Forum Files #18: Book the AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura Feud

Discussion in 'World Wrestling Entertainment' started by klunderbunker, Feb 2, 2018.

  1. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

    Jan 8, 2007
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    Welcome back to the WZ Forum Files!

    Every now and then we’ll present a hot topic on wrestling for discussion in the WZ Forums. The topic will be open for a set amount of time and at the end, the best responses will be presented in an article here on the main site. We’ve already presented the topic and have the best responses right here.

    Here’s the latest WZ Forum Files topic:

    Book the AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura Feud

    With just over two months to go before Wrestlemania XXXIV, we already have one major match set. While there is still a Smackdown pay per view to go, it seems that we’ll be seeing AJ Styles defending the Smackdown World Title against Shinsuke Nakamura. This is a dream match for WWE but there’s still a big question: how do we get there?

    We have about eight weeks to go and that’s a lot of time to fill. Assuming the match isn’t changed, how would you book the feud to get there? Should someone turn heel? What kind of personal issue, if any, should the have? Let us know how you would put the feud and story together and see if it’s good enough to make the big show… page in this case.
  2. George Steele's Barber

    George Steele's Barber Advertise Here $9.95/month

    Dec 7, 2010
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    This is really difficult. You don't get any free weeks with these two guys. They don't take weeks off at a time. The secondary men's title can't carry the show. Neither has a mouthpiece or is really that gifted on the mic. They're both faces for a good reason. You also have a PPV to get through as well that already feels completely predetermined.

    So what do they do creatively for the next two months? You can only beat Corbin/Zayn/Rusev so many times before fans lose interest and just start seeing the match as "nothing but the least interesting main event that was booked just to please the smarks".

    So what do they do? I don't think there is a great answer. I think they can keep the feud turned down for awhile. Maybe have Nak throw some shots at Styles by talking about not getting too focused on Styles since he may not ever make it to WM as champ.

    At Backlash then have Nak at ringside for Styles' title defense. Although it is unnecessary, have Nak help Styles win. In the follow up week of SD, have Nak state that he wants to face Styles at Mania so he made sure it happened. Nothing over the top, not a blatant heel turn, just mind games. Commentators can question if Nak feels like he wants Styles because he wants the best competition or because he knows he can beat him. Leave Styles confused and questioning Nak's intentions, he has a naturally confused look on his face some of the time anyway.

    Then repeat this one or two times on the remaining episodes of SD until AJ can't take the mind games any longer. Maybe even book a title match on the last SD where Nak takes out Styles opponent before the match even starts or he hurts Styles during the match giving Styles the DQ win.

    At this point AJ can snap and go at it with Nak for a few minutes of strong action until Bryan sends the locker room out to stop his main eventers from ruining their WM match.

    At this point they go to Mania, get 15 to 25 minutes to wow the smarks. Nak wins cleanly and AJ goes to Raw.

    Just a thought. Nothing too exciting or complicated. In the end a really tough feud to build.
  3. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

    Jun 2, 2006
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    First off you have to resolve the situation with Sami and Owens... and use them to your advantage as you currently have two faces in AJ and Nakamura.

    A good way to start it all is to have Zayn beat Owens, and he attack Nakamura in response. That sets up an AJ v Zayn match and a tag match with AJ/Nakamura.

    The special ref angle doesn't work, as they just did it, but Nakamura being involved in the AJ/Zayn title match makes sense and he somehow costs Zayn the title. During the Tag match, Zayn and Owens finally implode and either guy walks away, only for Nakamura to miss Kinshasa and hit AJ, opening a cut so whoever is left actually wins the match.

    That puts AJ on more of an adversarial footing with Nakamura... Shinsuke isn't apologetic, "occupational hazard" is his view, this fits with some of his more heelish mannerisms like the dismissive hand wave. "it happened, and it will happen again at Wrestlemania..."

    The key to this is to keep it as free of "sports entertainment" as possible, as tempting as it is to put Shane/Bryan in the middle of it. This is a "dream match" in many ways and should be booked as such - it's bigger than "petty squabbles" between GM/Owner, it's about the most prestigious title in the world..etc.

    In the weeks running up to Mania, both guys have BIG wins - Orton and Jericho if he is around after his recent NJPW exploits (they mention it specifically) would work for AJ and Nak respectively. One guy should get to pick the stipulation from theirs - and the stip is revealed as a one hour Iron Man Match!

