News broke last week that former NJPW wrestler Kushida has signed with NXT.
Kushida has been a mainstay of New Japan’s Jr. Heavyweight division since he debuted with the promotion back in 2010, 9 years ago. He was a decorated champion in Japan winning the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship 6 times, Best of the Super Juniors twice, and the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship twice.
While in Japan, Kushida had matches with notable wrestlers like Ibushi, Tiger Mask, Jushin Liger, Kenny Omega, and Prince Devitt (aka Finn Balor) just to name a few. WWE has had an influx of Japanese wrestlers in the past few years including Nakamura, Hideo Itami, Io Shirai, and Kairi Sane; it was only a matter of time before he was signed to NXT.
His accomplishments speak for themselves but what does his signing mean for his career?
I think Kushida will thrive in NXT, the promotion has a much looser approach to their wrestling and I think Kushida will immediately impress with his Japanese, Jr. Heavyweight style. The Japanese wrestlers I mentioned earlier have all been big stars in NXT and I don’t think Kushida will be any different. That being said, I don’t know how successful he will be in the WWE as a whole. I would not be surprised at all if he won the North American Championship, but I am not sure if he will win the main NXT title.
Kushida and he is a fantastic wrestler, but I am not sure if his “Back to the Future” character will translate on to NXT or main roster. I think he will absolutely be a mid-card wrestler in WWE and I think his post-NXT career will go one of two ways. He will either go up to main roster and possibly reach the mid-card championship or he will most likely be called up to 205 Live, and be a main event talent on that show.
While 205 Live is not the biggest show, I think going there is the most likely scenario and there are some compelling matches on the purple brand. With what I think will happen aside, this is a huge signing for NXT and an even bigger loss for New Japan. I do hope he succeeds in WWE.