THE BOOKING REPORT – 05.18.2017: The debut of Shinseke Nakamura

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By The Unemployed Booker, Staff Writer

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The science fiction author Nancy Kress once said, “The climax is the place where the opposing forces in your story finally clash.” WWE obviously wanted Nakamura’s debut to end with a climax at Backlash. I fully understand that impulse, but the way it was built left a lot to be desired. I understand holding out for the actual battle until you get to a big stage. It builds the anticipation and makes you sit anxiously waiting for THE MOMENT. Unfortunately, the booking of Nakamura and Ziggler just left the fans frustrated while they waited to see Shinsuke in an actual match. The wait makes a lot of sense. The build up left a lot of question marks. 
After his debut during the first SmackDown after WrestleMania, he interrupted Miz and Cena but that actually meant absolutely nothing. Shinsuke then entered into a feud with Dolph Ziggler. They’ve had some minor altercations along the way, but they saved his first legitimate match for the PPV. They’ve had 7 weeks of mostly talking, Nakamura’s in broken English of course, which was completely awkward by both sides. This led up to the last SmackDown before their big match where they DON’T EVEN BOOK SHINSUKE TO SHOW UP!! Needless to say, this needs a do-over, and I’m going to tell you what I’d do if somebody would just give me another freaking job!
 
His First Appearance
 
The first thing I’m not going to do is send Shinsuke out to interrupt another feud that has absolutely nothing to do with my future plans for Nakamura. Let’s just have him come out for an interview with an interpreter at his side. The interview will consist of him answering questions that all paint him in a glowing light. Also, during this interview he will explain that he’s glad to be in the WWE and, after some commitments in Japan, he’s excited to begin his full-time WWE career. At some point, Dolph interrupts the interview and heads to the ring. Once there he cuts a promo about how we can’t trust this interpreter and we have no idea what he’s really saying. Finally, Dolph turns to Shinsuke and says, “Can you even say ANYTHING in English?” With that Nakamura takes the mic and says, “I can say that I will kick your ass!” Then he attacks Ziggler, getting the upper hand, and sends Dolph running from the ring to escape the beating. 
A little later in the show, Shinsuke is seen shaking hands with other superstars who are all welcoming him to the company. Then, from out of the shadows, Ziggler attacks Nakamura with a chair. After several hits take him out, the other superstars pull Ziggler away. As they drag him from his victim he screams, “Welcome to the WWE, Shinsuke Nakamura!!” The segment ends with Shane McMahon tending to Nakamura. 
 
Week 2
 
Dolph Ziggler comes to the ring to cut a promo. He discusses how he took out the famous “King of Strong Style.” He then tells the crowd that Nakamura is gone. He won’t be coming back to the WWE. He’s scared of Ziggler and, therefore, ran back to Japan. The face announcer then clarifies that he’s just fulfilling his prior commitments in Japan. Though the heel announcer contradicts him by saying that he believes Dolph because Shinsuke never actually said he had commitments in Japan. Only that stupid interpreter. 
 
Week 3 
 
Ziggler again stands in the ring making statements about how Shinsuke is through. He’ll never wrestle again. He’ll probably never step foot back in the US again. He might even be dead, because not one person has seen him since that night! Then the music for Shane-O-Mac hits and he comes out on the ring to assure Dolph that Shinsuke is alive and well in Japan. He had prior commitments to wrestle matches with some of the best Japanese superstars and Dolph will soon find out that Shinsuke is all business. He might want to not make him any more upset. Dolph brushes it off and even chuckles as he leaves the ring. 
 
Week 4
 
Dolph has a match with Tye Dillinger. The match goes back and forth but Dolph gets the win fairly convincingly. (God, I wish we had real jobbers to work with.) After the match, Dolph cuts another promo about how he just beat the perfect 10 and Shinsuke Nakamura isn’t even a 2! He goes on to say we’ve not seen Nakamura in weeks and nobody can prove that he survived the attack he laid on him. Not long into his cut down of Shinsuke, McMahon’s music comes on again. Once in the ring, Shane says that he has proof Nakamura is doing just fine. He says that Nakamura sent back video of his matches in Japan. With that, a highlight reel plays showing matches that WWE set up and taped specifically for this. It looks like real matches from Japan and it shows Nakamura easily handling his opponents. Then the last clip is a match from bell to bell and it shows Nakamura destroy his opponent in only a few seconds. There’s no pin, the ref just stops the fight because of the brutality. (Why won’t the E let me use blood here?) Once the paramedics rush in to treat Shinsuke’s opponent, Nakamura turns to the camera and says, “That’ll be you Dolph, very soon.” Back in the WWE ring, Dolph looks slightly concerned, but then shakes it off. He pats Shane on the arm and laughs as he exits the ring. 
 