    Multiple falls and a long time is gonna benefit this match, if they're going with Shinzuke then they need to build on the "iron man" aspect of him winning the Rumble, that his strong style conditioning is the difference maker. This isn't Bret v Shawn though, we're not going to a tie and sudden death. I'm picking Nakamura and I say he wins it three to two with the final pinfall coming right at the death.

    They can do the "respect" thing after but until that point, they should be going at it hammer and tongs.

    One final personal thing I'd add... one of my uni mates played the violin theme at the UK show where Barrett impersonated Nakamura in the UK... so I get him over to do the theme on the night... hey, if it works for Triple H to use his mates...
  4. Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D.

    Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D. Kamehamehaaaaa!!

    Jul 8, 2011
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    This is tough, since Nakamura can't really talk, but there's one thing both men can do. WRESTLE. So, I'm going to try to turn this into a wrestling build-up and also use someof Nakamura's charisma.

    First things first, you need to make this match equal to the other two main events, which might end up being: Undertaker vs Cena and Roman vs Lesnar, plus there's a Triple H match on the card. Styles vs Nakamura needs to feel like a big deal. Putting Cena on RAW's elimination chamber was a mistake. They should have booked a John Cena vs Shinsuke Nakamura match at FastLane. But they haven't, so I'll use the other closest superstar to John Cena: Randy Orton.
    Have Orton become somewhat heelish for a short feud against Nakamura, which will lead at a match at Fast Lane. Why is that? Well because Nakamura has been booked horribly before his Rumble victory, so we need to pick up the pieces. A victory over a 13-time world champion, before Wrestlemania, can do that, but as I said, having Nakamura beat Cena would have been even better.
    So at Fast Lane, Nakamura beats Orton clean and Styles beats Sami and Kevin in a Triple Threat match.
    First chapter is done, both Nakamura and Styles have defeated the best talent of Smackdown. Now, onto the build-up.

    We have 4 weeks, so they set a bet between them. 4 weeks, 4 different opponents until Wrestlemania. They want to see who will pick up the most victories until then. Each of them will pick the opponent for the other one.

    The first week, Nakamura picks Sami Zayn as Styles' opponent and Styles picks Kevin Owens as Nakamura's opponent. Both men win their matches. After the Styles vs Sami match, which goes on last, Owens comes out and they double-team Styles. Nakamura runs out and makes the save. Then, they have a face-off to end the show.

    The second week, Nakamura picks Baron Corbin for AJ Styles, but Styles is not so kind, as he picks both KO and Sami Zayn in a handicap match, to face Shinsuke! Nakamura's match is first and Nakamura overcomes the odds as he beats both men (due to interference from Shane McMahon). At the main event Styles is frustated in his match against Corbin and seems distracted. The reason he's frustated is because Nakamura managed to win. Despite all of this, he also manages to pin Corbin, after a brutal match. Post-match Nakamura comes out to congratulate Styles, but Styles, furious that Nakamura won his match with help, declines the hand-shake.

    The third week, AJ Styles proposes a Beat the Clock challenge, between them. Styles picks Corbin as Nakamura's opponent, believing that since Corbin was so difficult to defeat, then Nak would also have trouble with him. In the meantime, Nakamura picks Rusev for Styles (all hail Rusev Day!).
    So, Nakamura beats Corbin, but Styles was right. It was difficult for Nakamura to do so. At the main event, we have Styles vs Rusev. Styles is overconfident since Nakamura took so long to beat Corbin, and controls most of the match and seems to be going for a very quick victory, however Nakamura decides to make an entrance to support AJ! But instead of that, Nakamura stars having convos with the crowd and panders to the them, which of course takes the crowd completely away from the match. So, he takes AJ's match and turns into something about himself. AJ is distracted by this, which leads to.. Rusev rolling up AJ Styles for the pin! Big upset on Smackdown. Post-match a furious AJ Styles pushes Shinsuke and wants to know what the hell he's doing out here. AJ Styles takes the championships and leaves, shouting that he's the WWE champion, he's the best and stuff. Shinsuke is left in the ring, doing his thing while his music plays.
    Before Smackdown goes off-air, Styles does a quick interview saying "I'll show him. He wants to make a fool out of me? I'll show him."

