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Styles vs. Nakamura: A Main Event At Any Spot On The Card



The Road to WrestleMania started on Sunday night at the Royal Rumble. One match seems to be set in stone. After Shinsuke Nakamura won the Men’s Royal Rumble Match, Renee Young entered the ring to ask the Artist which championship he planned on challenging for at WrestleMania.

We all knew the answer. Nakamura has been destined to meet one man since they both left New Japan Pro Wrestling for the welcoming arms of WWE in January 2016.

They will meet on WWE’s grandest stage for the company’s oldest championship. Nakamura can become the first Japanese-born wrestler to have a recognized reign with the championship. It’ll be a rematch of a classic encounter at Wrestle Kingdom 10, where Nakamura successfully defended NJPW’s Intercontinental Championship inside the hallowed Tokyo Dome.

New Orleans’ Superdome has quite a bit of wrestling history in its own right. Bill Watts held multiple successful Mid-South Wrestling events at the venue. Ricky Steamboat & Ric Flair had a classic two out of three falls match for the NWA Championship at Clash of the Champions VI. Daniel Bryan won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XXX. Another WrestleMania should bring at least one more classic championship match with it.

You would think that most of us would be on cloud nine. Styles vs. Nakamura at a WrestleMania is what we’ve been asking for since they both entered the company. Two of the best competitors of this generation meeting on wrestling’s grandest stage seems like a pretty good time. Sure, there’s always the chance of bad booking of the match itself, and there’s still plenty of time for something to mess plans up. The card is always subject to change, and it might not even be due to booking.

The most common gripe I’ve seen is about something that I’ve always thought is a bit overblown by fans: the match order. Specifically, fans are demanding that Styles & Nakamura go on last. Main events always go on last, and the Royal Rumble winner is supposed to main event WrestleMania.

They’re wasting their breath & keystrokes. It’s not going to happen.

Whether one buys into the idea of a show having multiple main events or not, WWE has been selling multiple main events as part of the WrestleMania experience for years. Sometimes it’s obviously a load of bull. Nobody bought Alberto Del Rio vs. Edge as a WrestleMania main event, even if it ended up being Edge’s last match. Sometimes it isn’t, and multiple matches deserve the billing. This seems to be lining up to be one of those years.

WrestleMania has ended with Roman Reigns for three consecutive years. Maybe this is the year that changes, but if he’s taking on Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship like we think he will, there’s a real good chance it goes on last. Especially if Brock is on his way out & he’s putting the Big Dog over.

These darn John Cena vs. Undertaker rumors refuse to go away, no matter how many times I tell people to stop. If Undertaker’s WrestleMania 33 match & Raw 25 promo are any indication, dude has no business anywhere near a wrestling ring in 2018. If he does take on Cena, there’s a real good chance it goes on last. Two stars like that will be really difficult to follow, even if the match isn’t any good.

Want a dark horse WrestleMania show-ender? How about Ronda Rousey’s match? Rousey’s Royal Rumble appearance & signing with WWE were all over ESPN & mainstream media on Monday. Even if Rowdy Ronda’s UFC career ended on a down note, she still moves the meter more than most American athletes. There are a couple of options for Ronda WrestleMania matches that I could see going on last. We know WWE has been about women making history lately, so it’s only a matter of time before women close out WrestleMania.

Here’s a question. What do these matches have in common, besides taking place at WrestleMania & being epic matches that people still remember today?

  • Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage
  • Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage
  • Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart
  • Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels
  • Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin
  • Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock
  • Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels
  • Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair
  • Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker I

None of these matches took place at the end of the show.

Match placement can be very important, don’t get me wrong. Sunday night was a great example. I had no problem with the Women’s Rumble going on last, and with the Rousey involvement afterwards it kind of had to be there. But the two matches that took place between the Rumbles had no chance. Nobody in the world cared about the Raw Tag Team Championship match, and Brock Lesnar & Braun Strowman had a tough time getting reactions even though it actually seemed like they were trying to kill each other at times.

The men had themselves a great Rumble match. I don’t think anybody would say that it wasn’t a main event, except for sticklers still hung up on the whole “last match” bit. To them, I say three simple words…

Let it go.

Whenever Styles vs. Nakamura takes place on WrestleMania night, it will be one of the main features of the evening. Hopefully, it’ll be one that we still remember years from now.

Besides… it’s not like they went on last at Wrestle Kingdom 10.