Shinsuke Nakamura is a Japanese professional wrestler and MMA fighter who now competes on SmackDown for the World Wrestling Entertainment. Shinsuke, who was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan, was bullied as a child. He unwittingly set the trajectory of his destiny with his ambition to be able to defend himself and his fondness for wrestling shows on television. He began wrestling with New Japan Pro Wrestling and remained there for 14 years, becoming one of Japan’s most popular wrestlers in the process. He became the IWGP’s Heavyweight champion at the age of 23, making him the promotion’s youngest Heavyweight champion ever. He also won the Intercontinental championship and the tag team titles in the IWGP several times. His victory at the New Japan Cup competition in 2014 caught the attention of American promoters, and despite being well-versed in MMA, jiu-jitsu, and other martial arts, he passed on the UFC in favor of WWE. He was a part of NXT before becoming the main WWE roster, and his performance there led to him making his main WWE rooster debut via SmackDown in April 2017.
Childhood and Adolescence
Shinsuke Nakamura was born on February 24, 1980, in Kyoto, Japan, to a middle-class family. He, like most Japanese families, grew up in a very disciplined environment, although only for a short time.
His shyness and physical infirmity became a laughingstock among his classmates as he began school, and he was frequently ridiculed. His siblings made fun of him for not being able to stand up and fight for himself.
Nakamura was an avid anime fan who enjoyed drawing SG Gundam, the popular series’ characters and had never really considered pursuing a career in professional wrestling.
However, he had to stop being bullied at school, which prompted him to begin exercising to grow stronger so that he could defend himself. During this time, his passion for wrestling grew, and when he was in junior high, he acquired a book called “How to Be a Pro Wrestler.”
He was a basketball player in school who also studied karate and jiu-jitsu, and when he discovered that it was something he was passionate about, he began to plan a career in martial arts and loved Jackie Chan.
He even went on to appear in school plays, drawing influence from Jackie Chan films and dreamed of moving to China once school was finished.
Everything changed when he joined his high school’s amateur wrestling team, where he quickly rose to captain and won the JOC cup in 1998, earning the top slot. After then, it was all about him and fighting, and he trained in MMA, kickboxing, wrestling, and bodybuilding.
His first success came in September 2001, when he was chosen for New Japan Pro Wrestling, and he hasn’t looked back since.
The Career of Shinsuke
His tactics, as well as his speed and strength, were unmatched, and these attributes, along with a boyish charm and flamboyance, immediately made him a popular fighter in the NJPW. After only a few fights in his first year with the company, he was dubbed “Super Rookie.”
In December 2002, he met Daniel Gracie in his first-ever pro-MMA battle and lost, which was a major setback for Nakamura. But, in early 2003, he made a strong recovery in his second fight against Jan Nortje, and later that year, he overcame Shane Eitner. ‘
In December 2003, he was paired against the defending IWGP Heavyweight champion Hiroyoshi Tenzan in the biggest battle of his career. Nakamura was 23 at the time, and after a tense and dramatic bout, he defeated his opponent and became the IWGP Heavyweight Champion for the first time.
In mid-2004, he was given another chance to win a title in the shape of the NWF Heavyweight Championship against Yoshihiro Takayama, and he successfully unified his championship, but the battle was too much for his body, and he was injured.
He was forced to submit his championship due to injury, and when he returned to the ring in good health, he was given the opportunity to reclaim it against Bob Sapp, but he was unsuccessful.
Nakamura and Hiroshi Tanahashi won the IWGP tag team championship in December 2004 after defeating Kensuke Sasaki and Minoru Suzuki. They defended the title several times before losing it a year later against a tag team known as ‘Cho-Ten.’
In January 2006, Nakamura’s challenge for a title fight was accepted by Brock Lesnar, the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion, and Nakamura was defeated. This defeat was particularly difficult for Nakamura, and he began polishing his abilities, even more, acquiring some muscular mass in the process, with Brock Lesnar agreeing to assist him.
But Nakamura was quickly summoned back to New Japan, where he resumed competing in January 2008, winning the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Tanahashi but losing it three months later to Keiji Mutoh.
Nakamura tried unsuccessfully to reclaim the title on multiple occasions. In 2012, he won the IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Hirooki Goto, which was his third major title victory.
In August 2012, Nakamura successfully defended his championship against Oliver John in a Sacramento Wrestling Federation event, and he went on to make further eight successful title defenses before facing La Sombra in the ring in May 2013, where he lost after a 313-day reign as champion.
However, he reclaimed the title from La Sombra in July for a second stint as IWGP Intercontinental champion, then Hiroshi Tanahashi took the championship from Nakamura in January 2014. He won the New Japan Cup event the following year, and he reclaimed the title around the same time, making him a three-time champion.
Nakamura would lose and reclaim the title several times over the next few months, and by the end of his stay with the NJPW, he had won the title five times.
Official announcements regarding Nakamura joining WWE with the NXT squad were made in January 2016. With a new skill set, Nakamura won his first several battles in NXT, and in August 2016, he defeated Samoa Joe to become the NXT Champion. After losing and reclaiming the championship from Joe, Nakamura lost it to Bobby Roode in January 2017 and attempted but failed to reclaim it.
On April 4, 2017, he made an unexpected appearance on SmackDown, interrupting The Miz and Marise and launching a feud with Dolph Ziggler, whom he eventually beat at Backlash. Nakamura also tried unsuccessfully to win the Money in the Bank challenge, injuring himself in the process, although he recovered fast.
Nakamura, on the other hand, defeated John Cena for a shot at the WWE Championship against Jinder Mahal on August 1st but lost the title battle at SummerSlam 2017. However, after defeating Randy Orton on September 5th, he regained his position as the number one contender.
His Personal Experiences
Since September 2007, Shinsuke Nakamura has been married to Harumi Maekawa.
Nakamura adores kids and has been in a children’s commercial as well as Pharell William’s music video for the song “Happy.”
In May 2014, Nakamura released his autobiography, titled “King of Strong Style.”
Estimated Net worth
Nakamura has a net worth of $3.5 million as of 2021. His current WWE salary is said to be over $400,000 per year. In addition, Nakamura receives a portion of the proceeds from PPV and merchandise sales.