WWE News: Shinsuke Nakamura Has A ‘Clean Path’ To Debuting On ‘Raw,’ Says Triple H
Shinsuke Nakamura has been one of the most popular and infectious superstars of the entire year, both under the WWE umbrella and the entire world. At the start of the year, Nakamura had a classic match against AJ Styles to retain his IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Both competitors gained an even greater level of respect for both each other, as well as the New Japan crowd and those watching in front of a television screen.
Interestingly, at the conclusion of the year, both are champions under the WWE umbrella — AJ Styles is WWE Champion and Nakamura is NXT Champion.
It is only a matter of time before Nakamura makes his impact on either Raw or SmackDown Live. Even before he signed with WWE, people were expecting for him to make his presence known on the main roster. However, he had to spend time getting accustomed to both the American culture along with further developing his understanding and delivery of the language. His stay in NXT not only created one of best feuds of the year with Samoa Joe, but it kept the brand exciting despite the departures of Enzo and Cass, Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, The Vaudevillians, Apollo Crews, and Finn Balor.
NXT Visionary Triple H recently spoke with ESPN regarding his thoughts on what NXT has become. He stuck by his feelings on NXT transitioning into a third brand instead of being viewed as a developmental territory since the brand spends so much time producing top-notch shows and selling out arenas for their TakeOver events.
He also gave an update on the status of Nakamura to the main roster (h/t Wrestling Inc).
“One of the things that’s funny to me — I always laugh at it — is when people say to me, ‘I watch Nakamura every week in NXT. I don’t know why they don’t put him on Raw so I can watch him on Raw every week.’ You’re getting to see him, right? You’re getting to see him doing what he does, in a big way. The opportunities are there. He’s got that clean path now to get here, when he gets here he might go there, he might go back.”
Right now, Nakamura has a new foe who is vying for the NXT Championship, and his name is Bobby Roode. Bobby is yet another star who is so red-hot for the brand and is keeping it fresh. Since the bout is scheduled to occur on the eve of the Royal Rumble, it creates some interesting possibilities.
Nakamura could very well lose to Roode at TakeOver: San Antonio. However, this could lead to being an entrant in the Royal Rumble match the night after and a subsequent main roster debut.
While Triple H commented on a Raw debut, a spot on the SmackDown Live roster would be a much better choice. Currently, Raw has Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins as their top babyface stars, so Nakamura would, at best, be inserted in the third slot. Moreover, Finn Balor is due to return soon, so that could result in an even lower a spot on the Raw roster for Nakamura.
On SmackDown Live, the babyface picture is very skeletal. The feud between AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose has long overstayed its welcome, and James Ellsworth was never a credible top babyface star. Dolph Ziggler is once again in the title picture, but he has long lost his steam to have any viable chance of becoming champion.
Nakamura, on the other hand, would fit perfectly as a top star for the SmackDown Live brand. If WWE wants to wait a bit before he gets the green light to become champion, which they should, a feud with Baron Corbin over who makes the better No. 1 contender could lead them right to a culmination match at WrestleMania 33.
[Featured Image by WWE]