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Thread: The King of Strong Style - Shinsuke Nakamura

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    The King of Strong Style - Shinsuke Nakamura

    Shinsuke came in with a big reputation, stormed NXT, and then came up to the main roster with a lot of excitement. Then he got his title shot, and lost to Jinder Mahal. I can't help but wonder if they've stalled his momentum now, and you've got people like Edge asking publicly whether or not he's going to be able to make it work with the WWE in the long-term. Part of me feels like they may have missed the boat here and that it was too vulnerable a time in his exposure to the WWE audience to have him lose to a pretty precarious champion.

    What do you guys think? Do you think Shinsuke still has a chance of becoming the first Japanese WWE Champion to actually hail from Japan, or do you share my pessimism?

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    The Brain
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    A couple years ago, I was willing to list Nakamura as my favorite active wrestler, but he's fallen off massively. His NXT run started great but was a mixed bag in the long run. I still love his match with Zayn and think his bout with Aries was underrated, and the Roode title change was one of my matches of this year. The Roode rematch was rather listless though, and I thought his stuff with Samoa Joe didn't click at all, plus he didn't really get any angles to work with and people started to think he was "all entrance", or whatever. Big mistake bringing him up to feud with Ziggler I think, Dolph just isn't hot these days and there wasn't a lot of excitement for them, and certainly dropping losses to a champion people aren't interested in did him no favors. I'd love to blame the booking entirely but I think it also bears mentioning that it feels like Nak is pretty lazy when he's not motivated. This was also kind of true in New Japan and people didn't notice it so much because people tend to cherry pick stuff from Japan, but even there his peak stuff was next level, and he's rarely busted anything out near that level in his WWE run. I'll always be interested in the guy but it's sad how fast he's dropped off due to a number of factors.

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    In terms of how he has been used, do you think there's a missed trick in not making more of him as a 'legit' contender? I mean, it's gotten Brock and Samoa Joe over really strongly, and Joe doesn't even really have that kind of background. Shinsuke does have a winning MMA record, even if it was some time ago. Given the charisma that he has I'd have thought that maybe making more of this could have been a reasonable strategy - certainly a way of negating the idea of being all-entrance from the get-go.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    To be honest, I think the biggest issue is as much who he's against has it is how he's booked - I mean, his big impact in NXT was against Zayn, someone really familiar with the Japanese style. But can you say he's really had a chance against anyone else with similar experience since leaving NXT? Aries and Joe have some of that and they worked with Nak a lot better than anybody else. Roode was on possibly his best ever in ring run in NXT. But since the main roster move he's not really had that kind of opponent, and not even really had some guys with indy circuit experience to face off with that could at least have dabbled with the style. It's a tough one, but I think Nakamura works best when someone has a style that gels with his.

    Then again, Ziggler has pretty much killed any NXT star who he's had a first feud with. Breeze, Nak, and now Roode is floundering too. Developmental Kiss of Death.

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    I wonder what it is about Dolph. Guy's as athletically talented as anyone. Probably had my favourite WWE matches of 2016. But you're right, feud-wise he's produced a lot of garbage over the last few years (Miz stuff being the exception, I think). I don't know whether it's just that he's unmotivated and disgruntled a lot of the time, whether the audience don't really know what they want from him and that makes it difficult to construct a programme, or what. But it's definitely curious.

    If it is a question of needing the style to click, I presume that means that you think his ceiling will be a lot lower in the WWE than it might be otherwise, and that'll he probably only be around for another 1-2 years tops before heading back to Japan?

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    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    I think the WWE want Dolph Ziggler to be a bigger deal than he is. They want to treat a feud with him like they would have one against Shawn Michaels back in the 00s - the launching pad for a rookie to become a star. Unfortunately while Ziggler has all the in ring tools he doesn't have the history of being a huge deal, former World Champ, etc to give him any kind of kudos to pass on to the new star.

    Shows how the WWE's misteps in the early 2010s have really come back to bite them now they want to elevate new stars but still never elevated the generation before them so the new stars end up against someone the audience just isn't that into any more.

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    The Underage Pessimist Subho's Avatar
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    Think with Dolph Ziggler I've found is literally nobody expects him to win. No matter where you are, which website you see, or what social media you're going to; there's hardly anyone out there who could say with full confidence that Dolph has a chance to win. It happened with Corbin, with Nak, and now with Roode. As PT mentions, the only exception was the Miz feud, and only after Ziggler's career was put on the line. Still, there were a lot of folks who believed Dolph was actually leaving at that time.

    There have been so many rumors that Dolph is about to leave in the past few years, of him having heat backstage, et al, that there is legitimately no heat on him as a heel. And when someone like Roode joins the main roster, and is then paired with Dolph, there is a sense of inevitability that the newcomer is going to win, rather than intrigue that it could be an even feud.

    Dolph needs to move out of this role, but I wonder what he could possibly achieve in modern day WWE.


    As for Nak, I think his next feud should be versus a Heel Orton. Helps both.

