The Miz and Maryse were up to another one of their amazing John Cena and Nikki Bella trolling episodes and then suddenly, the lights went out and a man began playing the opening violin riffs of the greatest wrestling theme song in existence. The Orlando crowd completely lost their mind as the one and only Shinsuke Nakamura made his main roster WWE debut. Nakamura entered to the sound of 15,000 people singing along to his song just as they had three nights ago at NXT Takeover. Nakamura chants rang out as the King of Strong Style soaked in the moment.
If you didn't know Shinsuke Nakamura before tonight, you are in for a treat. is a rock star. One look at his entrance and you'll get it. He's mix of Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury and Dave Grohl -- if any of those guys were from Japan. In the ring, he's known as The King Of Strong Style for a reason. Hailing from New Japan Pro Wrestling, Nakamura adapted Antonio Inoki's "strong style" approach of wrestling as a combat sport. Strong style incorporates kicks and strikes from martial arts disciplines in a manner that looks brutal and very effective. Nakamura's knee strikes are legendary and it won't take you long to fall in love with them.
His only deficiency (if you can call it that) is on the mic, but it's not for a lack of charisma. Shinsuke simply can't speak English very well yet. But he doesn't need to. He can emote more with a gesture than most on the roster can do with a 15 minute promo. Smackdown feels like the absolute perfect fit for Nakamura as the two hour format allows the show to focus more on the in-ring product than the lengthy promos designed to eat up TV time.
Nakamura came to the WWE after having dominated in New Japan Pro Wrestling over 14 years and has become a cult favorite since joining NXT in 2016. In his first bout in WWE last April at the Pre-WrestleMania NXT Takeover, Nakamura had one of the top 5 matches of the year with Sami Zayn, a wrestler he barely had a chance to meet days before. Since that day, he's won the NXT Championship two times and competed in memorable feuds with Finn Balor, Samoa Joe and current champion, Bobby Roode.
Nakamura's debut was easily the most heavily anticipated NXT call-up in WWE history.