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Nakamura and Styles Help WWE Kick Off 2016 With A Bang! by Hank McAllen

Well Happy New Year everyone and boy did WWE pull off a huge coup last night by signing the two biggest free agents in the business in A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. Thankfully, as I wished for in a previous column I wrote, Santa left these two under Vince’s Christmas tree this year. Now, the obvious questions, how will they be used, how will they do and what does this mean for WWE and New Japan moving forward?

Despite the huge success NXT has had over the past 12 months, there is no way that these two should end up on the NXT roster. They need to go immediately to the main roster, as the talent level needs a boost, as does the ratings. WWE also signed Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows as well last night and, with all due respect to them, they can maybe go to NXT and be rebranded and then quickly brought up, but by sending Styles and Nakamura there would just be a waste of time and money. These are both premier, headliners who don’t need to brush up on microphone skills or wrestling technique. Also, their ages need to be taken into consideration. AJ’s 38 and Nakamura will be 36 next month, and they have both fought with a very physical style, so why waste any time on them not being on the roster? Get what you can and as much as you can out of them on RAW and Smackdown as soon as possible. What they need is to be brought in and given major pushes as the two new dominant forces in the company.

Shinsuke Nakamura AJ Styles

To start with, I don’t want to see any changes to either wrestlers name or style. We know who these guys are Vince, so please do not insult our intelligence and give them other names. Also, WWE should see what they can do about obtaining the rights to Nakamura’s entrance music. To begin with, it’s a very cool tune and secondly, he has one of the best entrances in all of wrestling. Also, and I know I may upset the masses with this comment, keep these two as far away from Randy Orton and John Cena as possible. The wrestling world knows that Nakamura and Styles are technically light years ahead of these two and you are looking to do something fresh and nothing would be worse to their heat and push then to have them job out to either of the two old fallbacks. Also, AJ’s and Nakamura’s style of wrestling doesn’t match up well with Cena and Orton’s.

It has been well documented that Daniel Bryan, a good friend of Nakamura’s, has been pushing for WWE to bring him into the loop. One can only hope that Bryan will get cleared to wrestle again as that is an ultimate dream match. That being said, there are still so many guys in the company that, IF BOOKED CORRECTLY, will allow the King of Strong Style, to have amazing matches. Nakamura will be the last of the quartet to show up at WWE due to his current contract, but I think it goes without saying rekindling his feud with Brock Lesnar, would be a great way to bring him into the fold. After that you can set him up with the likes of Cesaro, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Wade Barrett, and obviously Roman Reigns, with WWE title implications.

As far as the Phenomenal One is concerned there are also so many ways he can be booked well. AJ has been one of my favorite wrestlers to watch over the past decade and I’ve often thought about who he would match up well against in WWE and now we finally get to see it. Again, proper booking will need to be done and I can see him having amazing feuds with the likes of those I mentioned above as well as Dolph Ziggler and Neville. Also it would be fantastic to see WWE promote the likes of Samoa Joe and Finn Balor as opponents for Styles. Any of you who may have never been a fan of TNA would now get to see the likes of Joe and Styles in the ring again. They have had amazing matches in the past.

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If the WWE does invest the time properly into both Nakamura and Styles and let’s them be who they have been, which has made them so desirable to the WWE in the first place, then they will hit a home run. If, however, they tinker with what has worked for both superstars, then they could eventually head down the path of mid card obscurity, also known as getting buried.

Another question to contemplate is, what will the impact of their departure mean for New Japan? Initially, it will be very negative. Timing wise this probably couldn’t have come at a worse time. New Japan has been rising in popularity to heights unseen before here in the Unites States. They have a weekly one hour spot on AXS TV. The New Japan World site is available across the world. The Wrestle Kingdom 9 and 10 shows have been well received, and their working relationship with Ring Of Honor has brought fan awareness to their biggest stars.

Despite the initial hit that New Japan will take, there has been concern for some time about future stars in the company. As documented above Styles and Nakamura are getting up there in age as is another one of New Japan’s big four Hiroshi Tanahashi, who just turned 39. The departures of Styles and Nakamura will now force New Japan’s hand a bit more into developing younger talent, around their current champion Okada, who is in his 20’s. The Japanese style of wrestling is much more physical than in North America. The wear and tear tends to age their wrestlers a little quicker. Hopefully though, NJPW will be successful in the long run as competition in the wrestling world is important to the overall product.

WWE has started 2016 off amazingly well. Hopefully they will not lose any steam and utilize these two to help regenerate fan interest and improve the product! I cannot tell you enough how excited I am to see this group coming to WWE. We could be in for quite a ride!

What are your thoughts about how Styles and Nakamura should be booked? Do you think that with their signing that eventually Okada will come to WWE as well? Let us know in the comments section below.