Shinsuke Nakamura is one of the most charismatic superstars in WWE.
Nakamura, who signed with the company in January of 2016, has carried the NXT flag as a former champion and top babyface. Yet many believe he should be competing on the main roster, rather than in WWE’s developmental brand.
Nakamura has long been rumored to be called up to either Raw or SmackDown Live since his debut last April. The Japanese superstar told the Orlando Sentinel that his goal is to make it to WWE’s main roster and eventually compete at WrestleMania.
“I hope. I hope. I want to go to the next [level],” Nakamura said finally. “If I can wrestle at WrestleMania, that’s going to be awesome. I… really… want… WrestleMania.”
Speculation continued to grow this week when Nakamura, NXT’s top competitor and an international sensation, was excluded from the brand’s promotional poster for its upcoming United Kingdom tour in June.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Nakamura will reportedly be debuting on the main roster “very shortly.”
Nakamura’s call-up has never been a matter of “if,” but rather “when.” His natural charisma and in-ring work already exceeds the expectations of a main roster competitor. But perhaps the language barrier and necessary adaption to WWE’s production style has kept him in NXT for the time being.
WWE COO and NXT founder Triple H spoke about Nakamura’s potential call-up during a conference call in January.
“With us, there’s a lot of different components to that,” Triple H said. “We’re not like anything else. We’re not just a TV show. We’re an athletic event but there’s a massive TV component. That’s what WWE does that, really, kind of no one else does. We’re a TV product. If you talk to any of the talent, you talk to Finn Balor, I just had this conversation with AJ Styles a few weeks ago, the curve of coming in is not to be believed. When you’re talking about a guy that comes in from another country with a different style, with a language barrier, with no real — and this is hard for people when I say it I think sometimes to accept — no real knowledge of television production. He was a wrestler and a performer that it was irrelevant to him that there were cameras shooting him. That’s not how it works for us. We are a television show and it’s a completely different thing. That’s a philosophical difference. Working with those talent to get to where they need to be to work television and to be able to succeed on that level is a different thing altogether.”
Still, it’s almost ludicrous for someone as qualified as Nakamura to be dwindling in developmental instead of on Raw or SmackDown Live. However, the brand has relied heavily on the two-time NXT Champion as its top babyface, which may have been the ultimate reason why his call-up has been delayed.
“I already have a lot of experience,” Nakamura said. “I’m not somebody green in developmental, so NXT is something interesting where the experienced people and the young people mix. We can teach them, and they can learn from us. [Teaching them] is always good stimulation for me.”
Still, there are better ways to use the former NJPW star. He would have been a perfect WrestleMania opponent for AJ Styles, like many have pointed out recently. The two worked an excellent match at WrestleKingdom 10 prior to signing with WWE and would likely repeat history.
There is also a desperate need for more main event babyfaces on both shows. With Seth Rollins injured, Roman Reigns is seemingly the only full-time top babyface left after WrestleMania, excluding Finn Balor’s inevitable return. SmackDown Live will also take a hit once John Cena takes a hiatus to film Daddy’s Home 2 and other Hollywood ventures.
As noted, Nakamura is likely to be on the main roster very soon and should be a major part of next year’s WrestleMania card.
[Featured Image by WWE]