When Shinsuke Nakamura landed in NXT, wrestling fans around the world expected great things. The King of Strong Style made his name in NJPW where he won a plethora of titles and managed to successfully get himself over in arguably one of the most competitive wrestling promotions on this earth. Many fans were hugely excited when WWE signed Shinsuke Nakamura with a hope that he could become the next big thing.
His run with the company has been, quite simply, lacking. He did manage to clinch the NXT title not once, but twice, though since making his debut for the main roster, Nakamura seems to be faced with the fact that WWE creative don’t seem to know what to do with him. With his long-term feud with AJ Styles now becoming slightly boring, we can’t help but wonder what’s next. So here are a few possible scenarios that we may find Nakamura in in the coming weeks.
BEATS AJ STYLES AT THE NEXT PPV TO BECOME WWE CHAMPION
With his win at the Royal Rumble seemingly the highlight of his run with the WWE, the fans have expected a damn sight more from Nakamura in his feud with Styles. The two men had a truly outstanding match in NJPW but it seems that the WWE style of wrestling, combined with the interference of the creative team, may have stopped this from happening.
It would be nice to see Nakamura grab the title as a reward for a feud that has really done nothing to help his momentum. Even though the matches between these two aren’t terrible, we now need to see the belt being challenged for, or defended by someone new. But with WWE unsure how to use both Nakamura and his character, this seems like the most unlikely scenario.
Likelihood: highly unlikely
A RUN WITH THE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
Another viable option is to give Nakamura a run with the secondary belt on Smackdown. Not only will this help his momentum with the fans, it will also give creative a chance to see how he carries himself as a champion. In all honesty, I think he deserves a run with this belt as he has done more than enough to earn a title shot. After his win at the Rumble, he was thrust into the main event scene, and I think a run with the secondary belt would have been a better way forward.
However, this may cause problems of its own. With Jeff Hardy currently holding the belt, the most likely scenario would be a shift in positions, giving Jeff the chance to challenge for the title, but with the blue brand sometimes lacking in credible opponents, this could be a huge issue. Also, if Nakamura does grab this belt, then the list of people who he could feud with is limited.
NAKAMURA FUMBLES DOWN THE CARD
Of all the scenarios, this one seems the most likely (aside from another I will get to shortly). With his feud with AJ now more or less at an end and the chances of his scoring the secondary belt as meagre as possible, Nakamura will just fall down the card and become a solid midcard wrestler. Although some may see this as a bad way for the King of Strong Style to go, I think it may be a distinct advantage.
Nakamura could do what John Cena did and use his midcard status to elevate the new up and coming wrestlers. Making a rookie look good against a veteran of Nakamura’s calibre is a tried and tested method, and due to the rate that the talent is pouring through the door, they will need anything they can to get a leg up.
However, what we will find may happen is that he will just wrestle in pointless feuds, and remain a draw for those fans who would never usually tune in to WWE.
NAKAMURA JOINS RAW
This is arguably the only way to save Nakamura’s WWE career. With names such as Seth Rollins on Raw, it makes sense for him to make the switch over, mixing up his opponents and bringing a new face to the Raw scene.
Seth Rollins and Nakamura could have some truly outstanding matches if he was to move over to RAW as they both have unique and exciting styles of wrestling. But if he is to stay in WWE, then this is really the only viable option they have if they refuse to give him a shot with the US belt.
NAKAMURA LEAVES WWE AND RETURNS TO NEW JAPAN
Of all the options open to him, the only one that makes sense if for Nakamura to return to his roots and head back to New Japan. As the promotion that really made his career, a return would not only be the most sensible, but it would also call an end to his time at WWE, a company which has arguably not really helped his wrestling career.
It could be argued that Nakamura really isn’t overly bothered about the lack of title runs as WWE was his last stop, however, it could also be argued that by signing Nakamura to their roster and then wondering what to do next has really done more harm than good.
At this moment in time, NJPW is killing the wrestling scene and if Nakamura moves back there, the list of possible feuds is endless.
Likelihood: highly likely
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