With a long decorative career in pro wrestling, Shinsuke Nakamura has created great strides here in WWE and overseas in New Japan Pro Wrestling. This week, “The King of Strong Style” spoke with Renée Paquette on Oral Sessions about his widely acclaimed success throughout the years.
They first began by discussing his first IWGP Heavyweight Championship win in 2003, where Nakamura would become the youngest champion of all time at the tender age of 23. For Nakamura, he said that the first title run was not what he had pictured, especially with the harsh responses from his colleagues in the back.
“Actually, I didn’t have no experience. I just needed to do what they wanted…I felt I didn’t have any friends in the company,” Nakamura stated on his historic championship win.
With so many stars emerging in New Japan Pro Wrestling both internationally and from the native homeland, Nakamura has his eyes on two of New Japan’s top stars – Kazuchika Okada and Kota Ibushi. The CHAOS originator believes these two have the potential to carry on the traditional sportsmanship that he once possessed in Japan.
“I think still Okada,” Nakamura stated on which superstars are New Japan’s top prospects. “Kota Ibushi, he’s going to be a bigger star. Finally, he’s trying to show his responsibility.”
In the next segment, Nakamura revealed how honored he is to still have his Three Belt Championship reign intact after the company decided to merge the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships into the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Nakamura was the last man in company history to have the Heavyweight Championship on three separate occasions.
“It makes my record forever,” Nakamura pointed out. “I am forever youngest IWGP Heavyweight Champion.”
Speaking of making history, Nakamura spoke on the match Jon Moxley had last week on AEW Dynamite against Japanese legend Yuji Nagata for the IWGP United States Championship. Impressed with their chemistry in the ring, Nakamura revealed to Paquette how he was once under Nagata’s training while cutting his teeth in the business.
“It was very interesting to watch,” Nakamura said with a happy tone. “Nagata-san was one of my Japanese mentors. In Japanese customs, experienced wrestlers have [a] young boy. I was Nagata’s young boy.
“I prepared his wrestling gear. I’d wash his wrestling gear. I was his ice boy. Still, he has great condition.”
Although Nakamura has a long way to go before he ever hangs up his boots, he and Paquette created a fantasy booking match for who his opponent will be when he approaches his retirement from the industry. When asked who would be his final opponent, he, without hesitation, answered his former IWGP Tag Team partner, “The Ace” Hiroshi Tanahashi
“I wanna wrestle Tanahashi again,” Nakamura stated. “Also, I wanna wrestle a rising star, like a new guy. I don’t know yet.”
You can listen to Shinsuke Nakamura’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Oral Sessions w/Renée Paquette with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.