Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 3: Winner, Reaction from NXT Title Match

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2016

Photo credit: WWE.com

In the third meeting between Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe, Nakamura defeated Joe to become a two-time NXT champion Saturday at an NXT live event in Osaka, Japan. 

Following his victory, Nakamura tweeted a photo of himself celebrating becoming the second two-time NXT champion in the history of the brand:

Shinsuke Nakamura @ShinsukeN

Finished #nxtosaka #nxt大阪 thank you!! ありがとう! https://t.co/hPmfOywrVR

Triple H, the mastermind behind NXT, also congratulated Nakamura:

Triple H @TripleH

Every match presents an opportunity. Never underestimate yourself...or your opponent. Congrats @ShinsukeN... #AndNew #NXTOsaka @WWENXT https://t.co/F4bUn0xvoc

As seen in the following video courtesy of the WWE, winning the title meant even more to Nakamura the second time around, since he did it in his home country:


EXCLUSIVE: Winning back the #NXTChampionship at #NXTOsaka was especially meaningful for your NEW #NXTChampion @ShinsukeN... #WWENXT https://t.co/gGSIJOn05t

Saturday's bout was the latest chapter in a long and personal feud between Joe and Nakamura dating back to the build toward NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II. It was at that event that the King of Strong Style defeated Joe to become NXT champion for the first time.

From that point forward, the Samoan Submission Specialist was obsessed with regaining the title and becoming the first two-time NXT champ.

He injured Nakamura in a brutal attack and decimated much of NXT's roster in an attempt to get NXT general manager William Regal to hand him the belt, but Nakamura returned in time for a rematch at NXT TakeOver: Toronto.

Most expected the undefeated Nakamura to prevail, but thanks to a low blow, the use of the steel steps and an emphatic Muscle Buster, Joe became the first Superstar to beat Nakamura in NXT and won back the NXT Championship in the process.

That result set the stage for a rematch, and it was announced that it would take place in Osaka, Japan, in front of Nakamura's countrymen rather than waiting for the next TakeOver in January.

It was a somewhat surprising decision due to the untelevised nature of the event, although it stands to reason that the replay could air on a future episode of NXT programming on the WWE Network.

What the bout did accomplish, though, was increased interest in the show and a great atmosphere, with the live crowd behind Nakamura.

Japan was the site of an NXT title change in 2015 when Finn Balor defeated Kevin Owens in Tokyo at the Beast in the East special.

Nakamura looked to follow in Balor's footsteps, but the vicious and determined Samoa Joe was unwilling to go down without a fight.

As was the case with their previous two encounters, Nakamura and Joe worked a hard-hitting, stiff bout that resulted in both Superstars dishing out plenty of punishment.

Although they each had their opportunities, Nakamura was victorious, which suggests their rivalry may not be over quite yet. At the same time, it raises questions about whether Joe's time in NXT is approaching its conclusion.

With WrestleMania season on the horizon, Joe would be an asset on the main roster, and it is fair to wonder if Saturday's bout signaled the beginning of the end with regard to his successful NXT run.

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