According to The Wrestling Observer, WWE told Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro their new roles are now to make new stars. This direction effectively erases any chance of either wrestler finding residency in the main event scene.
A new look WWE Intercontinental Championship belt debuted on SmackDown last week as Sami Zayn presented it as a gift to current titlist Shinsuke Nakamura. This is the second title inside of the last two weeks to get a makeover with the Universal Championship getting a blue strap to match the motif of its new home, SmackDown.
This marks the fifth renovation of the IC title throughout its forty-year history. Cody Rhodes introduced the previous version of the belt in 2011 in an attempt to rebuild the prestige of the championship by reintroducing the classic style with an updated white strap.
The new design has a black strap and a center plate with gold and yellow trim brandishing the WWE logo. Two smaller plates are extending outward with a split illustration of the globe. For the first time, the IC title has interchange side plates allowing wrestlers to customize the belt with their name and logo.
While the old school fan in me wants to hate the new belt, I have to admit, it looks pretty cool. It’s very 2019 and speaks to the aesthetic of WWE’s current presentation. Visually, it’s the literal definition of the Intercontinental meaning travel between continents.
The classic version will always be my favorite, however, and it pains me to say this; it looked outdated compared to the other belts in circulation.
Shinsuke Nakamura joins Cody, as mentioned earlier, along with Tito Santana and The Rock as wrestlers who have ushered in a new era for Intercontinental Championship. As they say, out with the old, in with the new.
For twenty-three years, Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin from the 1996 Survivor Series was my favorite wrestling match of all-time. That all changed on January 4, 2015, at 5:30 A.M. EST as the IWGP Intercoientlal Title was defended in the co-main event of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s preeminent show, Wrestle Kingdom 9.
I’ve been a casual fan of New Japan since the mid-’90s. Through internet tape trading, I would often see the promotion’s marquee matches weeks or even months after they occurred. Five years ago, New Japan was in the midst of a resurgence that got fans excited. The company’s streaming service debuted within that time and American fans had the opportunity to watch Wrestle Kingdom, for the first time, live.
I had seen Nakamura wrestle for the first time at a 2011 New Japan show in NYC. I was thoroughly impressed with his in-ring style but I was unfamiliar with his character. Wrestle Kingdom served as my introduction to Kota Ibushi and knew absolutely nothing about him going into the match. The show was already great and I assumed that Nakamura in the second to last match against anyone had to be good.
So, why do I love this match? Well, for starters, Nakamura came to the ring dressed as a combination of Freddie Mercury and the Statue of Liberty. The attire was Nakamura’s flamboyant way of proclaiming himself the King of Strong Style. The story going in was simple. Ibushi was a newly minted heavyweight coming up from the junior heavyweight division. He assaulted Nakamura two months earlier and challenged him to a title match.
Ibushi got into Nakamura’s head early, mocking him at every turn. Nakamura missed the Bom A Ye knee and received a dropkick in the back. Ibushi hit Nakamura with some of his own signature moves including the good vibrations kick in the corner. Nakamura regained control and pumbled Ibushi with every type of knee strike imaginable. Nakamura slapped Ibush a few times and followed up with a backstabber.
Ibushi landed on his feet from a Nakamura suplex, delivered a hurricanrana and followed up with a moonsault off the top rope and to the floor on Nakamura. Back in the ring, one roundhouse kick from Ibushi appeared to knock Nakamura out cold. I jolted out of my seat at that moment because I truly believed Ibushi hit him too hard and the match was going to be called early. Nope, I was wrong. It was a testament to how well Nakamura sold it.
What I thought was the move of the match came when Ibushi jumped up for a leapfrog, Nakamura slid underneath and Ibushi connected with a double foot stomp to the chest. It looked like something out of The Matrix. The real move of the match came when Ibushi climbed to the top rope, grabbed Nakamura, who was standing on the apron and threw him with a German suplex into the ring.
At that point, I was sold. This was officially my new favorite wrestling match of all time.
