Despite all of the talk of a possible dream match like John Cena vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania, there's just one dream match that thousands of wrestling fans want to see at this year's WWE showcase of the immortals: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.
No, it's not a dream match because it has never happened. It has happened. Oh it happened alright, on the biggest stage in the world's second biggest wrestling promotion just a few short years ago. It's a dream match because it was freaking fantastic and we want to see it again.
Let's be frank. There's no better championship match that the SmackDown brand can offer up now, tomorrow, or at any time in 2018 than Nakamura vs. Styles. If there is any justice in the wrestling world, this should be the WWE championship match for the blue brand at WrestleMania.
So in order to set this up and make it as special as possible, Nakamura needs to win this year's Royal Rumble to challenge his brand's champion. Oh, and one other small detail: Styles needs to keep his title belt until April as well.
Winning the Royal Rumble could also do wonders for Shinsuke's positioning on the main roster and marketability moving forward. To say that his booking since being brought up from WWE NXT has been lackluster would be an understatement. Despite the thousands upon thousands of people who want to see him main event WrestleMania with Styles, there's thousands more who don't understand what the big deal is about Shinsuke Nakamura.
Given the fact that Nakamura is one of the most charismatic performers of this generation and one of the top workers in the company, this is a damning indictment of the WWE creative team's use of the man. Simply put, he needs this Royal Rumble win due to the corner he's been booked into. His main roster run is sputtering on fumes, there's no doubt about it. No matter how good Nakamura is, the casual wrestling fan (which is a large portion of the WWE audience) just doesn't "get" the King of Strong Style and they haven't been given a reason to. Winning the Royal Rumble would go a long way toward fixing this problem.
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura is the WrestleMania match wrestling fans deserve, and if the match actually happens, it needs to be for the WWE title. Don't give us the match but have Styles drop the title in the interim. A Nakamura Royal Rumble victory and ensuing championship challenge is the only way to rationalize to a large segment of the audience that this former NXT star is worthy of a WrestleMania main event.
If WWE wants to make good on the investment they made in Nakamura two years ago when he made the jump from NJPW, this is the time to strap the rocket to his back. If not now, then when? There's been two years of a promise and unfulfilled potential. The Royal Rumble in Philadelphia is where the pendulum starts to swing in the opposite direction for the former NJPW icon. Japan already knows why this man is so special, and the Royal Rumble is the perfect opportunity to sell him to the American fans that are still on the fence.
Want more Royal Rumble manifestos? Here you go: