Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Randy Orton on Tuesday's episode of SmackDown Live to earn another shot at Jinder Mahal and the WWE Championship at the Hell in a Cell PPV.
Bleacher Report's Kevin Berge and Ryan Satin of ProWrestlingSheet provided their thoughts on the outcome:
It was announced last week that Nakamura and Orton would battle for the No. 1 contendership, but they were first put together as a team to take on Mahal and Rusev.
The King of Strong Style and The Viper had strong chemistry and worked well together in a winning effort; however, it wasn't long before Orton took advantage of the situation.
As seen in this GIF courtesy of WWE's official Twitter account, The Apex Predator laid out an unsuspecting Nakamura with an RKO while the pair of big-time Superstars were celebrating their victory:
That took Tuesday's match from being a friendly competition to a heated bout that had even more on the line than only a title opportunity.
Getting another crack at Mahal remained the top objective for both men, though, as they had each fallen short in previous attempts.
Orton dropped the WWE Championship to the Modern Day Maharaja at Backlash and lost a pair of rematches, including a Punjabi Prison match.
He struggled to overcome Mahal's numbers advantage with the Singh Brothers constantly getting involved, and The Great Khali even cost him the chance to become a 14-time world champion.
Nakamura can relate to Orton's plight, as he experienced a similar fate during his title match against Mahal at SummerSlam.
The Artist defeated John Cena to earn that shot at Mahal, but distractions by the Singh Brothers at SummerSlam prevented him from getting his crowning moment on the WWE main roster.
While the dastardly Mahal continues to find ways to beat top-level competition and keep the belt in his possession, he may be operating on borrowed time.
The next SmackDown-exclusive pay-per-view is Hell in a Cell in October, which means Mahal may be forced to defend the title inside the demonic structure.
Although he found a way to get help from the Singh Brothers and Great Khali in the Punjabi Prison match, Hell in a Cell is an entirely different animal.
Also, Nakamura once again has momentum on his side after beating one of the most accomplished Superstars in WWE history, so Mahal may need some additional tricks up his sleeve in order to avoid becoming a former WWE champion.
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