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    Tuesday, December 26, 2017

    31 Days of Wrestling (12/25/17): Shinsuke Nakamura Meets John Cena

    Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2017 produced for us.

    Shinsuke Nakamura's defection to the WWE last year opened up a whole new trove of dream matchups, and for their part, the company never wasted any time in getting to them. From a near-perfect bout with Sami Zayn as the King of Strong Style's NXT debut in 2016 to matches with the likes of Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode, Nakamura was burning through it all.

    It would only continue when he would eventually be drafted to SmackDown Live in the Superstar Shakeup this year. And it was only a matter of time before he would meet the WWE's franchise player—on an episode of SmackDown, no less, as part of what seems to be Cena's protracted farewell tour.

    At least, it was for some marbles, as they were fighting for the #1 contendership to the WWE title.

    This dream match would start pretty hot, with the atmosphere of a big NJPW match (but if it were compressed into an insufficient 10 minutes). They would wrestle like it as well, beginning slow and gradually building momentum until it was time to wrestle the match both Cena and Nakamura's way.

    To their credit, Nakamura was able to pull Cena into an interesting game in the third act, creating drama by exchanging submission holds on the ground—Cena with the STF, and Nakamura with his patented cross armbreaker. They'd snap out of it and start exchanging their signature moves, with Nakamura even kicking out of the AA on an episode of SmackDown and the infamous inverted suplex spot that saw Cena get dropped on his head.

    It would all be fine for the Face That Runs The Place as he would recognize that Nakamura is the real deal, and that they just had a great match. We were treated to a great match considering what it was, but we certainly hope that they have another meeting on a bigger stage. It's a WrestleMania-worthy match, that much is for sure.


    31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2017.

    Read our previous entries:

    1. The Okada/Omega Trilogy
    2. Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 33)
    3. The Mae Young Classic Finals
    4. Billy Suede vs. Jake De Leon (Wrevolution X 2017)
    5. WarGames
    6. Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Dark (Ultima Lucha Tres)
    7. Fatal Four Way for the WWE Universal Championship (SummerSlam)
    8. Manami Toyota's Retirement
    9. Jinder Mahal Wins the WWE Championship
    10. Roman Reigns Tries To Take The Torch (No Mercy 2017)
    11. Hanzello Shilva vs. Aldrin Richards (MWF Balikbayan 2017)
    12. Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega (G1 Climax 27 Finals)
    13. The Implosion of #DIY
    14. Ubusan ng Lahi (PWR Vendetta 2017)
    15. The First (and Second) Women's Money in the Bank
    16. Cody Rhodes Wins the Ring of Honor World Championship
    17. The Beginning of the Zo Train Era
    18. Killshot vs. Dante Fox, Hell Of War (Ultima Lucha Tres)
    19. The 16-Time Champ is Here
    20. Kenny Omega vs Tomohiro Ishii, G1 Special
    21. Kurt Angle Joins The Shield for the TLC Main Event
    22. Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne, NXT Takeover: Chicago
    23. The Festival of Friendship

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    Item Reviewed: 31 Days of Wrestling (12/25/17): Shinsuke Nakamura Meets John Cena Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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