Shinsuke Nakamura is arguably one of the best wrestlers of the 21st century, known for his grappling excellence, rockstar aura, and high levels of success. In this list, I have paid tribute to one of the best aspects of the King of Strong Style’s in-ring arsenal: his reversals.
Whether you try to hit him with your best move or even a cocky taunt, the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion will definitely have an answer for it. These are the Top 10 Shinsuke Nakamura Counters.
10. You Can’t See Me
Nakamura vs. Cena was a dream match come to fruition back in 2017, where not long after the opening bell, the King of Strong Style out-smarted (and out-sassed) the sixteen-time world champion. Such a simple counter that shows off Nakamura’s personality and confidence perfectly.
9. Got Your Nose!
How do you counteract a rampaging man’s furious rage? You grab him by the nose of course!
8. Stunning the Machine Gun
In case you didn’t know, Karl Anderson had some absolutely fantastic matches in New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he regularly put on impressive displays inside the ring… Still no match for Shinsuke Nakamura though.
7. Shinsuke Dab-amura
At this point I think I better apologise for the puns.
This may be the best thing to come out of TJP’s entire run in WWE. Early NXT Shinsuke was a true delight.
6. A Perfectly Timed Kick
La Sombra and Shinsuke Nakamura had a fantastic rivalry in NJPW, feuding over the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, and given that they are now on the same show once again, it’s fair to say we need to see them feud again.
Similar to the Gun Stun reversal listed earlier, what I love about this reversal is how much Nakamura leaps into it. He reacts with as much urgency and ‘out-of-nowhere-ness’ (yes, I’m going with that) as the RKO is known for, which is why the crowd reacts appropriately in so much awe. Beautiful stuff.
4. Shinsuke Takes Over
When Shinsuke Nakamura first came to WWE, he made a huge impact immediately thanks to an incredible MOTY candidate against Sami Zayn. One of the highlights of this memorable brawl is of course this beautifully-timed kick to prevent Sami from hitting his torpedo DDT.
Possibly Shinsuke’s most used counter is the lariat reversed into a rolling armbar. Regularly in NJPW, and occasionally in NXT and WWE, Shinsuke pulled out this gorgeous turn of momentum with much success, and this is without doubt my favourite example of his masterful counter wrestling.
2. Bullet Grub
If someone is shooting imaginary bullets at you, just eat them. Simple as that.
What I love about this ‘reversal’ is how so damn simple it is. If you’ve never seen Shinsuke perform, you can get an immediate idea of his personality and charisma just from this one clip. It’s an image that will follow him throughout his career, and for very good reason.
Here it is: the greatest counter to Kazuchika Okada’s Rainmaker we’ve yet to see.
Of course this is the same counter we saw earlier with Ishii’s lariat, yet it deserves it’s own entry due to the fluidity and significance of this particular reversal. First of all, it is a different variation of the lariat that we saw earlier, plus it is the finisher of one of NJPW’s most dominant wrestlers, which makes the reversal more exciting.
Most importantly though, this is how Shinsuke Nakamura became the only man to make Kazuchika Okada submit since becoming The Rainmaker in 2012. Nobody else has managed to do this before or since, so the fact that they were willing to give this honour to Nakamura’s gorgeous rolling armbar is a testament to how damn good of a counter it is.
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