The finish came when Nakamura blocked a Phoenix plex attempt from Ibushi and delivered the following onslaught of moves. Head-butts, elbows, Bom A Ye knee to the back, a backstabber, a falcon arrow, and finished it off with a vintage Bom A Ye for the 1-2-3.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi was a transformative experience for me as a wrestling fan. I went from a casual viewer to a full-on die-hard fan of anything carrying the red and yellow lion mark New Japan. Both wrestlers produced a twenty-minute masterpiece of personified action and excitement.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to properly articulate how much I love this match. I’ll always remember where I was the night Nakamura and Ibushi blew the roof off of the Tokyo Dome.
My Favorite Matches
Two weeks ago, Shinsuke Nakamura beat John Cena, clean, with one Kinshasa after Cena couldn’t get it done with two Attitude Adjustments. While their initial outing was a fun time had by all, it will ultimately end up being one of two things. Either the first step in making a new star or an attempt to revitalize a diminishing asset. Continue reading “Can Nakamura Win at SummerSlam?”
John Cena vs. Shinsuke Nakamura will happen tonight on SmackDown Live and the winner will face Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship at Summer Slam. This is an interesting turn of events because we’re getting a dream match on television as opposed to a pay-per-view event and everyone is wondering why.
Contrary to popular belief, not every first-time matchup is going to or needs to, occur at a major event. Raw and SmackDown are WWE’s two biggest revenue streams. Television content for the two programs needs to be solid in order for WWE to continue receiving rights fees from NBC Universal. Continue reading “Is Tonight’s Cena vs. Nakamura Match a Mistake?”
Sorry for the lack of wrestling blogs as of late. I’ve been so busy with my Clark Kent job that finding time to write has been next to impossible.
I never thought that I would say this about a Money in the Bank event, but the 2017 incarnation, for the most part, was a failed deposit. Every match had an anti-climactic finish, except for the WWE title showdown between Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton…And that’s not an endorsement.
Backlash was the first SmackDown Live PPV since last month’s “Superstar Shake Up.” The Allstate Arena in Chicago hosted the nine match card. The two main pieces of business were Jinder Mahal vying for the WWE Championship and the WWE in-ring debut of Shinsuke Nakamura. Despite the slower pacing of the matches, was the blue brand able to deliver?
In a long overdue move, Shinsuke Nakamura is finally on the WWE main roster. Nakamura debuted on the post-WrestleMania edition SmackDown last night following a segment involving The Miz and Maryse.
As the couple was finishing up their mockery of John Cena and Nikki Bella, a violinist was in the aisle way and Nakamura came out to a huge reaction. He did his signature poses in the ring without speaking a word to the audience tunes of “NA-KA-MURA.”
Atlee Greene and Adam Kohn give their preview and predictions for NXT TakeOver: Orlando, which emanates from the Amway Center in Orlando, FL this Saturday. The show will air live on the WWE Network at 8:00 PM EST.
There are five big matches headlined by the NXT Title match where Bobby Roode defends against Shinsuke NNakamura.
NXT Tag Team Championship will also be on the line as The Authors of Pain defend against #DIY and The Revival in a Triple Threat Elimination Match.
Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, No Way Jose & Ruby Riot team up to take on SAnitY in a blockbuster 8 person mixed tag team match
Aleister Black makes his NXT debut against Andrade “Cien” Almas and someone’s 0 has got to go when Asuka defends the NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon.
TheGreeneScreen.net: Pro Wrestling with a dash of Pop Culture!
If you’re an NXT fan, there is one question that comes up in every conversation: “when will Shinsuke Nakamura make his WWE main roster debut?” Those who appreciate the work of this ultra-charismatic and super talented superstar want to see him on either Raw or SmackDown, sooner rather than later.
Conventional wisdom says that Nakamura should be on the main roster by now. He’s a great worker who, unlike most Japanese wrestlers. is tailor made for WWE and the showmanship it requires to be one of their performers. I mean, come on…anyone who can dress as a hybrid of Michael Jackson and the Statue of Liberty, and make it work, is a performer through and through. Continue reading “Is Shinsuke Nakamura Ready for WWE’s Main Roster?”