Japanese wrestler Shinsuke Nakamura is not a name to disregard in the world of wrestling. Although he has recorded great exploits in the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), it is also important to note that the professional wrestler was also a Mixed Martial artist. Nakamura’s fighting prowess has been seen in the popular New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW). Under the NJPW, he won IWGP Heavyweight Champion three times and also garnered other titles on the platform.
Nakamura has worked as a wrestler for close to two decades. In the early years of his career, he participated in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), and it is likely that the skills he learned as an MMA fighter contributed to the solid foundation in which his successful career as a wrestler has been built.
Shinsuke Nakamura Holds the Record Of Youngest IWGP Heavyweight Champion
Shinsuke Nakamura was aware that he wanted to have a career in wrestling long before he was an adult and by the time he was in his early twenties he found his way to a ring. In March of 2002, Nakamura the Kyoto born wrestler joined the New Japan Pro-Wrestling company. He showed a lot of promise as his career kicked off, which resulted in him getting the nickname, Super Rookie.
His fighting style was a mixed bag of strength, technical skill, and speed all of which endeared him to the wrestling community in Japan. Nine months after joining NJPW, Nakamura made his Mixed Martial Arts debut against Daniel Gracie where he lost the fight. When his second fight came in 2003, he won by putting his opponent Jan Nortje in a guillotine choke. His next MMA fight was against Shane Eitner whom he cut down to size.
On 9, December 2003, he won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship after defeating Hiroyoshi Tenzan. His victory was a record-setting one as he became the youngest person to ever win this title. A feat he achieved at the age of twenty-three.
Shinsuke Nakamura’s final MMA fight took place in May 2004. He went against Alexey Ignashov. Nakamura won the fight by placing Ignashov in a forearm choke. Afterward, he went on a short break for further training.
Nakamura Took A Little Break To Build His Strength
In fighting sports, it is not uncommon for fighters to go on breaks from the company they are signed to. For Shinsuke Nakamura, his first break or excursion as it is also called happened in March 2006. Four years after the start of his career. His plan was to visit countries in South America and Russia.
He was also supposed to train and build muscle mass at the gym of Brock Lesnar, the person who was holding the IWGP title as at then. But the president of NJWP, Simon Loki, had plans to loan Nakamura to the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Leaving in March 2006, he returned in September as Brock Lesner left the IGWP title.
His Highlights In IGWP
Shinsuke Nakamura spent fourteen years at New Japan Pro-Wrestling. In the history of modern wrestling in Japan, Nakamura is one of the more prolific fighters that the wrestling scene in Japan has seen.
In wrestling, there are two major roles that wrestlers in a company take. A wrestler can either be a good guy or bad guy in his fights. Shinsuke Nakamura was willing to take on the role of a villain, which he did in 2009. Playing a villain is not always a favorable thing and can negatively impact a wrestler’s career as the fans can turn on the wrestler playing the villain.
This was not the case for Shinsuke Nakamura, who remained a fan favorite. As a fighter in NJPW, Shinsuke Nakamura won the IWGP heavyweight championship three times, the IWGP Intercontinental championship five times, the New Japan cup once and many other titles.
His Transition Into The American Wrestling Scene And His Achievements On The Platform
On the 6th of January, 2016 Shinsuke Nakamura mentioned in an interview that his time at NJPW was over and he was moving over to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). His debut in the WWE happened on the 1st of April, in a fight against Sami Zayn who he defeated. The prolific way of playing that Nakamura had employed at NJWP was what he maintained as a fighter in WWE.
He won his first WWE championship title at the NXT Takeover which took place on the 20th of August. For this title he had to defeat Samoa Joe which he did, However, in the fight to defend his title, Nakamura lost to Samoa Joe. Winning NXT titles was not satisfactory for Shinsuke Nakamura and he decided to start competing in other programs that the WWE was offering.
SmackDown Live and WrestleMania 33 were his choices of fights.
He did this for a year before going on to the WWE United States Championship games. Nakamura has not spent as much time in the WWE as he did in the NJWP and is yet to amass as many titles as he did in his home country. But he has won titles in the WWE that are proof of how much he puts into the work he does as a professional wrestler.
The NXT championship title and the WWE United States Championship title has been won by him twice while he has only won the WWE Intercontinental Championship and WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship once.
Shinsuke Nakamura Is Married To His Long Time Girlfriend
Wrestlers are not prone to having a lot of publicity outside of their profession and most of the information about them is on the work they do in the sport. This is something that applies to a lot of wrestlers including Shinsuke Nakamura.
Nakamura’s private life is relatively unknown and he has done his best to keep it that way. It is however known that he is married to a woman called Harumi Maekawa.
Their relationship is believed to have begun while the two were still in college; this was at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo. When the wrestler relocated to the United States she came with him. The couple who now live in Orlando, Florida reportedly got married on 1st September 2017 as per schedule and have been together since then.