So, you may have heard that WWE signed this Japanese wrestler named Shinsuke Nakamura, but since you don’t follow much wrestling outside of North America, you’re not sure why some wrestling fans are really, really excited. Well, fortunately for you, we’ve gathered a bunch of pertinent information about the career of one of Japan’s most popular wrestlers, so that when Shinsuke Nakamura finally does make his WWE debut, hopefully you’ll understand why he is legitimately one of the biggest international signings WWE has ever made.
10. He Was The Youngest IWGP Heavyweight Champion In History
This part occasionally confuses people who aren’t as knowledgeable about Japanese pro wrestling, so we’ll get it out of the way first. The company Shinsuke Nakamura wrestled for in Japan is called New Japan Pro Wrestling, or NJPW. The titles that are fought over in NJPW, however, are all references to the company’s governing body, the International Wrestling Grand Prix, or IWGP. Chief among the titles is the IWGP Heavyweight Title, which serves the same purpose as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Nakamura is a three-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, which is far off the record of seven reigns. However, in NJPW, the cumulative length of your title reigns is seen as more important, and at 390 days as champion, Nakamura slides into the top ten overall rankings, ahead of luminaries like NJPW founder Antonio Inoki and some guy named Brock Lesnar. Most importantly, Nakamura holds the record for youngest IWGP Heavyweight Champion ever, accomplished when he won the title in 2003 at the age of 23. By comparison, the youngest WWE World Heavyweight Champion in history is Randy Orton, who was 24 when he won the belt at SummerSlam 2004.