WWE SmackDown 5 Takeaways: The Era of Carmella to Continue?

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4. Dolph Ziggler and Shinsuke Nakamura Put on a Clinic

Dolph Ziggler and Shinsuke Nakamura put on a solid match in Nakamura’s main roster debut at Backlash, but some were underwhelmed by it. Nakamura didn’t get much offense in during that match, and Ziggler actually outshined “The King of Strong Style” by being a menacing heel. That said, it was smart for the company to book Dolph in a credible manner despite the loss, because it wouldn’t have been wise to squash an upper mid-carder. Secondly, Nakamura kicked out of all of Ziggler’s moves, which underscored his resiliency.

However, that match wasn’t the type of instant classic we expected from the two, and it wouldn’t be out of the realm of reason to suggest that their match on SmackDown Live last night topped their Pay Per View match.

As expected, Nakamura came away with the win, but the match was so much more than just the finish, which provided us with the Ziggler Kinsasha sell that we craved. Ziggler continues to shine playing a classic heel role, proving that he can be more than just a fast-paced worker. He did his taunting and eye rakes, and both Nakamura and Ziggler pulled off some excellent counter sequences, mostly prominently Nakamura’s usage of the “armbar” (he teased it earlier in the match, too).

Another win for Nakamura is a feather in the cap for a man who has been booked quite well during his time on the main roster. His entrance remains electrifying, and he’s beaten the United States Champion Kevin Owens on multiple occasions. Additionally, Nakamura was probably the MVP of the Money in the Bank ladder match, and you can credit the WWE for doing a solid job of making him a strong babyface the crowd can get behind. I foresee a WWE Championship by the time WrestleMania 34 rolls around, but maybe I’m being too optimistic. At the very least, he could capture Owens’s United States Championship, but with the way Owens is rolling, that may not happen for some time.