United States Champion, Royal Rumble winner, IWGP Heavyweight Champion, noted nut puncher and you can now add author to the list of accomplishments for Shinsuke Nakamura.
Releasing in hardcover on Aug. 7, King of Strong Style: 1980-2014 is the new biography from Nakamura that tracks his career from his grappling roots all way through his run at the top of New Japan.
After becoming the youngest IWGP Heavyweight Champion in New Japan history in 2003, Nakamura would go on to have a historic run in NJPW leading up to his signing by the WWE in 2016.
One of the biggest matches in Nakamura’s early career came versus Brock Lesnar way back in Jan. 2006. In an excerpt from his new book, transcribed by Redditor nivid, Nakamura was very candid about working with a young Lesnar.
You had no choice but to do what the company wanted. But then Kazuyuki Fujita refused to accept a match with Brock Lesnar for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship which was scheduled to be the main event. Given your previous track record, you were selected to take his place and be the challenger.
“Part of that was luck. But that match was seriously rough. First, Lesnar was saying all this stuff about how he respected New Japan, but it felt to me like that was just for show, that he didn’t really respect the promotion. Like, somewhere, he was looking down on Japanese people. I lost the match, and that was the first time I cried at pro wrestling after a match.”
A follow-up excerpt from the book
Why did you cry?
“It was the main event at Tokyo Dome. This was a pretty hallowed stage, and I knew I hadn’t fought the way I imagined I would. And there was, like, this temperature difference between me and Lesnar. I didn’t get the sense he had any love for pro wrestling. It felt like he was just doing his job.”
Add another log to the “Brock Lesnar doesn’t really like pro wrestling” fire.
Maybe its a little lost in the translation but Shinsuke Nakamura’s passion for pro wrestling is amazing and admirable.
What could have been in another time, place or scenario where Nakamura and Lesnar could have had prolonged feud in the WWE.