WWE is a year-round platform, constantly adapting to not only the fans but also to its talent and to outside circumstances that plague any athletic competition. That constantly shifting plan is what changed the approach to then NXT superstar Shinsuke Nakamura, and the original plan for him that involved WrestleMania 33.
As reported by Billi Bhatti of Sportskeeda, WrestleMania looked very different at one point. For those who watched Smackdown Live on a regular basis, you know that The Miz had been involved in a long-running (and fantastic mind you) feud with general manager Daniel Bryan. Miz had routinely called out Bryan for not wrestling despite his health issues and even started using his moves in the ring to antagonize the crowd and Bryan. While it was never in the cards for Bryan to get into the ring with Miz, the big pop would have occurred when Bryan announced that someone else would be a special opponent for the Miz in his place, that being none other than Shinsuke Nakamura. The two would face each other at WrestleMania for the Intercontinental Championship.
That was the plan, but once Vince McMahon convinced John Cena to use WrestleMania 33 as a platform to ask Nikki Bella to marry him, it necessitated a change of plans. Therefore Nakamura was shuffled to debut after WrestleMania, and Cena and Bella were put into a feud with the Miz and Maryse at the big show. Granted, this turned out extremely well, far better than some had hoped for, but knowing what it could have been does diminish it a bit. Having Nakamura against the heel tactics of the Miz at the biggest show of the year would have been an amazing debut for Nakamura, and it probably would have been a great match.
The good news is that Nakamura is now on Smackdown Live, though now that The Miz and Maryse are on RAW, that feud will have to wait.
Up next for the WWE is the RAW branded Payback pay-per-view on Sunday, April 30. You can see the entire match card below.
United States Champion Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho
RAW Tag Team Champions The Hardy Boys vs Sheamus And Cesaro
WWE Champion Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt - House of Horrors Match
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville vs. Austin Aries
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe0comments
RAW Women's Champion Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss
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