Shinsuke Nakamura is perhaps the top star in New Japan and is one of the promotion’s young aces. Nicknamed “Super Rookie” upon his debut, his strength, speed and technical skill have taken him far in New Japan.
Nakamura debuted in August 2002 and almost immediately shot up the rankings, winning his first IWGP Heavyweight Championship just over 15 months later. At the time he became the youngest wrestler in history to win the title at 23. A year later at the end of 2004 he won the IWGP Tag Team Titles with partner/rival Hiroshi Tanahashi then headed to Mexico and successfully defended the titles there before losing them after a 10-month reign as champions. In January 2006 he came up short in a title shot against then-champion Brock Lesnar, after which he announced his departure on a learning excursion to improve his skills, including some training with Lesnar. Rumors also spread he would be loaned to WWE as part of his excursion as well, but this never happened.
Nakamura returned to New Japan about 6 months after leaving and was not only bigger but still retained his mobility. Adjusting to a new finisher, Landslide, he struggled in late 2006 & early 2007, coming up short in 2 title shots. In 2007 Nakamura established the RISE stable in the promotion, consisting of himself, Minoru, Milano Collection A.T., Hirooki Goto, Giant Bernard, Travis Tomko, and Prince Devitt. Low Ki was added as a replacement when Milano got injured. In 2008 Nakamura finally reclaimed the IWGP Heavyweight Title, defeating Tanahashi for the belt on the main event of New Japan’s annual January 4 Tokyo Dome blowout show, the promotion’s biggest event of the year. A month later he beat Kurt Angle to unify the IWGP Title and the unrecognized 3rd Belt Title that was created when Lesnar left New Japan but refused to return the belt. His reign ended in April 2008 when he lost to Keiji Muto.
After failed Tag Team and Heavyweight Title shots in late 2008, Nakmaura turned heel in early 2009 and formed a new faction, CHAOS. Nakamura began to work a much rougher style, continuing to use a straight right hand as a frequent move in addition to the Boma Ye, his new finisher. It was the Boma Ye that took him to the finals of the 2009 G1 Climax where he fell to Makabe. Prior to the final Nakamura had gone undefeated, winning each match with the Boma Ye. The move was also credited for fracturing IWGP Heavyweight champion Hiroshi Tanahashi’s orbital bone, forcing him to vacate the title. As a result, Nakamura finds himself with another shot to claim the title and carry the promotion in Tanahashi’s absence. Although he is a clear #2 to Tanahashi in the Heavyweight picture right now, he is always capable of carrying the promotion both in Japan and in the US, he occasionally appears in TNA. He also has the edge over Tanahashi in their long-running rivalry, with 5 wins to Tanahashi’s 4 in head-to-head matches with 1 Draw. As the leader of CHAOS he is clearly established as the top heel in the promotion.
Nakamura also competed in MMA early in his career, compiling a solid 3-1 record with 1 No Contest in 5 fights from 2002-2004. He lost his first fight but then went unbeaten with a NC.
After a brief excursion to Mexico in summer 2011, Nakamura won the prestigous G1 CLIMAX tournament for the first time in August 2011.
Stats & info:
Weight: 245 pounds/111 kg
Experience: 9 years
Finishing move: Landslide, Boma Ye
Current affiliation: New Japan
Ring entrance theme: “Subconscious”
3-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion
1-time IWGP 3rd Belt Champion (Unified title with IWGP HW Title)
1-time IWGP U-30 Openweight Champion
1-time NWF Heavyweight Champion (Unified title with IWGP HW Title)
1-time IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion
2003 Teisen Hall 6 Man Tag Team Tournament
2004 Yuko 6 Man Tag Team Tournament
2004 President Hoshino ¥10,000,000 (10 million yen) Offer Tag Tournament
2006 G1 Tag League
2006 National Area Tag League
2011 G1 CLIMAX
Ranked #10 in 2008 PWI 500
Ranked #7 in 2010 PWI 500
Ring entrance theme:
Karaoke version (removes the first few seconds of the song and the main guitars):