Predicting Shinsuke Nakamura’s Potential WWE Main Roster Debut


Many believe Shinsuke Nakamura has the potential to be a huge star in WWE, so when are we going to see him debut on the main roster?

Every January 4th, New Japan Pro Wrestling holds their annual Wrestle Kingdom event, akin to WWE’s WrestleMania. This year the second-to-last match was AJ Styles challenging Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental championship.

After 13 years with the company, it would be Nakamura’s final Tokyo Dome show. Two days after defeating Styles, Nakamura told the Japanese media that he had signed with the WWE. Now many are wondering if a Styles vs. Nakamura rematch could one day take place at WrestleMania.

While Styles went directly to the WWE main roster (an unannounced entrant in the Royal Rumble), Nakamura wouldn’t wrestle his first match with NXT until April.

Nakamura’s first match was at NXT Takeover: Dallas, the night before WrestleMania 32. That night he wrestled a very well-received match against Sami Zayn. In all, The King of Strong Style has wrestled 11 matches on NXT programming (not including house shows), and won all 11 matches. That right there lets you know WWE (or at least Triple H) feels Nakamura is someone with star potential.

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After defeating Zayn, his next big match was Takeover: the End, when he defeated Austin Aries. Then at an NXT TV taping he defeated Finn Balor in what was Balor’s last match before debuting on Raw. Finally, Nakamura defeated Samoa Joe for the NXT championship at Takeover: Brooklyn II.

Following the title win, Nakamura was attacked and injured by Samoa Joe. This led some to speculate the injury angle would allow him to be written off NXT and allow for his main roster call-up. On this week’s episode of NXT, however, Nakamura returned and continued his feud with Joe.

Jim Ross, who has provided commentary for some of Nakamura’s NJPW matches, has been adamant that he is a giant star waiting to be unleashed.

Ross is rarely incorrect about these things.

So if Nakamura has the potential to one day be a major player in the WWE, when are we going to see the 36-year old on the main roster?

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The two most common times for a new wrestler to debut on the main roster are either the Royal Rumble or the night after WrestleMania. This year the brand-extension threw a loop into those plans however.

Nakamura looks set to feud with Samoa Joe throughout the remainder of 2016. NXT seems to be building to a Joe vs. Nakamura rematch at NXT Takeover: Toronto on November 19th. Then In December, NXT is set to go on tour in Australia and New Zealand, with Nakamura being advertised on the shows.

Nakamura could potentially make his debut on the main roster in the Royal Rumble, which would allow him to participate at WrestleMania 33. Failing that however, Nakamura could be a surprise on the Raw-after-WrestleMania show next year.

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It would seem unlikely that Nakamura’s main roster debut would be pushed back any farther than April 2017, which would mark his one-year anniversary in NXT. With that being said however, Finn Balor wrestled in NXT for two full years before debuting on Raw.