2016 has kicked off with one big debut and another equally big announcement. This past Sunday night at the Royal Rumble, social media and wrestling fans everywhere were blown away with the debut of “The Phenomenal One” A.J. Styles made his long awaited WWE debut in the Royal Rumble match.
Further breaking of the internet and blowing of minds happened during this week’s NXT show when it was announced that Shinsuke Nakamura, one of the stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling and the “King Of Strong Style” will be making his NXT debut at NXT Takeover: Dallas.
Both are fantastic talents and here’s a deeper look as they begin their WWE careers.
‘The King Of Strong Style’ Shinsuke Nakamura
Professional Debut: 2002
Notable Accomplishments: 3 Time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, 5 Time IWGP Intercontinental Champion, IWGP Tag Team Champion
Signature Moves: Bomaye Knee, Flying Cross Arm Breaker, Strong Style Lariat
Since his professional debut in 2002, Nakamura has been a mainstay in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Quickly gaining adulation from the fans and fellow competitors, he earned the nickname ‘Super Rookie’ and at 23 would be the youngest wrestler to date to win the heavyweight title in Japan. Bringing a unique personality and innovative offense, Nakamura will be joining a dynamic NXT roster that has nothing but upside. His matches with Hiroshi Tanahashi and A.J. Styles are recommended viewing, especially his Wrestle Kingdom 10 match against Styles this past January. Any potential NXT matchups can be looked at as ‘dream matches’ for wrestling fans.
‘The Phenomenal One’ A.J. Styles
Professional debut: 1998
Notable Accomplishments: 3 Time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, 4 Time NWA World Tag Team Champion, 6 Time TNA X Division Champion, 2 Time IWGP Heavyweight Champion
Signature Moves: Styles Clash, Pele Kick, Spiral Tap
18 years as a professional wrestler, Styles, until recently, was regarded as the best performer who had never been in the WWE. He spent 15 years as one of the franchise talents in TNA/Impact Wrestling, winning every title in the company and becoming it’s first Grand Slam Champion. Unhappy with the direction that TNA was headed in, his surprise departure in 2013 would shake up the professional wrestling world as he would make his way through Ring Of Honor, CHIKARA, and AAA. A.J. would make his debut with NJPW in 2014 as a member of the Bullet Club, New Japan’s biggest ‘bad guy’ stable. He would soon win the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, and is one of six foreign-born wrestlers to claim that title. His arrival in WWE brings the possibility of any number of matchups that will make fans extremely happy, provided A.J. can stay healthy (has had some ankle and back issues in the past), and the WWE makes full use of his potential.