Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
The Artist Known as Shinsuke Nakamura completed the first stroke of his masterpiece at WWE Backlash, denying a defiant Dolph Ziggler in the Japanese icon’s much-hyped in-ring debut as a member of the SmackDown LIVE roster. Ever since he bowed on Team Blue two nights after WrestleMania, Nakamura has found himself in the crosshairs of The Showoff, who claimed The King of Strong Style was an overhyped unknown, and little more than a pretender to the throne Ziggler had been holding down for the entirety of his WWE career. Ziggler’s trash-talk reached its pinnacle during the Backlash Kickoff, when he promised to “put on a clinic” against Nakamura as his way of telling “told you so” to all the “fanboys” who came to Chicago in support of the two-time NXT Champion, and preemptively pitied anyone who had to follow him.
Ziggler did, indeed, put on the clinic he promised, employing tricks of both the professional and amateur trade to keep his opponent at bay. The Showoff subjected Nakamura to collegiate-style single-leg takedowns and cradles, as well as the high-style, high-velocity elbow drops that have come to define his sports-entertainment career. Nakamura refused to stay down, however; kicking out of both the Zig Zag and a particularly gnarly superkick to the back of the head, he responded to each of Ziggler’s taunts with something between bemusement and pride, though he never seemed like he wasn’t enjoying the competition on some level. That, of course, changed when some combination of frustration and arrogance led Ziggler to disrespect Nakamura even further and, at that point, The King of Strong Style stopped having fun and put on a clinic of his own. Nakamura draped Ziggler over the ropes, nailed him with a knee to the side of the head, then followed with an exploder suplex and a final Kinshasa knee that brought the curtain down on The Showoff.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Backstage: Doph Ziggler in the back and he comments on how Nakamura isn’t here tonight and he hasn’t even proven himself on Smackdown. Dolph says Shane and Daniel have built a whole pay per view around him. Dolph says it is ridiculous without realizing Shane was standing behind him the whole time. Shane says his name is Shinsuke Nakamura and he introduced himself to you last week. Dolph says he was impressed with Shinsuke’s entrance. He will show Shane how to impress people when he faces Sin Cara tonight.
Dolph Ziggler versus Sin Cara
They lock up and Dolph goes for the legs but Cara with a waist lock. Ziggler gets to the ropes and Cara releases the hold. Cara with a waist lock. Ziggler with an elbow to the head. Cara with a cross body and a kick followed by a chop. Cara with a springboard back elbow. Cara with forearms and he hits a quebrada. Ziggler with a kick to the knee but Ziggler is sent to the apron and Cara with an enzuigiri. Cara with a suicide dive.
Ziggler with a neck breaker hanging Cara on the middle rope and he gets a near fall. Ziggler with an elbow drop and he gets a near fall. Ziggler with a neck breaker attempt but Cara blocks and goes for a suplex but Ziggler escapes and gets a near fall. Ziggler with a drop kick. Cara with a rollup into a one arm power bomb and he gets a near fall. Cara goes for a quebrada but Ziggler gets his knees up. Ziggler with a super kick and Ziggler gets the three count.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Renee Young is in the ring and she brings out Shinsuke Nakamura. Renee starts to ask Nakamura a question and Dolph Ziggler’s music plays and he comes to the ring. Dolph says if you want to play interview, let’s play interview. Dolph asks Nakamura for his influences. Dolph stops Nakamura’s answer and Dolph says he will translate for Shinsuke. He says that his favorite is Dolph Ziggler. Dolph asks Shinsuke what is going through his mind when he does those dance moves during his entrance.
Nakamura refuses to answer. Dolph says that Nakamura is intimidated being in the presence of his hero. Dolph says Nakamura is not who he says he is. Dolph says his name is Michael and he grew up in Gary, Indiana. Dolph says Michael and his family sang and danced around the world. Dolph talks more about the Jackson Five and he says that Nakamura was the weirdo in his family. Dolph continues to go through Michael Jackson’s life and he says that his best friend is a monkey named Bubbles. He dipped into obscurity but re-emerged in Japan under the alias Shinsuke Nakamura. Dolph says it translates to petty, pathetic, overrated freak.
Nakamura takes the mic back and he says it is his turn to ask the questions. He asks Dolph what is his problem. Nakamura takes the mic away from Dolph and says he says he will translate for Dolph. Nakamura speaks in Japanese and ends with Jackass. Ziggler kicks Nakamura in the midsection but he misses a super kick. Nakamura with a reverse exploder and he sets for Kinshasa but Ziggler gets out of the ring.
