Who is Shinsuke Nakamura? He is many things: the winner of the 2018 Royal Rumble, main-eventer of WrestleMania, and current WWE United States Champion. He is also one of the most skilled international superstars to make the crossover from Japan to WWE. He is known for his eccentric “strong style” wrestling methods, shared with an outer-body experience entrance. He won of the NXT audience, and has done the exact same on SmackDown Live. He will be bringing meeting a bunch of his fans at iPlay America in Freehold, NJ on July 29, allowing me to chat with him pre-event. With these accomplishments all lined up, we naturally had a ton to talk about. Check it out below, and get to know Shinsuke Nakamura.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me! Winning Royal Rumble, having your “dream match” with AJ Styles at WrestleMania, and now defeating Jeff Hardy to become the United States champion; I think it’s safe to say 2018 has been your year. After the rumble I thought, “Wow, this has to be the biggest moment in his career.” Now, I am seeing that was only the beginning! Did you ever imagine you’d be here?
Thank you. Wow, yes, it’s crazy. It’s been an amazing year. And becoming the United States Champion has really made it even more fantastic for me.
Some superstars go their whole careers trying to get on the card at WrestleMania, and you got to main-event the show. Can you even put into words how that felt, especially when we all refer to it as “the dream match” against AJ Styles?
It was amazing. He is one of the best wrestlers around, on such a large platform. I was very happy. Plus, it was the night I turned heel, it was a huge moment in my wrestling life.
As a wrestling fan, I almost feel NXT fans are some of the most hardcore fans on earth. When you came up there, it was almost like you didn’t need to adjust. However, from this side of the table, it appears live events for Smackdown are just different than NXT. What would say is the biggest adjustment getting called up to the main roster?
There are a few, but mainly, Smackdown Live being a live television show! The timeline is very strict [Laughs]. Our goal is to tell a story to the audience, so basically, making the matches a part of the story on live television! I would say that’s the biggest difference.
NXT fans are a very strong group, and it’s nice to see it also occur when up on the main roster. We do it all for the fans.
I want to talk about your entrance, as it’s larger than life. We are also loving the new version of your music. From this side, it almost appears that the music takes over your entire body. Are you ever quite sure of how you are going to move when your song hits and you enter the arena?
Once the music hits, my body starts moving automatically! It takes over me! I just go with it. It’s all emotion.
I also want to talk about how great you’ve been as a heel. The second you did the “No Speak English” segment with Renee Young, you had us all in the palm of your hand. Has this been a fun change of pace for you?
Coming from Japan, I knew how to be a heel! I was adjusting being a baby face. I really didn’t feel I had to change a lot, I am enjoying it very much. I am glad you like it too. I get to show my “dark-side” — it’s more like my natural emotions coming out of me and embracing them.
When would you say was the pivotal moment when you wrestling was the career choice for you?
I wanted to enjoy my life! Nobody knows when we’re going to die [Laughs], and that is what I love to do! So, I think I always knew!
You’re always on the road and busy, what do you like to do on a vacation?
Oh man, go to an island and surf every single day!
I think that’s all of our dreams! Having achieved so much in your career already, what would you say is next on your bucket list?
There are still so many people I want to feud with. So many names I haven’t faced yet, and there still so many “dream-matches” for me that I want to achieve! I look forward to the future.
We are getting ready for an appearance with you at iPlay America in Freehold on July 29. So many fans are excited to come out and meet you. We can’t wait to see you there!
I am very much looking forward to seeing the fans in New Jersey!
Catch Shinsuke Nakamura at iPlay America on Sunday, July 29th. For more information, visit iplayamerica.com.