WWE Backlash 2017 Results: Highlights, Analysis, and Grades

3 of 9


Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler

Result: Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Dolph Ziggler via pinfall.

Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars

Based on Ziggler’s pre-match interview on the Kickoff Show, you kind of knew how this would go. Actually, if you had been following Nakamura for the past six weeks, you almost certainly knew what was going to happen at WWE Backlash.

Here we are, though. It’s still surreal seeing Nakamura in a WWE ring, even for his first main roster TV match. Who would have thought this had the potential of happening two years ago?

The story of the match turned to Nakamura’s head and neck, which were hurt off a Ziggler neckbreaker. This opened things up for the Showoff for a while, grounding this match and keeping it at the slow pace it started at.

About eight minutes in, things picked up with Nakamura’s comeback. The crowd had mostly been quite, despite being somewhat hot for the Dillinger-English match, so getting some noise behind this was positive.

You knew when Ziggler hit the Zig-Zag, this wasn’t ending, right? Chicago acted a little surprised, but the finisher being kicked out of woke everyone up a little more. Ziggler still dominated with his offense, though, and did for probably close to three-quarters of this match.

Nakamura got the win in about 16 minutes. But, like former WWE employee Alex Del Barrio said, this went a little long.

If this match had been cut down by three or four minutes, it would have left Ziggler still looking formidable, while Nakamura walks out looking dominant. It’s not like this match’s length is going to hurt him in any way, but there’s always ways of doing things better. He’ll be fine.

The in-ring work was fine, but never went to that next level we know both competitors could have taken it. Maybe we’re just spoiled from seeing what Nakamura has done before.

What’s next for the former NJPW star? Well, if Kevin Owens beats AJ Styles clean, how about a United States Championship opportunity? That may not be ideal until SummerSlam, but WWE can start building it on Tuesday. If not, then the Money in the Bank Ladder Match should have a spot open for Nakamura.