In case you can’t remember all the way back to August of 2017, let me refresh your memory. It was a wild time. Jinder Mahal was WWE Champ, John Cena wasn’t about to miss SummerSlam for the first time in 14 years and a freshly called up babyface named Shinsuke Nakamura challenged Cena to a match for the right to challenge the Modern Day Maharajah for his belt.
It was a good match, with the right outcome. Nakamura would, of course, go on to become c... oh dang. He didn’t. He lost to Jinder - several times. Sorry, blocked that out.
Anyway, back to the Aug. 1 match on SmackDown. Shinsuke won, but the final stretch of the match included a scary moment where Cena landed square on the back of his neck taking an exploder suplex. Cameras caught Nak apologizing and the 16 time World Champ waving off the incident. You can see GIFs of both things here.
Everything seemed okay, but rumors popped up a week later that Vince McMahon was “furious” with the Japanese Superstar for the error.
We’ll never know if the Chairman’s anger had anything to do with Nakamura’s booking over the next several months. But in a recent interview with Gorilla Position, Shinsuke confirms there were people backstage who weren’t happy with him when he came back through the curtain:
“I don’t know if I can tell that or not [looks around]... okay, some people were upset backstage, not John Cena. But someone. They got pissed off at me, ‘Why did you do that?’
So, I just thought, ‘Oh, my career is finished today.’ But everybody came to support me and help me, even John Cena. He said, ‘My fault,’ yes, Cena did. What a good man.
Not everybody has the chance to wrestle with John Cena now. I felt good in the ring with John Cena. I’ve never had that feeling. If I have the chance, I want to wrestle with him again. Maybe we can create [something] better than before.”
Will we get to see another Nakamura/Cena battle? It sounds like Shinsuke’s sticking around, and John says he’ll never really leave, so... maybe if they can get Vince’s blessing?