International Spotlight: Shinsuke Nakamura

Christi LottCorrespondent IJuly 2, 2009

Thank you for reading and enjoying my article on El Zorro. This week, we move to the Far East and shine a much deserved light on New Japan star and former two-time IWGP Champion Shinsuke Nakamura.

I've only been watching Japanese wrestling for a short time, and in that time, I've become more excited and enthused by it than in pretty much anything the WWE and TNA have thrown at me.

When you see good wrestling, real wrestling, you know it; and watching anything with Nakamura in it will always be a great experience.

I won't dwell too much into his biography other than to say this guy is a real-deal wrestler.

Once known as the "Super Rookie," Nakamura was an amateur wrestler while in college, and parlayed that into a brief MMA career. He took his experience from that into NJPW and debuted in 2002.

With an impressive moveset, which highlighted his strength, agility and technical know-how, he became a quick fan favorite and moved on to becoming the youngest IWGP Heavyweight champion at just 23.

What I love about Nakamura is that he can destroy and defeat his opponent in so many different ways, including my personal favorite, a beautiful rolling armbar submission. You get a vibe that he almost wants to humiliate his opponent, that most of the time he feels the person is beneath him.

The great thing about him and all of wrestling in Japan is they don't need backstage or in-ring promos to tell you what's going on, or to keep you entertained. These guys say everything that needs to be said in the ring.

My absolute favorite match of his is the match I wrote about in a previous article, in which he took on his biggest rival Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Title.

The way he stared holes into Tanahashi even before the match started let me know that this was going to be a great match.

Shinsuke was battling with an injured shoulder, constantly and greatly targeted by Tanahashi.

Nakamura busted out nearly every submission and power move in his arsenal to take Hiroshi out, ultimately winning by dropping Tanahashi in two consecutive Samoan Drivers, the first off the top rope. It's still one of the greatest spots I've ever seen.

Since then he's put on high quality matches with Kurt Angle, stable mate Hirooki Goto, and the legendary Keiji Mutoh (aka The Great Muta) just to name a few, as well as continuing to try to constantly one up Tanahashi.

Nakamura, at this moment, is in a bit of a CM Punk tweener role. He's still a major fan favorite, but he's so heelish with his moveset, especially his stiff kicks and closed-fist punches that you scratch your head and wonder if you'd boo him or not.

What I absolutely and truly enjoy about him is that he is the definitely, hands down, a real-deal wrestler. He is so naturally good that I am always in amazement in every move he does, even the simplest of moves.

I thank my friend for exposing me to this guy and the rest of Japanese wrestling at least once a week, and I hope you all go and check him out.


Next week's International Spotlight will shine on Nakamura's biggest rival and the current IWGP Heavyweight champion Hiroshi Tanahashi. Stay tuned!