Many accomplished WWE Superstars have departed the company due to budget cuts this year, but not many had such a stop-start last year than Westin Blake. As Wesley Blake, the former NXT Tag Team Champion and Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finalist was called up to the SmackDown roster after seven years on the black and gold brand and shared the ring with many top stars – including in Shinsuke Nakamura’s second-ever WWE match.
“Shinsuke Nakamura, who was one of the greatest, coming out of Japan, in the world. I’ll never forget. He just had his debut. This is when I knew that Shinsuke was kind of like a next level star. So he just had his debut match with Sami Zayn at TakeOver: Dallas. The next morning was a WrestleMania Axxess, and I don’t know if people don’t know what that is, but it’s basically you get to go in and WWE opens its door to the warehouse wherever it is, and you can kind of go see merchandise, you get to go see old stuff. But not only that, you get the kind of see matches and, at that time, NXT put on like just exhibition matches and stuff like that.”
Less than 12 hours after his WWE debut, Nakamura faced Wesley Blake.
So he just had this killer match with Sami Zayn and then me and him were scheduled to do a match the next day. I want to say that Saturday morning, for Axxess at eight o’clock in the morning. So this guy just went out, killed it, and then he had to wake up at six o’clock in the morning to get shuttled over to WrestleMania Axxess.”
Blake recalled how there wasn’t a massive crowd, due to the early start, but that all changed when Nakamura’s music hit.
“At eight o’clock in the morning, there’s not a lot of people there and they’re just kind of like floundering and looking around and stuff like that, and I’ll never forget… I was in the ring and his music hits, and I just remember looking out and people at merchandise just drop their stuff and just come in waves towards the ring where I swear everyone in Axxess heard that music and they wanted to go see Shinsuke Nakamura.”
Not only does Wesley Blake cherish that one moment with Nakamura, he says the Japanese star helped him inside and outside the ring.
“That was just a cool moment in time where I was, “Oh, Wow” and I cherish it – and what’s great is that he helped me out so much in and outside the ring just presentation wise, moves and just kind of like how he sets things up. He was a great one.”