Shinsuke Nakamura’s one-year anniversary in the WWE system is just a few weeks away and he continues to think about his future with the company.
The former NXT World Champion recently spoke to Sportskeeda to discuss his time with the NXT brand, his preferred destination on the main roster, and his personal goals. The 37-year-old has achieved a lot in less than a year. He stole the show with Sami Zayn at NXT Takeover: Dallas in his debut, defeated Samoa Joe to capture NXT’s top prize at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II, and is currently preparing to face Bobby Roode for the title at NXT Takeover: Orlando.
So coming from New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), where he was recognized by many as the company’s biggest star, to a developmental system hasn’t just been a smooth transition, it’s been a rewarding one.
“Lot of people ask me this question. So, NXT is not just developmental; it is the third brand,” he said. “Raw, SmackDown, then NXT. NXT does not only have young talent, but it also has me, Bobby Roode. Before this, there were experienced wrestlers like Finn Balor and Samoa Joe. It’s a mix. We’re trying to change WWE’s wrestling style.”
Once Wrestlemania season concludes, it will be business as usual for the company. However, at the tail end of every Wrestlemania season, a few main roster debuts are sprinkled in during the buildup and aftermath of WWE’s biggest show. A recent tweet from Triple H promoting an upcoming NXT tour, one name is conspicuously omitted.
— Triple H (@TripleH) March 15, 2017
Nakamura is nowhere to be found on the promotional content, leading many to believe he will make his main roster debut the night after Wrestlemania 33. A recent edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Nakamura is set to make his main roster debut “very shortly.”
But when and if he does, Nakamura does not seem to have any preference on which brand he’s placed.
“Either brand is okay,” Nakamura said. “Raw has [Samoa] Joe, Finn [Balor]. So much NXT talent that it’s comfortable for me. SmackDown has AJ Styles, Randy Orton, John Cena. I want to wrestle all of them. So either!”
His impressive resume aside, Nakamura still believes he can improve. The eccentric striker from Japan may not be on the card for Wrestlemania 33, but he’s already looking forward to next year; a time when he may be on the main roster.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) March 16, 2017
“I still think I could do more,” he said.”I’ve done a good job this year, but I still want to go to the next WrestleMania. Before WrestleMania, there’s Takeover, and I need to prove myself again. Then, I want to go up as soon as possible.”
If and when he gets that chance, Nakamura reiterated whom he wants to face on WWE’s grandest stage: and it’s a performer he’s already wrestled on Japan’s biggest stage.
“I want to face AJ Styles again,” Nakamura said.
The Wrestle Kingdom 10 match between these two set the wrestling world ablaze. Now, with both men in the system, it’s possible they’ll look to recapture that magic in the United States. For his part, Styles shares Nakamura’s dream of facing each other at a future Wrestlemania, as the “Phenomenal One” said during an appearance at the Portland Wizard World via Cageside Seats.
“Oh man. I mean, can I say what everybody wants me to say? Nakamura,” Styles said. “Yeah, I think that’s definitely going to happen in the near future and it’s only a matter of time until he makes it to WWE.”
[Featured Image by WWE]