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NXT Spotlight: Tale of the tape — Nakamura vs Samoa Joe

(Photo courtesy of WWE.com)

It’s SummerSlam week in WWE and the festivities in both Brooklyn and on the WWE Network are underway. It is the second-biggest week of business for the company behind only WrestleMania. If you’re familiar with the company’s recent business model, you know that another NXT TakeOver special is on the docket, and it promises to be full of action.

Headlining that card, which takes place on Saturday night, is an NXT Championship match between Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe. NXT has historically had some outstanding main events and title matches, but you could make the argument that this is the biggest in NXT history. Easily.

Nakamura Samoa Joe
Height 6-foot-2 6-foot-2
Weight 229 282
Hometown Kyoto, Japan Huntington Beach, California
Nickname King of Strong Style Samoan Submission Machine
Professional debut 2002 1999
Total No. of titles held 12 21
Key NXT victories Austin Aries, Finn Balor Baron Corbin, Finn Balor


Nakamura is the hottest thing going in NXT. In fact, he’s as over with the fans as any Superstar in all of WWE right now. He put together a tremendous career in his native Japan, one that many wrestlers would be happy to retire with. But Nakamura is bigger than that. He is a vibrant, charismatic performer the likes of which fans have never really seen in a Japanese Superstar inside WWE.

His fellow Superstars knew that fact, which is why they gave him such high praise when he officially signed with WWE.

Since then, Nakamura has put on a five-star match with Sami Zayn, defeated Austin Aries and knocked off the former NXT champion Finn Balor. That’s not bad for about four months worth of work.

To this point, he’s yet to lose a match in NXT and has been as impressive as any Superstar who has ever stepped between the ropes in the developmental territory.

As for Samoa Joe, he didn’t need a video to hype up his signing with the company. That’s because fans already knew who he was.

At 37 years old, Samoa Joe has competed as a professional for nearly half his life. Though he hasn’t competed at SummerSlam or WrestleMania, he’s been in the ring with countless big names. His matches with Kurt Angle and A.J. Styles while with TNA Wrestling are legendary and of course, he’s one of the greatest wrestlers in the history of Ring of Honor.

Joe has been a bully in NXT. He has imposed his will against the likes of Baron Corbin, Rhyno and Apollo Crews. Briefly, he teamed with Balor and together, they were impressive in winning the Dusty Rhodes Classic tag team tournament. That set things up perfectly for Joe to show his true colors, turning on Balor and setting the stage for perhaps the greatest feud we’ve seen in NXT to this point.

Joe and Balor went back and forth in several huge matches, all of which were for the NXT Championship. Initially, it was Balor who get the best of the battles. But in the end, Joe found a way to overcome his former partner.

Immediately after getting through Balor, Nakamura was standing there waiting for him. No wonder Joe wasn’t happy about the title match that William Regal signed.

In speaking with Chad Fishman of Channel Guide Magazine, Joe had this to say regarding his upcoming match with Nakamura.

“I think Nakamura’s talent speaks for itself. I think it’s a match that I’ve very much been looking forward to. Very much like Finn, I have a ton of history with Nakamura. I’ve seen him develop from being a New Japan green boy to being the superstar that he is today. And at no point during that development have we gotten in the ring and locked horns one-on-one. So it’s something I’m very much looking forward to and I think the fans in Brooklyn will not be disappointed.”

They’ve never met one-on-one before. Those are the best matches. The ones fans haven’t seen a handful (or more than a handful) of times. Here you have two of the best in the world, both every bit as good as anyone on either Raw or SmackDown Live, facing off for the first time ever. For that reason alone, you should tune into NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II.

If you’re asked what you feel will be the best match of the coming weekend and you say Nakamura versus Samoa Joe, it would be all but impossible to disagree.

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