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Shinsuke Nakamura Would Have A Legendary Run With The IWGP Global Championship

3 min read

New Japan Pro Wrestling revealed their newest championship ahead of their biggest show of the year, Wrestle Kingdom. Wrestle Kingdom is New Japan’s version of Wrestlemania, a showcase of the absolute best of the best from their company, as well as established stars from other promotions. It is here, where Jon Moxley, Will Osprey, and David Finlay will square off to crown the company’s inaugural IWGP Global Champion, a title that will almost certainly be used to highlight New Japan’s brightest star inside and outside of the promotion. The three men featured in that will undoubtedly put on a brilliant match on New Japan’s biggest show, but I can’t help but wonder, what if?

When I think about brilliance in NJPW, I can’t help but think back to a time when current WWE Superstar Shinsuke Nakamura would’ve made for an excellent candidate to be the very first IWGP Global Champion.

New Japan’s landscape today would look drastically different with Shinsuke Nakamura still gracing the squared circle in his homeland. Imagine, for a moment, a universe where he never crossed the Pacific, where the “King of Strong Style” never traded the Rising Sun for flashing lights and entrance themes. In this alternate reality, Nakamura’s legendary career takes a monumental turn, one in which the company’s biggest star enjoys a legendary run with New Japan’s newest title.

Each defense would be a masterpiece, a display of innovative offense and unparalleled swagger. A run with the IWGP Global Championship would almost instantaneously cement Nakamura as one of the biggest stars in the industry. He’d show up at virtually any promotion on behalf of NJPW, defending the title against all challengers. Maintaining the title’s integrity from threats both foreign and domestic. Think back to his 404-day reign, the record-breaking one, where he redefined “strong style” with flying knees, Bomaye bombs, and an unmatched aura of cool. Imagine that magic multiplied, each challenger mere clay in the hands of a sculptor.

Nakamura’s true mark, however, wouldn’t lie solely in his marquee battles. It would reside in his uncanny ability to have a barn burner with anyone, anywhere. I’m often reminded of that epic G1 Climax 2011 battle with Tomohiro Ishii, a clash of contrasting styles that tore the Korakuen Hall down. Or the technical showcase against Hirooki Goto at Wrestle Kingdom 9, which ended up being a masterclass in storytelling through submission holds. Given the chance, Nakamura would weave magic against young lions and grizzled veterans alike, proving that a true artist can find beauty in any canvas.

His reign wouldn’t be without its challenges. Wrestlers like Jay White, Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, hell even Minoru Suzuki would all bring Nakamura fresh challenges, and relentless violence to the fore. But through it all, Nakamura would reign, remaining a pillar of charisma and in-ring brilliance. Each subsequent defense would be a testament to his versatility, and his ability to conquer any obstacle.

The contrast to Nakamura’s current standing in WWE is stark. Despite flashes of brilliance, the main event spotlight has often escaped him. One can’t help but wonder what a longer New Japan reign could have done for his legacy – a definitive statement that cemented him as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. While that chapter remains unwritten in reality, it lives on vividly in the hearts of fans who yearn for the King’s return to his rightful throne.

So, let this serve as the ultimate what if? To the Nakamura that could have been – the artist who would have painted the New Japan canvas with gold, the champion who would have reigned with charisma and unmatched in-ring prowess. It’s almost like wrestling with history itself, a glimpse into a universe where the Strong Style reigns supreme. Because even though Nakamura’s New Japan Global Championship run may exist only in the realm of imagination, its brilliance, and awe-inspiring potential, remain an undeniable truth.

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