Moments after WWE Fastlane concluded, it was announced that New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) legend Shinsuke Nakamura has officially signed with the company after several weeks of rumors and speculation.
— WWE (@WWE) February 22, 2016
This should come as no surprise due to the fact that Nakamura is scheduled to compete at NXT Takeover: Dallas during Wrestlemania 32 weekend. Nakamura made an appearance during an NXT television taping earlier this month to set up a match between him and Sami Zayn at the event.
The only holdup in the signing was that Nakamura had to pass WWE’s medical testing before he could sign a contract. This announcement means that Nakamura passed all the required tests and will now embark on his newest journey as an NXT superstar.
“Talent is the lifeblood of our company, and the signing of Shinsuke Nakamura further demonstrates NXT’s commitment to bringing in the best talent from all over the world,” Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative said to WWE.com of the signing. “His explosive style will make an immediate impact to an already dynamic NXT men’s division.”
Starting his career with NJPW in 2002, Nakamura quickly established himself as a cornerstone of the promotion. At just 23 years old, Nakamura became the IWGP Heavyweight champion, a title that he would end up holding on three occasions. As WWE’s announcement of the signing mentions, Nakamura has faced the likes of AJ Styles, Finn Bálor, Kevin Owens, Hideo Itami, WWE Performance Center Head Coach Matt Bloom and Brock Lesnar.
In addition to his three runs as IWGP World Heavyweight champion, Nakamura is a five-time IWGP Intercontinental champion and a one-time IWGP Tag Team champion (with Hiroshi Tanahashi).
The 35-year-old has earned the moniker “King of Strong Style” thanks to his immaculate striking ability. While Nakamura is adept at utilizing his entire body as a weapon, he is also capable of locking in a plethora of painful submission holds to keep the opposition grounded.
Arguably the most interesting part of Nakamura is his “unusual but magnetic charisma,” WWE.com writes. WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross recently discussed Nakamura’s person with Review Fix, nothing how the Japanese grappler was influenced by several musicians.
“He’s the guy who told me he was inspired by the late Freddie Mercury of Queen and Michael Jackson. You get a lot of guys and [ask] ‘who’s your influence?’ You get the Funks, the Briscoes, Stone Cold [Steve Austin], The Rock…whatever. This guy is freeflowing talking about Freddie Mercuy and Michael Jackson.”
After a well-received bout against Styles at Wrestle Kingdom 10, rumors about Nakamura’s eventual WWE swirled. Nakamura confirmed a few weeks later that he was leaving NJPW and would relinquish his IWGP Intercontinental championship. At the end of January, Nakamura wrestled his final matches for NJPW.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) January 28, 2016
Just before he left NJPW, Nakamura was shown on NXT television taping. NXT GM William Regal revealed that Nakamura would be at NXT Takeover: Dallas.
While Nakamura is best known for his work in Japan, he has also wrestled for Ring of Honor (ROH) in his career, so he does have experience wrestling in the United States. The fans who are not familiar with him soon will be and Ross gave an insightful description of what fans can expect.
“Nakamura is a 6’2, 6’3 guy, speaks good enough English to do promos, has an amazing MMA foundation [and] has really acquired the skillset of entertaining.”
[Featured Photo via WWE]