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    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    They should, 100%, have pulled the trigger on Dolph after the 2014 Survivor Series. It was ridiculous to put him in the position where he overcame not just 3 vs 1 odds in the match but like 6 vs 1 odds when you added Mercury, Noble, and Triple H to the mix. It took them all of two months to kill any of that fire in the Rumble and make it all about Cena. I'm still pissed about it and I don't even care for Dolph that much.

    As for Nak - yeah, I think he has a certain ceiling in WWE, Prime. It's probably a bit higher than it might look like I was putting it at, but NXT exposed as many of his flaws as the main roster has. There's an Omega-like thing with him, sometimes he just goes through the motions as much as anything and unless he's hugely motivated - and a lot of that is probably opponent based - he auto-pilots his way through things.

    That's not to say he won't succeed in WWE, or will head back to Japan in the next couple of years necessarily - just that his style is so abstract, from the entrance and histrionics which are a step away from what the fans are used to to in the ring where his movements and moveset is a step away from what other wrestlers are used to, that I'm not sure there will come a day where we get 100% Nakamura again.

    Obviously, there are a handful of talents there the guy can work damn well with - I'd love to see Nakamura vs Balor and Nakamura vs Styles - and I'm sure there are other guys who you wouldn't expect to click with him that will - Nakamura vs Orton feels like it should be killer. I think Owens should work well with him, despite seemingly being complete stylistic opposites.

    Weirdly enough, I think Nakamura could probably best work with the guys on the 205 Live roster.

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    Two problems with the Orton stuff in the last two posts for me.

    1) Heel Orton is clearly heading back to the top of the card. No point turning Orton if you're not making him main event at this stage in the game. That means if you get him in the first 2-3 feuds, he's beating Shinsuke. Exact opposite of what Shinsuke needs. More than anything, Nakamura needs a string of wins if he is going to be taken seriously.

    2) Oli, if the problem is motivation, are we sure Randy Orton is really the guy to pair him with? I know I wouldn't be excited about working with Orton - and let's be honest, he does seem to have had plenty of motivation issues himself. Seems like the sort of thing that if they clicked could be very strong, but is just as likely to stink out the place with them both half-arsing it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    Yeah, I think you're right in some respects, and Orton is similar to Nakamura in that he one hundred percent has all the tools to be a serious player but too often misses the mark or half arses it. I don't know where the fire came from, but his Christian feud was so good in the ring that if he could get back to that I think he'd be ace with Nakamura.

    Maybe both guys just need a Heyman in Gorilla to pump them up before they go out.

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    The Brain
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    God, I would honestly hate to see a full on Orton/Nakamura feud. Battle of the unmotivated!

    I think Nakamura could stylistically fit with anyone in the ring, to be honest. If he wanted to. I just think he's a temperamental guy and the nonstop WWE schedule doesn't push him to turn out great matches on a regular basis.

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    I get that. In fact, I'm not sure I'd fully trust someone who doesn't feel like that, to be honest. If you're not being sensible and building to specific instances where it's worth putting more on the line, then you've probably got a sanity issue of some sort.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    Could it be that he's just getting burnt out by being on the road so much? I doubt he's ever really worked a schedule as hectic as WWEs, possibly even NXTs, in terms of travel and in ring work. NJPW stuff is so protected when you're not in a singles match on a tour that he barely had to do stuff on, say, a G1 tour outside of his singles bouts and then just hitting his marks in a tag match.

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    Nak was honestly the king of phoning it in for the millions or random tag/six man/eight man matches New Japan tends to run outside of big matches, so yeah it could 100% be burn out being expected to go out and kill it every night. Nak actually reminds me a lot of Randy Savage in some ways, who tended to have the exact same match over and over and over. This worked great in an era when big stars weren't expected to be on TV nearly as much. Honestly I think if Savage was in the modern era, he wouldn't be nearly as beloved, which sucks because he'd still be just as good when the right big match/story came his way. I think at this point Nak is just waiting for that right match/story to come his way. I just hope WWE doesn't wait too long to give it to him (and they might have already...).

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    I still think AJ vs. Nak at Mania is a money match and something they should do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mizfan View Post
    Nak was honestly the king of phoning it in for the millions or random tag/six man/eight man matches New Japan tends to run outside of big matches, so yeah it could 100% be burn out being expected to go out and kill it every night. Nak actually reminds me a lot of Randy Savage in some ways, who tended to have the exact same match over and over and over. This worked great in an era when big stars weren't expected to be on TV nearly as much. Honestly I think if Savage was in the modern era, he wouldn't be nearly as beloved, which sucks because he'd still be just as good when the right big match/story came his way. I think at this point Nak is just waiting for that right match/story to come his way. I just hope WWE doesn't wait too long to give it to him (and they might have already...).
    I could see Savage as a Ziggler-type career now which really depresses me.

  17. #17
    The Brain
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    It's entirely possible, sadly.

    AJ/Nak is a definite draw for hardcore fans, but I wonder if it still has any interest for casuals with neither guy being positioned that well? They might as well do it anyway though, as it might revitalize Nak and it gives AJ something productive to do.

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    Plenty of time to reposition them for it, and could steal the show.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mizfan View Post
    It's entirely possible, sadly.

