At Summerslam. Shinsuke Nakamura handily defeated Jeff Hardy in a United States Championship rematch. Therefore, Jeff Hardy is now seemingly out of title contention and now in a feud with Randy Orton. But where does that leave United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura? Who will be next to challenge for the red, white and blue belt?
Admittedly, there aren’t a whole lot of options. Smackdown’s roster is really top-heavy, so there’s really only a few people who could realistically challenge Nakamura. Still, here are a few predictions, Who will Nakamura’ next challenger be?
I know that right now, it’s hard to really think that Sin Cara could ever be a viable contender for the United States Championship. But as soon as Sin Cara steps through those
four three ropes and does his stuff, everyone is awed. Everyone starts to believe that he may have a chance of winning. It happened against Corbin last year, and and it happened against Almas just a few months ago.
Sin Cara challenging Shinsuke Nakamura for the United States Championship could be a fun sprint of a match. I don’t think the two men have ever fought before. It would also be interesting to see what sort of counters Nakamura would have for the high energy offense of the luchador.
I know people won’t really believe that Sin Cara would win. They’d write it off as a placeholder feud until someone better can challenge for the star-spangled belt. But that could all change in the span of six minutes. Let Sin Cara show his stuff, and the crowd will be on his side. When the crowd is on his side, Nakamura can heel it up to counter. Give it time, and soon people will be believing the near falls.
Tye Dillinger never really wins, but he is capable of putting on good matches. His match against Nakamura earlier this year showed off his resiliency and his heart, while his matches with Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin showed off his aggressive side.
They could play up the story of how Tye Dillinger wants to raise his stock. After all, it’s true. What’s he done since coming to the main roster? So what better way to put himself on the map than to go after some gold? He can call out Shinsuke Nakamura, and Nakamura can even refuse to give him a match for the United States title. Then maybe Nakamura attacks Dillinger or Dillinger proves himself by winning a match or something.
It would be hard to buy Dillinger as a viable threat to Shinsuke Nakamura and his United States Championship. But there’s nothing that can’t be fixed with some good booking. Have him take the fight to Nakamura over the course of a few weeks. When the King of Strong Style tries to ambush him, have Dillinger fight back and prove he’s not a pushover.
Then the two men could put on a good match, and hopefully it raises the stock of both men as well as the title,
If Rusev and Aiden English fail to win the tag team triple threat match next week, it would be quite easy to place Rusev into United States title contention. He’s a former two-time United States Champion, and fairly recently almost became WWE Champion. He’s a bona fide big deal.
I think that out of all the possible options to dethrone Nakamura (and there aren’t very many, I know), Rusev is the best choice. He already has that credibility from going toe-to-toe with WWE Champion AJ Styles, and he and Nakamura had a really good match at Fastlane earlier this year. Plus, Rusev is one of the more over superstars on the roster, so if Nakamura were to dick him around, people would get riled up over it.
Both men are quirky and charismatic in their own ways, so the buildup to this would be interesting to say the least. I’d be curious to see what kind of direction this feud ends up going, if it ever takes place.
The two could have a great series of matches over the United States title, and when the feud is done, both Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura could look even better than they did before.