    Fourth and final week, the go-home show for Wrestlemania. It's AJ Styles vs Kofi Kingston and Shinsuke Nakamura vs Jinder Mahal & The Sighn Brothers in a 3-on-1 Handicap match. Styles beats Kofi rather quickly via submission. Nakamura wins the match via DQ, since Mahal decides to go for a 3-on-1 beatdown. Styles comes out to make the save this time. After that Styles congratulates Nakamura in an ironic fashion, since Nakamura got a DQ win, a win due to interference and Styles lost a match because he was distracted. Nakamura picks the mic from Styles' hand and says "All.. this.. Children games! Us.. Men. Real man.. walks out Wrestlemania.. WWE Champioooon! AJ, you.. bad loser". And as Nakamura goes to leave, AJ has had enough. He turns Nakamura around and goes for a punch, but hesitates at the last minute. Nakamura screams to him "C'mooon!", however AJ leaves the ring.
    But while AJ walks away and the crowd boos, he suddently stops, turns around and rushes to the ring and the two of them start brawling! The locker room comes out to seperate them and Nakamura taunts Styles. Styles picks the belt and goes to Nakamura's face and raises the belt up, while Nak still taunts him.

    During the build-up I'd also have backstage skits, featuring Styles and Nakamura in competitive games. Darts, basketball, puzzles, push-ups, board games, chess.. anything you can imagine. This sets up better the fact that Nakamura doesn't really care wether he wins this competition or not. All he cares about is Wrestlemania. Styles is the one that cares about winning this though, because he takes things more seriously.

    To sum up: the build-up revolves around Nakamura being a big troll that looks at everything in a funny way and Styles being a bad loser, who looks at things seriously. A healthy competion between two athletes, that quickly turned wild.

    After Wrestlemania, they can go in two different ways. AJ turns heel on Nakamura or the two shake hands and hug after their amazing match. I'll have Styles hand the belt to Nakamura, after Nakamura's clean victory. AJ then goes to RAW and Nakamura becomes the face that runs Smackdown.
  5. Remix

    Remix Is a thin rope

    Oct 25, 2009
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    In essence, there's really not much to go on in terms of a feud between the two. Their match is set. There's no personal issues between the two. It's just a champion and a man who beat 29 other men to challenge him. But, not much is still something. I'm not going to go week by week, because quite frankly who has time to write about what happens on a show every week? Instead I'm going to break the build up into three phases. The start, the middle and the end Dealing with the duo, confirming the carrier and Racing to Wrestlemania

    Dealing with the duo

    Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are still around and are an issue that's so past needing to be put to bed it's unreal. At Wrestlemania, AJ beat both of them at once. Yet they're still not accepting the fact that AJ is on a level they are not. This past week on Smackdown it was announced that AJ will be defeating facing one of them at Fast Lane. Screw that, this fued is played out and they lost. I'd accelerate this programme so AJ can have a different challenge for Fast Lane. On 6/2/18 they face off for the contendership but instead of waiting a month for the title match they get it on 13/2/18. AJ defeats Zayn cleanly in the middle of the ring. Nakamura is ringside and hits the Kinshasa on Owens when they look like they're trying to get involved. They get no more chances. They are DONE being in the title picture for the time being.

    Confirming the Carrier

    Now that Sami and Owens are out of the way we can move on to Fast Lane on 11/03/18. But AJ needs a challenger for Fast Lane. Can't have the champion missing a PPV - what is this, Raw? I hear you ask. Well it's your lucky day... your lucky Rusev Day that is. Daniel Bryan's recently announced Smackdown ranking system comes into play. He's not got a challenger and according to the locker room Rusev is who they want to see get the shot. He and English get a tag match against AJ and Nakamura that gets interrupted by the OZ. AJ wins a close match that makes Rusev look like a star. English, at ringside does not interfere, but does provide moral support to his friend.

    It might sound like I've not spoken about Shinsuke much, well that's where he enters the frame properly. Remember how he clocked Kevin earlier? Well Kevin uses that as grounds to whine his way into a match with Nakamura at Fast Lane, with the winner losing their spot in the Wrestlemania Main Event. Nakamura wins via Kinshasa. At this point the duo explodes leading to a grudge match at Wrestlemania.

