In his first official match as part of WWE's main roster, Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Dolph Ziggler on Sunday night at Backlash.
The win didn't come without difficulty. Nakamura kicked out of the Zig Zag and later absorbed a brutal kick to the back of his head.
Ziggler was able to fight off Nakamura's attempts at the Kinshasa for much of the match, but Nakamura hit an inverted exploder suplex to send Ziggler into a dazed state. From there, he connected with the Kinshasa to earn the victory.
WWE shared a replay of the finish:
Bleacher Report's Dave Schilling and CBS Sports' Adam Silverstein offered somewhat differing viewpoints on the match:
The King of Strong Style debuted on the first episode of SmackDown after WrestleMania 33, but he was held out of the ring and largely introduced to the viewing audience through short promos and video packages.
While Nakamura's resume in NXT and Japan speaks for itself, The Showoff was unimpressed by his arrival.
Ziggler regularly downplayed Nakamura's accomplishments and treated him like a rookie due to his lack of experience on the main roster.
He lamented the fact that the WWE fans embraced Nakamura despite his lack of a body of work beyond NXT.
Ziggler even went so far as to troll Nakamura by playing a nonexistent highlight reel of his top moments on SmackDown Live, as seen in this tweet courtesy of WWE Universe:
Conversely, Ziggler truly did play his own highlight reel and discussed the fact that he has been working hard to entertain in WWE for eight years.
Despite Ziggler's constant jabs, Nakamura seemed unaffected and focused on turning in a strong performance like he did so often during his successful stint in NXT.
As part of the NXT roster, Nakamura was part of some of the best matches in the brand's history against the likes of Sami Zayn, Austin Aries, Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode.
Although Ziggler is often overlooked since he has been around for so long without many big-time pushes, he truly has the ability to steal the show on any given night, and that made him an ideal first opponent for Nakamura.
Sunday's bout was very much about showcasing Nakamura and showing the WWE Universe how special of a talent he is, but Ziggler had plenty to gain from being in the ring with him as well.
Ziggler has been searching for a catalyst since his Intercontinental Championship feud against The Miz ended, and Nakamura stood to potentially launch him to greater heights.
While Ziggler put forth a valiant effort, Nakamura prevailed at Backlash and established himself as a threat to everyone on the blue brand.
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