WWE Star Cleared To Return Following Injury

This WWE SmackDown star is good to go after taking time off due to injury...

Shinsuke Nakamura return

Shinsuke Nakamura has been cleared to return to the ring following an injury-related absence.

The reigning WWE Intercontinental Champion recently confirmed as much on his Instagram story, stating that he is good to go once more. Theoretically, he could now participate in Saturday's Royal Rumble match, which is currently light on SmackDown men. Only five blue brand representatives had been announced at the time of writing.

PWInisder's Mike Johnson states that Nakamura is in St. Louis, Missouri ahead of tonight's SmackDown taping and Saturday's Royal Rumble.


Nakamura hasn't wrestled for WWE since teaming with Rick Boogs to face Madcap Moss and Happy Corbin on an 18 December house show. He suffered a hand injury that night, with Boogs confirming the issue during an appearance on Out of Character with Ryan Satin.

Despite this, Shinsuke has retained a steady on-screen presence by Boogs' side, appearing on SmackDown even when he hasn't been able to wrestle. WWE had intended to have him defend the IC strap against Sami Zayn at Day 1 (1 January) prior to his injury.


Nakamura's Intercontinental reign has been a sparse one, with his last defence taking place on SmackDown's 24 September episode.

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Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.