We didn’t see it coming weeks before WrestleMania 34, even with glimpses of “heel” Nakamura being thrown at us every so often. The heel turn eventually took place at WrestleMania 34, where Nakamura delivered a devastating low-blow on AJ Styles. Here’s why Nakamura’s turn to evil is good news!
Being in the Background
While everyone loves Shinsuke Nakamura, it was clear his good-guy persona was putting him in the background. The problem is that there are many popular stars on the SmackDown Live brand, including AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. Without a turn to the dark side, it left Nakamura fading in the background, despite his obvious talent and showmanship.
There has been a clear trend over the past five years, where fans start to boo “faces” and appreciate “heels”. For WWE superstars, “tweener” or anti-hero baddie is often the way to go. WWE fans want more realism, and often times good guys are not a part of that.
The heel turn seems to have worked wonders for Nakamura since WrestleMania. Some wrestlers make terrific heels, just think about Seth Rollins. The same now applies to Nakamura, who is using a combination of slyness and humor to flesh out his heel persona.
There are many things that make Nakamura an excellent heel, but his Japanese accent is certainly doing him some favors now. When he was face, the crowd would often chant “what” during his promos. Now, he does not have to worry about that, since he can use the statement “Sorry, no speak English” during his promos. Simple yet brilliant.
The Stone Cold Example
Being a heel can make your career, just look at one of the most popular (if not the most popular) WWE superstar in history: Stone Cold Steve Austin.
At the start of his career in the WWE (WWF at that time), Stone Cold was definitely a heel. However, the crowd became to love his work as a heel as well as his in-ring work, prompting him to become a “Tweener” (not good or evil). If anyone embodied the term “Tweener” it is certainly Stone Cold Steve Austin. It is no surprise many wrestlers take a page from his book.
Nakamura is almost a “tween”. He is supposed to be a full-blown heel, but the humour he brings with his heel persona is appealing to the WWE crowd. If Nakamura maintains this persona, I think it will yield him quite the return.
Are you loving or hating the Shinsuke Nakamura heel turn? Let us know in the comment section below!