During his time in NXT, Shinsuke Nakamura looked like a can’t-miss superstar for WWE. His entrance is one of the best in the business, he’s a fantastic worker and oozes with charisma. As Jim Cornette once said, some wrestlers you just look at and want to look at some more.
Nakamura has that feel in spades, and when he made his main roster debut after WrestleMania on April 4, it seemed like he was destined for big things.
A flat program with Dolph Ziggler was his introduction to casual WWE fans, however, and he’s still looking for that one big hallmark moment that would make him seem like the rockstar that creative tries to seal him as. That’s why having Nakamura beat Kevin Owens on the most recent edition of SmackDown Live was absolutely the right thing to do.
From a booking standpoint, it seems odd that the WWE wouldn’t want both Owens and Nakamura involved in the Survivor Series match because they are two of the bigger stars on the show. There will have to be other matches besides the Survivor Series match, though, and Owens will be able to prop up another part of the evening without being involved in (presumably) the main event of the night.
Moreover, Owens doesn’t need a hallmark moment like Nakamura does. He doesn’t need to be involved in the Survivor Series match to stay relevant in the coming weeks. Owens has had rock solid programs with the likes of Chris Jericho, John Cena, A.J. Styles and Goldberg. Nakamura hasn’t been built up in the same way, and thus it makes a lot of sense to send him to Survivor Series as part of Team SmackDown.
Owens still has unfinished business with Shane McMahon, and it seems like those two are on a collision course. Their feud won’t be wrapped up anytime soon. That’s a big storyline for K.O., and while it would have been fun to watch him square off against Team Raw, not having him in the match won’t let any air out of his tires moving forward.
Fans were disappointed when the King of Strongstyle came up short against Jinder Mahal in their championship match at Hell in a Cell, and he’s seemed a bit listless since losing that contest. He’ll have a real opportunity to shine during Survivor Series, and if the creative team is smart, a meaningful feud will blossom for Nakamura during or shortly after the network special.
Momentum is important in professional wrestling, and by allowing Nakamura to pin Owens, WWE has put him in a good position heading into Survivor Series. There’s plenty of star power in that match, and it’s sure to be a bit of a spot fest. If Nakamura is given the opportunity to shine, it’ll make the choice to put him over on Owens look even better.