Is Shinsuke Nakamura leaving WWE once his contract expires? It’s a rather wild WWE rumor for someone who made his WWE main roster debut so recently. But for many, the former New Japan Pro Wrestling star hasn’t lived up to his lofty expectations, and there may be a chance he’s simply counting the days before he’s free to return to the company where he first made his name in the wrestling world.
Although many feel things haven’t been going too great for the 37-year-old “King of Strong Style” from a creative standpoint, the coming weeks should be quite interesting for Nakamura and his fans. Next Tuesday’s number one contender match between John Cena and Shinsuke Nakamura has left WWE fans debating on whether Cena should face Jinder Mahal for a chance at a record-breaking 17th world championship, or if Shinsuke should get his big moment instead at SummerSlam. According to Bleacher Report, both men have a lot to gain by winning that match, with Nakamura, in particular, needing a “renewed sense of motivation” on the main roster after dominating NXT previously.
Indeed, Cena vs. Nakamura on next Tuesday’s SmackDown Live has the feel of a “dream match.” But the stakes are high for Shinsuke, whose match against Baron Corbin at the Battleground pay-per-view left a lot to be desired for many fans. And it was that match that reminded Killing the Town with Storm and Cyrus hosts Lance Storm and Paul Lazenby wondering if Shinsuke Nakamura wants to leave WWE as soon as he possibly could, according to WrestlingNews.co.
Talking about Nakamura vs. Corbin at Battleground, Lazenby speculated that Shinsuke might be taking it easy in the ring, as he’s achieved his goal of competing in the WWE and may be looking forward to an eventual return to NJPW.
“As for Nakamura, I’m starting to think that perhaps he has already scratched ‘wrestle for WWE’ off his bucket list and now he’s putting in time, cashing checks, and already planning his return to New Japan.”
Similarly, former WCW, ECW, and WWE wrestler Lance Storm opined that Shinsuke Nakamura, while not necessarily leaving WWE, may be mailing it in, thanks to his success in NXT using a different, less-physical wrestling style from what he was accustomed to in New Japan.
“He’s been biding his time in NXT and he’s been working at that speed now for a while that I’m curious if he’s ever gonna come out of it barring perhaps a match with AJ (Styles).”
The WWE rumor mill has long been talking about the possibility of an AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura match at WrestleMania, but since that didn’t take place earlier this year, legendary announcer Jim Ross is hoping to see Styles and Nakamura face off next year at WrestleMania 34, according to PWMania. Both men, after all, were booked as rivals during their NJPW days and are similarly loved among wrestling fans as two of the most talented individuals in the ring.
In addition to the above suggestions that Nakamura himself may be taking it too easy on WWE’s main roster, the Inquisitr wrote yesterday that WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is critical of Nakamura’s booking, as he hinted that WWE officials might be holding him back from reaching his full potential.
While WrestlingNews.co admitted that Lazenby and Storm might be right when they say that there’s “no incentive to kick it up a notch” for Shinsuke Nakamura, the publication opined that Nakamura’s age, as well as the realization that he doesn’t have to be so intense in the ring as he was in NJPW, may be the reason why he appears to be on “cruise control.” A potential WrestleMania match against AJ Styles may give Shinsuke some incentive to ramp it up in the ring, but with next week’s encounter against Cena billed as a “dream match,” there’s a good chance Nakamura may end up proving the skeptics wrong.
Do you think Shinsuke Nakamura should leave WWE for NJPW once his contract finishes? Or should fans be more patient, as it hasn’t been long anyway since Nakamura was called up from NXT to the main roster?
[Featured Image by WWE]