Unless you’ve been living under a rock as of late, you know about the huge news regarding the New Japan Pro Wrestling talent potentially coming to WWE. AJ Styles, Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson, and Shinsuke Nakamura all could be in WWE by WrestleMania 32. That is a massive loss for NJPW, who loses the top three performers of their Bullet Club faction and a Japanese legend in Nakamura, who the fans thought would never leave.
However, he and the others look to be heading to WWE now more than ever. It appears that NJPW has chosen to take Nakamura’s IWGP Intercontinental Championship from him as they stripped him of it this past week, according to Wrestling Inc. It was assumed that he would drop it to new Bullet Club leader Kenny Omega after the two were thrown into a storyline together at NJPW’s New Year Dash a week ago.
Omega pinned Shinsuke Nakamura on that show, which set up an easy story for a match to go down between the two in the future with the title on the line. However, with NJPW stripping him of the championship for no real reason storyline-wise, that match may not occur. Of course, we know the real reason he was stripped of the title. Yes, it looks like Shinsuke is on his way out of the company, but many want to see him drop it like a real professional and not have it taken from him.
It surprised many people to see it instead of the normal drop. However, it is wrong to see if you ask most fans.
Wrestling Inc. claims Nakamura is going to finish out his dates with NJPW, which makes this stripping more puzzling. If he was not going to finish his time out, a stripping should have occurred because he would have refused to drop the title. They would not have done a screw job angle the likes of Bret Hart in WWE, however, he would have had it removed if he didn’t want to stay. That was not the case with Nakamura, though, as he was going to finish out his time with NJPW.
The final show for Nakamura in NJPW is said to be on January 30 at the Korakuen Hall. Who he will be facing there is unknown, as most expected he would drop the IWGP Intercontinental Championship there originally.
Due to all of this with NJPW, some believe that he might have been stripped by NJPW because of something big happening a week before he has his last match with NJPW. The Royal Rumble happens to occur on January 24, about a week before Nakamura’s last scheduled match with NJPW. Could the King of Strong Style make an appearance in the Rumble match? Some believe he might just do it, although it would be a crazy plane ride there and back to Japan.
The reason it could make sense is because Nakamura has yet to officially sign a contract with WWE. On top of this, he still has to do the standard medical testing that every wrestler has to do before they are signed by the company. All of this said, he very well could show up in Orlando, Florida, a place very close to the WWE Performance Center and various medical facilities, and do his testing.
Once they have results back, which won’t take long, he could be signed to something official once he is completely done with NJPW by February. Since he might already be in town, a Rumble appearance is not too far fetched. On top of this, WWE has already bought his theme that he used in NJPW named “Subconscious.” That means WWE is more than ready for him.
Having Shinsuke Nakamura sign a one-match deal for that night would be a cool thing. It is not like WWE has not employed this idea before with other talent. If he does appear, the stripping of his title would make some sense as NJPW would not want him walking out to the Rumble match with their championship.
[Image via NJPW]