    Racing to Wrestlemania

    Now we're in the finishing stretch. We know the match, now it's time to start getting people excited for it. At this stage Nakamura looks to be the only man close to being able to beat AJ, and now we start getting into the meat and potatos of the build. I'm not talking about matches, I'm talking video packages. It's time to talk about Japan, specifically January 4th 2016 Wrestle Kingdom 10. AJ's penultimate match in NJPW, where Shinsuke Nakamura defeated him for the intercontinental championship. AJ walked into the biggest match of his career to that point the challenger in front of a packed stadium to take his shot at the King.... and he missed. That match sent AJ from the company, doubting himself and to WWE, where he found himself again. Now Nakamura's in his shoes walking into the biggest match of his career. You want to take your shot, King? You'd best not miss.

    From Nakamura's perspective things are the same but different. AJ Styles hasn't changed a bit. Oh sure, he's won gold but when it comes to backing up his claims? He's no face that runs the place, he's the Schlub that left the club. When Nakamura saw AJ Styles in WWE he knew where he needed to be? You beat up John Cena - big deal. Shinsuke Nakamura beat up AJ Styles, YEAOH!

    That's the general message of the hype promos. From here on out, the two never touch one another. They tease it a few times, AJ faints the phenominal forearm, Nakamura the Kinshasa but things never come to blows, no matter how tense things get. AJ the champion with the chip on his shoulder and a desire to prove that he can beat Nakamura when it matters. Nakamura the challenger who AJ could never beat. The king awaiting his coronation.

    Can AJ Styles overcome his nemesis? Can Shinsuke Nakamura do what AJ could not, and beat the champion in the biggest match of his career? Find out April 8th only on the WWE Network for only $9.99 a month.
    Bernkastel and Eyebrows like this.
  6. CrunKSinatrA

    CrunKSinatrA Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2009
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    I know it won't happen, but it would be awesome if they did a callback to the Austin/Pillman angle from the Attitude Era.

    So in mid March, WWE can be doing little get to know the wrestler vignettes for the main event matches.

    Specifically, Michael Cole is interviewing AJ Styles at his home in Orlando with the Styles Family.

    But then Shinsuke Nakamura shows up with a gun, and the camera cuts to static.

    The WWE does a whole will they/won't they suspend/fire Nakamura before Wrestlemania.

    WWE has done this angle before, so this isn't an impossible idea. It's just very unlikely.
    Khalifa likes this.
  7. Jack-Hammer

    Staff Member Moderator

    Mar 26, 2009
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    I'm sort of leaning in the same direction as GSB in that the best way to go is probably the simplest ways possible. I disagree about Styles on the mic, I think he's come a helluva long way from what he used to be and I think he infuses enough personality into his promo work without going overboard. He's not dynamic, he's not one of the all time greats, but he can do what he's supposed to do. As for Nakamura, his English skills are going to prevent him from doing any real talking on the mic, at least to anything beyond a minute or two.

    One thing I'd consider doing is to setting something up like this beginning this week: Styles finishes a bout against either Kevin Owens or Sami Zayn after winning via disqualification after which he's beaten down. He's being helped backstage to the training area where he's stopped by Nakamura and tells him that his troubles as champion haven't really even begun yet before walking off. Over the next few weeks, Nakamura continues to make little smart comments to Styles, maybe getting into Styles' head a little, resulting in Styles eventually putting his hands on Nakamura. Nothing serious, just a few punches before slamming him into the wall before walking away. Things continue to grow heated in the coming weeks with escalating levels of physicality between them, brawling backstage, brawling around the ringside area, the locker room emptying to separate them. After Fastlane, they keep them separated but maybe show some videos of both of them in the gym preparing, training for the match, speaking about the other, etc.. Now, this next bit is unlikely but this is how I'd do it. I'd reach out to New Japan and ask them if it's okay to use footage of Styles vs. Nakamura while they were in Japan going at it for the IWGP IC Championship in preparation for a sit-down interview with them in the ring on the go home SmackDown Live. Styles does his thing, hypes the match, hypes how important it is to be in "the main event" of WrestleMania, etc. Nakamura, in maybe the most serious he's been, tells Styles that the reason he's gotten into his head so easily is because AJ himself knows that he(AJ) can't beat him(Nakamura.) Styles knows that his time as champion is almost up and is trying to hide it. Nakamura tells them to roll the footage, footage is rolled and we see Styles losing to Nakamura. After the footage ends, Nakamura tells Styles that whether it's New Japan or WWE, he's the better man and walks out of the ring.

    Not the most original, probably not even the best, but I think it'd do the job.

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