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PHILADELPHIA — Shinsuke Nakamura notched a win against Baron Corbin in their long-brewing debut singles clash following weeks of sneak attacks on Mr. Money in the Bank’s part, but Nakamura was the one writhing on the canvas when the final bell rang.
It was clear from the onset that the bout was not going to be as simple as offense-finisher-1-2-3. The two strikers were nose-to-nose the second the bell rang and were out to not just compete, but hurt each other. Corbin treated Nakamura like hell’s chiropractor with a ruthless bear hug, and The King of Strong Style replied with a gnarly triangle hold that threatened to turn Corbin’s arm into linguini.
The Lone Wolf responded by driving Nakamura spine-first into the barricade and going back to the bear hug, attempting to take away the core strength from which The King of Strong Style derives the power in his infamous kicks. It seemed to do the job, as even after Nakamura escaped Corbin’s clutches to hit him with a series of increasingly horrifying knees and kicks, the big man was still able to rally with a clothesline that flipped The Artist, literally, end-over-end. When Nakamura looked to respond with a Kinshasa, he ended up getting hit with Deep Six.
Whatever grace was left went out of the match moments later. The two rivals resorted to slugging each other as though they were fighting behind the Wells Fargo Arena rather than in the middle of it. Nakamura got the better of the exchange when he seemingly knocked Corbin unconscious with a strike to the back of the head, but The Lone Wolf was merely playing possum. When The King of Strong Style went to investigate, Corbin mule-kicked him below the belt, bringing the bout to an immediate disqualification halt in Nakamura’s favor.
Mr. Money in the Bank didn’t seem all that bothered by the outcome. Not only did he smile, he jabbed his briefcase into Nakamura’s gut and hit the End of Days after the bell, leaving Philly with a million-dollar grin across his face and raising his hand in triumph. Hard to blame him. Nakamura may have won the match, but Corbin won the fight.