Shinsuke Nakamura Spoils Rusev Day at Fastlane

Shinsuke Nakamura stood victorious to kick-off Fastlane on Sunday, defeating Rusev in the opening match of the night.

Both men entered to a white hot crowd in Columbus, Ohio, with Aiden English even breaking out a rap verse to introduce his Rusev Day tag team partner.

Rusev got incredibly close to an upset when he escaped an guillotine submission and nailed Nakamura with a Machka Kick for a nearfall. He went for a second, only for Nakamura to nail him with a series of strikes.

Nakamura went for the Kinshasa, Rusev rolled out and tried to lock in the Accolade but Nakamura escaped.

The Japanese superstar went for Kinshasa again but was met with a second Machka Kick. But it was only for a two count!

Rusev went for the Accolade, Nakamura escaped and nailed two Kinshasas in a row for the win.

Nakamura already has a guaranteed match for WrestleMania 34, thanks to his win at the Royal Rumble back in January. His opponent will be whoever wins the WWE Championship six pack challenge in the main event of Fastlane between reigning champion A.J. Styles, John Cena, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin.

If Styles retains, this will mark the just the second time in history he and Nakamura have faced off in a one-on-one match, with the first being back in New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2016. That match saw Nakamura, then known as "The King of Strong Style" defeat Styles to retain the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.

Styles was kicked out of the Bullet Club the following day and made his surprise debut at the Royal Rumble weeks later. Nakamura followed suit, making his debut at NXT TakeOver: Dallas during WrestleMania weekend and defeating Sami Zayn in an excellent match.


While Nakamura's fate at WrestleMania is now set in stone, it's unclear what WWE is planning to do with Rusev. It's entirely possible he and English are added in as another team to challenge for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships, given that WWE loves to have multiple teams compete at the biggest show of the year.

It's also possible he winds up in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale, facing off against dozens of other superstars to try and join Cesaro, Big Show, Baron Corbin and Mojo Rawley as the only men to ever win the Andre trophy.