During the build-up to the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, a huge gauntlet match took place on Friday Night Smackdown. Shinsuke Nakamura put on an amazing performance in the match as he defeated Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio and King Corbin in the match.
Nakamura wasn’t able to win the match due to interference from Roman Reigns and Jey Uso, leading to Adam Pearce winning instead. Due to this, Nakamura effectively turned babyface. However, it seems Shinsuke Nakamura was not the original choice for that spot.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Daniel Bryan originally pitched the idea for the babyface spot for Cesaro. Ultimately, WWE decided to have Shinsuke Nakamura take the spot instead.
The gauntlet match that Adam Pearce won on Smackdown, the babyface star making spot of running through the field and then getting screwed at the end was an idea of Bryan, and his pick for the spot was Cesaro. However, since Cesaro hadn’t signed yet, it was switched to Nakamura, so Cesaro was going to be the face originally. But even if some thought Nakamura got over in that match, and without live fans there’s really no way to know, since he was a replacement, the plan wasn’t to follow up much which is why he’s basically in the same spot, only on the face side. He’s been told his role is to make new stars
It was previously reported that Cesaro recently agreed to a contract with WWE a few weeks ago.