WWE has a deep and expansive roster, featuring some of the top men and women from across the world of professional wrestling. Still, there are some individuals that stand out among the crew. One such person is Shinsuke Nakamura. He’s one that WWE should not have any trouble presenting as a top star. Unfortunately, that’s far from the truth as fans consistently wonder exactly what the biggest promotion in wrestling is doing with someone of Nakamura’s caliber.
On Sunday, some interesting news broke for Nakamura fans. Nakamura will take part in a huge match to kick off 2023, but that match isn’t in WWE. Instead, he will face off against The Great Muta for Pro Wrestling NOAH’s New Year 2023 show on January 1 at Budokan Hall.
This was a big announcement because it’s one of the rare times that WWE partners with outside organizations, especially involving a name as big as Nakamura’s. However, when looking at how he’s currently used in the WWE, it’s clear they could allow this to happen because he’s not involved in any key ways within their own shows.
Nakamura’s October has included two televised matches, one on NXT and the other on SmackDown. In both instances, he was used as a surprise opponent, once against Channing Lorenzo and the other as a surprise teammate for Hit Row. Neither really offered much explanation, but at least it was a chance to get him on television. Before this, Nakamura’s last match on television was the August 26 edition of SmackDown where he defeated Baron Corbin. That type of run would not be impressive for anyone on the WWE roster, but it’s even more concerning with someone of Nakamura’s level.
This is the same man that is a three-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, a five-time IWGP Intercontinental Champion, a two-time NXT Champion, and has won a Royal Rumble. For a promotion that is all about superstars and big moments, Nakamura’s six-year run with the company certainly is lacking the type that many hoped to see by this time.
Hopefully, this changes sooner rather than later. With Triple H in charge, there have been changes that fans appreciate, but there’s still space for more improvement. One such would be more utilization across the roster and Nakamura should be someone at the top of the list getting that time. Imagine leveraging him in a title feud against Seth Rollins. Or building Nakamura up as a threat to Roman Reigns. Any of these are possible for the company that has shown a willingness to invest in some individuals that many across the industry would deem a “lesser” talent.
Shinsuke Nakamura is a star on the WWE roster and all professional wrestling. At 42 years old, his time may be dwindling. It’s time for WWE to give him the real run that fans have wanted to see. If anything, his history has shown that he can thrive when the spotlight shines the brightest.