John Cena and Shinsuke Nakamura, two of the biggest wrestling stars of the last 15 years, went head to head this week on WWE SmackDown Live. It was the very first meeting between the biggest North American star of his generation and perhaps the biggest Japanese star of his generation.
The match itself was announced last week on SmackDown. In an effort to determine who would face Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam, Daniel Bryan announced the Cena/Nakamura match a week in advance. The announcement certainly surprised some fans, as this kind of dream match typically would be reserved for a big PPV event. But why complain when you are getting this kind of match to enjoy right now?
Did the bout live up to its hype?
It was a very good match to conclude what was a great episode of SmackDown. They got almost exactly 15 minutes. Both men spent the first half of the match exchanging submission holds. Things ramped up towards the end, including a brutal bump Cena took right on his head and neck just before the closing sequence.
Nakamura kicked out of the AA, which led to Cena hitting him with another. Wanting to seal the deal, Cena went for a third AA, but Nakamura countered and soon-after hit the Kinshasa and covered Cena for the pinfall.
Cena raised Nakamura's hand to end SmackDown Live as Mahal watched on from a luxury box high above the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. It will be Nakamura vs. Mahal for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam.