition with which the two performers started the match.
While we got several of his signature bits like “Good Vibrations”, the crowd’s interest waned as things proceeded into a fairly standard WWE match. The heel Ziggler took control and worked over Swagsuke.
Business picked up, but Nakamura’s comeback was met by Dolph countering many of his big spots, including a sequence which saw a Kinshasa miss turned into a Fame-Asser. Nearfalls for the WWE veteran were the name of the game, with “The Artist” selling a shoulder injury and barely kicking out after moves like the Zig-Zag.
The story was that the former IWGP and NXT champion could take all of Ziggler’s best stuff and still survive. When a frustrated resorted to kicking him in the head and spitting in Nak’s face, and the King of Strong Style went, well, Strong Style.
A big knee on the apron, exploder suplex and KINSHASA gave us the 1 - 2 - 3.
It wasn’t how many of us would have drawn it up, but it wasn’t a bad match. We’ll see how it serves WWE’s efforts to make Nakamura a big star.
Get complete Backlash results and coverage of every match on the card by clicking here.