Video: Shinsuke Nakamura Hands Over His Crown

WWE Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura has abdicated his crown. As seen in the pre-SmackDown backstage video below, Rick Boogs introduced Nakamura for a royal decree on the crown. Nakamura announced that he is dropping the “King” from his name, and he’s giving up the crown because he respects the King of the Ring Tournament.

“A new King of the Ring being crowned in a few weeks,” Nakamura said. “I respect the King of the Ring Tournament and I’ve proven myself as The King. Because of that, I am giving up my crown so you will not call me ‘King’ Nakamura, but you can call me the Intercontinental Champion!”

Nakamura officially won possession of the crown by defeating Happy Baron Corbin in the first-ever Battle for the Crown on the June 18 edition of SmackDown. Before that, Corbin had the crown and the “King” nickname since winning the 21st edition of the King of the Ring tournament in 2019, which was the last time the competition was held.

As noted, the 2021 King of the Ring Tournament will begin on tonight’s SmackDown season premiere episode with Rey Mysterio vs. Sami Zayn as a first round match. The inaugural Queen’s Crown Tournament will also kick off tonight with Liv Morgan vs. Carmella. The finals of the tournaments are set to take place at WWE Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, October 22.