Week 5
 
Dolph again addresses the Nakamura situation. He blows the prior week’s video off as weak opponents and nothing like the competition here in the WWE. Just as he continues to insult Nakamura, Shane returns again. He tells Dolph that he has no business choosing sides, that as the SmackDown manager he must stay impartial, but he feels like it’s in Dolph’s best interest, and probably in the interest of Dolph’s safety, to show him the latest videos. This time, Shane can’t confirm if they were filmed in Japan, or somewhere closer. This highlight reel shows Shinsuke training. He’s sparring with opponents and working out. Then it shows him practicing on one of those fighting mannequins. After several kicks one of the legs break. A stiff shot to an arm and it snaps off in his hand. A swift knee to the body and it bends the solid metal frame where the top is now leaning forward. One last round house kick completely removes the sparring mannequin’s head. Shinsuke looks at the camera and says, “Very, very soon, Dolph Ziggler.” This time it’s obvious that Dolph is shaken up. Shane gives him a nod and the segment ends with Ziggler showing real concern on his face. 
 
Week 6
 
Dolph has match on this night with Sami Zayn. Before the match, he says he’s going to make an example out of Sami, and that wherever Nakamura is, he hopes he sees what’s going to happen to him. Once the match starts, a fired up Dolph gets the upper hand on Sami. There is a little back and forth, but then it looks like Ziggler is going to get the win. Out of nowhere, Shinsuke’s music plays. A stunned Dolph spins around in fear and looks to the entrance ramp. As the music plays, Sami recovers. The music stops and the ring lights come back on. Sami hits his finisher and beats Ziggler. The match ends with Dolph mad and throwing things at ringside before he exits the arena. 
 
Week 7 (Go Home Show) 
 
Dolph is in the ring once again to cut a promo. He talks about the stupid games. He says it’s all a farce. Nakamura has never accomplished anything in a WWE ring. He’s a nobody, and the fans are all delusional. Then, Nakamura’s music comes on again, but this time Dolph yells to cut the music. The ring lights come back on and the music stops. He then says he’s not falling for that trick again. He knows that Shinsuke is not in the US, let alone this building. All of a sudden, the music hits again, and when the ramp lights pop on Nakamura is on the stage. After he does his entrance, a shaken Ziggler stands in the ring with Shinsuke Nakamura staring him down. Nakamura goes for a knock out kick, but misses as Dolph flees from the ring. Shinsuke stands proud in the ring as Dolph heads up the ramp. Then, just out of camera sight, Ziggler runs back in the ring with a chair and attacks Nakamura. The segment ends with Dolph leaving as Nakamura lays beat down in the middle of the ring. 
 
Backlash 
 
I’ve always been a fan of letting the workers work, and I think with the great build up that we’ve laid out, these guys will put on a great match. They’ll both have ups and downs, but it’s obvious that at the end, Nakamura goes over Dolph to set him up as a future megastar on SmackDown. From here you can have him go after the US belt or even have him go for the world title. I could see him in a feud with Jinder Mahal or a great story line would be turning Randy heel based off his obvious heelish tweets recently. Maybe a faction of guys that skipped the Indy scene vs guys that came up the hard way? Stay tuned, I might book that next. 
 
Wrapping Up 
 
I want to point out again that keeping Nakamura out of a WWE ring until a big show is totally the right move. Unfortunately, the way they built the feud made the fans frustrated. It really felt like creative was dragging their feet. It wasn’t exciting and felt like the same thing each week until they just plain left one half of the feud off the go home show. Make the fans build into a fury waiting for a guy to finally get his hands on the heel, don’t make them wish it was over!
But hey, what do I know? 
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