    AJ/Nak is a definite draw for hardcore fans, but I wonder if it still has any interest for casuals with neither guy being positioned that well? They might as well do it anyway though, as it might revitalize Nak and it gives AJ something productive to do.
    I'd say Nak needs more of a rebuild i guess. AJ is floating but he still gets constant chants and crowd is fully behind him.. So they could do a tease at the Rumble and see how they react.

  20. #20
    The Brain
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    Oh definitely, Nak needs more help than AJ. The fact that he needs help at all is kind of crazy to me, but here we are.

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    They treat Nakamura like just another guy, and that's a problem especially on Weekly Tv. He should have been presented like a killer on tv and thus make his PPV matches more special kinda like Brock.

    Losing to Mahal does no one any favors either.

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    The Brain
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    Yeah, playing even with Ziggler and then losing to Jinder was a major booking blow, even if he did get a win over Cena in the process.

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    not to mention having the heel like Mahal make fun of Nak's expressions... like that is so Vince and while some fans might call that shit out, others were probably laughing their ass off... Don't forget the demo WWE catches.

  24. #24
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    Oh, for sure. There's a reason they keep going back to the evil foreigner trope, though thankfully it's not nearly as successful today as in previous years.

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    Yeah, those segments were fucking diabolical. There may have been some people laughing at home but you could see and even feel how uncomfortable the live crowd were with it. It's not like there was even much in the way of heat for it, it was just.... silent. In definite poor taste.

    Interesting that he's got the 'captain's gig' alongside Shane for Survivor Series though. Could be the start of trying to build him back up?

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    I guess but Team Smackdown is defintely losing via Kevin and Sami shenagians so how good can Nak really look in a screnario like that. Not sure what you do after with him either.

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    I'd have thought that he's still so new to Smackdown that being captain is a major marker to the fans. Can't be an accident. But sure, it does depend on what follows, especially if they do drop the match to RAW, as expected.

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    Just reading some comments on Hunter which seem to suggest he is a very, very big admirer of Nakamura. You've got to think that having that kind of support is going to mean quite a lot for him going into 2018 and maybe, just maybe, they do have some fairly big plans for him too. Hard to imagine Hunter going on the record in that way without their being a plan to keep Shinsuke in a very bright spotlight.



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    They've sure got a funny way of showing it... Sure, he's been in some high profile spots, but as often as not he's there to lose, and he hasn't had anything resembling an engaging storyline at all since being called up.

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    Hard to judge based off that, though, given that engaging is such a value judgement. They could think they're giving him fantastic stuff to work with, and they're just wrong. It's basically back to our Ron Simmons/Bill Watts discussion again!

    Only just came across this but the Metro newspaper here in the UK (not exactly the most reliable source, so take it for what it's worth) were reporting that Nakamura and Styles had hinted at a show in Italy that they'd be going at it at Wrestlemania, possibly for the title. I wouldn't put any stock in it at all, and this could still be a total work, but a video of Styles offering Shinsuke the match was picked up and retweeted by WWE's twitter account, which I think makes it just that little bit more intriguing.



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  31. #31
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    Hopefully that doesn't end up being counterproductive. Even though it's been talked about by fans for over a year now, I could see WWE being annoyed at these guys pushing publicly for the match (whether they actually are or not).

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    Yeah, maybe. I imagine if that's the case whoever tweeted it out will have been eating some shit since you'd have to think!



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    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    So Nakamura has been declared for the rumble, the early predictions have him as one of the favourites.

    That's great and all but I want to know how they handle his entrance when his number comes up, surely they can't do the whole thing.

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    He can do the pre stuff before the ring and still have about 30 seconds to spare. Its not a big stadium where he has long way to go.

    Or they make him first or Second entrant.

    Or they have him get attacked.

    Lot of options really.

  35. #35
    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    As soon as he gets to the ring the next entrant hits. That would be worth a laugh.

    What do you all think his chances are? They are really dangling the AJ v Nakamura possibility in front of us aren't they.

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    I think its a good chance but i'm hesitant to say he's the favorite. I need to see more of the tv for next month and see how that's gonna shake out. I'm convinced a SD guy is winning the Rumble and he's probably the best option to do so.

  37. #37
    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    He has the finisher to do it. Imagine a kinchasa to someone against the ropes to win the Rumble. That would make any Rumble great.

  38. #38
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    I just can't see it right now. I don't know why, but something about it doesn't sit right with me - Shinsuke Nakamura, Royal Rumble 2018 winner.

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    Well its not gonna be Orton... They wouldn't be that dumb again and I can't see Zayn or owens winning... So its either Roode or Nakamura.

  40. #40
    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    I would still think that Nakamura is the most likely from Smackdown except for one dude I just remembered, that 'free agent' #BigMatchJohnCena if WWE want to give him that record breaking title reign then who better to do it against than the best wrestler in the world who he has had a number of very well received matches with and at Wrestlemania. I guess at least it would mean AJ gets a main event slot.

    Changing tact a little I have heard it said that people think Nakamura has had his character changes since working in NXT. I'm interested to know what you think of this though because other than the change from The King of Strong Style to The Artist I can't see a massive difference.
    Last edited by SirSam; 12-31-2017 at 04:30 PM.

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