Shinsuke Nakamura Defeats Kevin Owens on SmackDown Live

Kevin Owens and Shinsuke Nakamura faced off in a much-anticipated first singles meeting on tonight's SmackDown Live. Though it was a non-title match, the pairing proved well worth the hype, making for a long and brutal match that tested both contestants limits and proved their impressive skill sets.

In the end, Shinsuke pulled off the win against his worthy opponent. Nakamura dropped Owens with a series of kicks, followed by a reverse exploder and nailing the Kinshasa to seal the deal. But his victory was cut short by their fellow Money in the Bank contender, Baron Corbin who made an example of The Artist and made clear his intent to win the Money in the Bank briefcase.

While this occasion marked their first singles match in over a year, and first on televised WWE product, it was hardly their first confrontation.

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After exchanging heated words on last week's "Highlight Reel" segment, the two ended up closing that show facing eachother in a four man tag main event alongside Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin. Nakamura pinned KO cleanly to secure the win in that match, thus logically setting up this week's showdown.

As WWE builds towards Money in the Bank we'll likely continue to see similar matches. Early rumors have Nakamura pinned to win the Money in the Bank briefcase, but it's also possible that WWE could be planning an ongoing Owens vs. Nakamura feud for the United States Championship.

Meanwhile, Baron Corbin is another favorite to win the briefcase at Money in the Bank. But whether he walks away from that event with a contract or not, we can expect to see The Lone Wolf continue his all-out assault on the competition leading to the June 18th pay-per-view, and beyond.

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