Sami Zayn versus Luke Harper versus Dolph Ziggler versus Mojo Rawley versus Erick Rowan versus Jinder Mahal in a Number One Contender Match
Mahal hits Ziggler and then they pair off with Rowan and Zayn as well as Mojo and Harper. Harper sends Mojo into the turnbuckles and then he snap mares Rawley and kicks him in the back. Rowan with a forearm to Mahal and Zayn and Rawley work over Harper. Zayn with punches to Harper. Mahal with punches to Rawley. Mahal with shoulders to Rawley. Rowan rakes Harper’s eyes but Harper punches Rowan and sends him to the floor. Harper sends Ziggler into the air and then to the mat. Harper follows with a boot and he gets a near fall. Harper goes to the apron on an Irish whip and he connects with a forearm to Rowan and follows with a slingshot senton. Harper with a Michinoku Driver to Zayn for a near fall. We are back and it is time for a superplex from Rawley to Ziggler. They fall to the floor. Harper superplexes Rowan and they go to the floor. Zayn with a sunset flip power bomb to Mahal for a near fall. Zayn goes for the Blue Thunder Bomb to Ziggler but Ziggler blocks it. Ziggler with super kicks to Zayn and then Harper. Harper with a clothesline for a near fall. Rowan with a power bomb to Harper. Mahal with a rollup for a near fall. Mahal and Rowan go for clotheslines at the same time and both men are down. Rawley with a shoudler tackle to Mahal and then Zayn ducks and Rawley goes over the top rope to the floor.
Harper sends Zayn to the floor and then Harper wtih a suicide dive to Mahal and then he returns to the ring for a suicide dive on Rawley and Zayn. Ziggler drop kicks Harper off the apron and Ziggler runs into a spinning heel kick from Rowan for a near fall. Rowan power bombs Ziggler onto everyone on the floor. Rowan sends Zayn back into the ring and he gets a near fall. Rowan sends Zayn to the floor and Harper returns to the ring as we go to commercial. We are back and Ziggler and Rawley are in the ring. Ziggler with a head butt and Rawley avoids a neck breaker and hits a series of shoulder tackles. Rawley with a Stinger Splash but Ziggler with an uppercut. Rawley catches Ziggler off the turnbuckles and then sends Ziggler to the mat. Rawley knocks Rowan off the apron. Rawley with a running forearm and Mahal sends Rawley to the floor. Zayn breaks up Mahal’s cover. Mahal with a Harley Race knee but Rowan with a uranage to Mahal for a near fall. Rowan with a forearm to Harper but Harper punches Rowan from the turnbuckles. Ziggler sends Rowan into Harper on the turnbuckles and Ziggler with a Zig Zag to Rowan but Rowan kicks out. Ziggler with a drop kick to Harper but Harper counters a Fameasser into a sit out power bomb and Harper gets a near fall. Harper signals that it is over but Mahal pulls Harper to the floor and then he sends Harper into the ring steps. Mahal misses a shoulder in the corner and hits the ring post and goes to the floor. Zayn with a flip dive onto Harper. Rowan grabs Zayn on the apron but Rawley with a shoulder tackle. Zayn with an Arabian Press onto Rawley. Zayn with an Exploder to Mahal in the corner. Zayn sets for the Helluva Kick but the Bollywood Boys grab Zayn’s legs and Mahal with a cobra clutch slam for the three count.
Winner: Jinder Mahal
In Ring: Dolph Ziggler he says everyone is talking about the Superstar Shake Up. Everyone wants to know what about Dolph Ziggler. Dolph says he is staying on Smackdown. He says this is the show he built and put on his back. You are going to get a lot of shiny new toys and you are going to blow the roof off and then the next week, it will get less exciting. Then all you are going to get is him doing what he does better than anyone else in the business.
Shinsuke Nakamura’s music interrupts and he comes to the ring. Dolph asks Nakamura if he can help him. Dolph says that Nakamura might not know who he is. Dolph says he does not know who Nakamura is and he asks him who does he think he is. Nakamura does not say anything as the crowd hums his entrance music. Nakamura takes the mic and he asks Dolph if he wants to know who he is. He says he is Shinsuke Nakamura. Ziggler goes for a super kick but Nakamura blocks it and he pushes Ziggler down to the mat. Nakamura tells Ziggler to come on. Ziggler leaves the ring.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Everyone surrounds Braun to start, but he starts tossing people right out of the gate and that ends pretty quick. People are going quick: Kalisto, Simon Gotch, Heath Slater, on of the Usos, Goldust, lots of people going quick. It’s pretty much Big Show and Strowman dominating here. Konnor goes out, and now Show and Strowman turn their attention to each other and everyone else stops to watch. Well, they do until Zayn nails Strowman and everyone else gangs up to try and toss them both. Strowman breaks free and tosses Show, then he tosses Victor and everyone else gangs up to toss Strowman! Wow, that was not expected. The battle royal continues, and now it’s anyone’s game. Curt Hawkins goes out, Ginger Mahal tries to toss Killian Dane without success, and Dolph gets tossed but hangs on and rolls back in to avoid elimination. Ziggler ducks a charge and R-Truth goes out. Ziggler tosses Rhyno, Jason Jordan and Chad Gable both go out, Tyler Breeze and Fandango in rapid succession, and some guy in a blue suit and mask I don’t recognize go. Mark Henry goes, and this is speeding along like the Gimmick Battle Royal at this rate. Okay, I’m calling either Titus O’Neill or Luke Harper wins at this point. We’ll see how I do. Ziggler superkicks Bing to the floor, Sami Zayn uses a Heluva Kick to eliminate Epico, and we’re down to about ten guys left. Ziggler again gets tossed and hangs on, Harper goes to the eyes and tries to boot him out, but Ziggler is hanging on. Mojo Rawley tosses…some guy I didn’t recognize and even the announcers didn’t seem to know. Mojo nails Ziggler with a shoulderblock and eliminates Ziggler as Apollo Crews is tossed.
Winner: Mojo Rawley