If SmackDown Live wasn’t already the consensus pick as the best weekly WWE show, the addition of two fan-favorites from NXT just gave SmackDown the edge over Raw. Moments after Tye Dillinger made his main-roster debut, former NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura interrupted The Miz and Maryse to deafening cheers from the fans in Orlando.
Two nights after losing to John Cena and Nikki Bella at WrestleMania 33, The Miz and Maryse came to the ring impersonating the newly engaged couple and mockingly announced that they were both leaving WWE for Hollywood. The Miz started a “no more Cena” chant, but it was cut short by the appearance of violinist Lee England Jr., who previously performed Nakamura’s theme at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn last August.
Nakamura didn’t say a single word, but he didn’t have to – the reaction of the crowd said it all.
If you’re not a fan of NXT and aren’t familiar with Nakamura, you’ve been missing out on arguably the most charismatic wrestler in the world. Nakamura was one of the elite stars in New Japan Pro Wrestling for years and had a classic match with AJ Styles just before Styles’ debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble. Just a few months later, Nakamura came to NXT and debuted at TakeOver: Dallas against Sami Zayn in a match that was the best of WrestleMania weekend.
He’s since feuded with Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode, and most recently lost last Saturday in his NXT farewell match at TakeOver: Orlando.
SmackDown Live is the perfect home for Nakamura for a number of reasons. SmackDown needed more main-event players, and Monday Night Raw already has a bit of a crowded roster at the top. Landing on SmackDown also presents the possibility for another feud and a handful of dream matches with AJ Styles, assuming Styles isn’t moved to Raw in the upcoming roster shake-up.