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NXT’s Next Breakout Stars in 2018?: Japan

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Japan has produced some of the best professional wrestlers in the world who are well known for their Japanese strong style and mixed martial arts. For the past few years, the Japanese wrestling scene has been being seen by more people each day as they have some of the youngest, brightest, and the best Japanese stars that could do well on a national stage.

For the past few years, NXT has picked up some of the best Japanese talents or talents that have wrestled in the Japanese scene for years such as Shinsuke Nakamura, Hideo Itami, Asuka, TM-61, Akira Tozawa, Kairi Sane, and etc. It’s only a matter of time when WWE is planning to sign more talent from Japan as the Japanese wrestling scene is getting more viewed each day.

This list won’t contain wrestlers that competed in NXT or the developmental territory of WWE in the past such as Juice Robinson, Tanga Roa, Killer Elite Squad, Beretta, etc. so please keep that in mind.

Here’s the list I have about one year ago for NXT’s Next Breakout Stars in 2017?:

10. Michael Elgin

9. KUSHIDA

8. Ricochet

7. Momo No Seishun Tag

6. Tetsuya Naito

5. Kota Ibushi

4. Io Shirai

3. Naomichi Marufuji

2. Kenny Omega

1. Kazuchika Okada

Now, it’s time to see which ten wrestlers from Japan I think NXT will pick up or I want NXT to pick up in 2018.


Honorable Mentions: EVIL, KUSHIDA, SANADA, Roppongi 3K, Hiromu Takahashi, David Finlay, BUSHI, Michael Elgin, Rocky Romero, Atsushi Kotoge, Cody Hall, Go Shiozaki, Kenoh, Masa Kitamiya, Daisuke Harada, Zeus, Kris Wolf, Mayu Iwatani, Konosuke Takeshita, Shigehiro Irie, BxB Hulk, Eita, Masato Yoshino, Naruki Doi, Shingo Takagi, T-Hawk, YAMATO


10. XX

Taiji Ishimori and Hi69, XX is one of the best tag teams in the Japanese wrestling scene today as they’re well known for their work in Pro Wrestling NOAH.

With only a year of experience as a tag team, they have been GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions and they’re taking the Japanese tag team scene by storm with their great chemistry, good characters, good charisma, and great in-ring abilities.

Now, I don’t know if NXT are interested in XX or not, but if NXT wants more tag teams while they build their own, then XX should be a tag team that NXT should look into if they want more tag teams in their tag team division. However, with Pro Wrestling NOAH being associated with IMPACT Wrestling due to the relationship between them, it might be unlikely for XX to be in NXT at this time, but they would be a great tag team in the NXT tag team division.


9. Katsuhiko Nakajima

From Fukuoka, Japan, Katsuhiko Nakajima is a rising star in the Japanese wrestling scene as he is known for his work in Pro Wrestling NOAH.

With thirteen years of wrestling experience, this young volcano is burning up with energy as he wants to show that he is the best wrestler in the world today. Even though he doesn’t have the most interesting character or have the best charisma, he has a unique look, he has a presence about him every time he’s in the ring, and he’s an excellent wrestler that could do well in the NXT Championship picture.

I don’t know if NXT has any interest in him, but if they do, he would be a nice addition to the NXT roster. However, just like with XX, the relationship between IMPACT and NOAH might prevent Katsuhiko Nakajima from signing with NXT, but if he could, he would be a nice addition to the NXT roster as he will heat up the competition.


8. Ricochet

From Paducah, Kentucky, Ricochet is one of the best high-flyers in the world today who has been making a splash in the Japanese wrestling scene as of late as he competed in wrestling companies such as NJPW and Dragon Gate.

With fourteen years of wrestling experience, this man is going to take flight around the world as he is one of the best high-flyers in wrestling today. With his good look, solid character, solid charisma, and his excellent high-flying ability, he could be great in NXT in either singles wrestling or tag team wrestling.

Even though WWE has interest in him for the past three years, he hasn’t been interested in joining WWE as he wanted to wrestle more in Japan. However, in a year or two, I can see Ricochet taking flight in NXT.


7. Kota Ibushi

From Kagoshima, Japan, Kota Ibushi is probably one of the best high-flyers in the Japanese wrestling scene today who is very known for his work in NJPW and DDT.

With thirteen years of wrestling experience, this man shows that he can be a golden star at any time, any place. With his good look, solid character, solid charisma, and his excellent high-flying ability, he would be great for NXT especially in the NXT Championship picture.

Last year, he has competed in the Cruiserweight Classic and NXT. It also seemed like WWE were interested in signing him. However, Kota Ibushi decided not to sign the contract as he wants to compete in Japan. Despite not signing a full-time WWE contract, I could see Kota Ibushi signing an NXT contract similar to what Samoa Joe, Johnny Gargano, and Tommaso Ciampa had before they sign full-time contracts where he gets to be in NXT when needed and gets to compete in Japan as well. It’s a long shot, but whatever the case might be, Kota Ibushi would have been a golden star in NXT.


6. Kento Miyahara

From Fukuoka, Japan, Kento Miyahara is another rising star in the Japanese wrestling scene and possibly the world today who is very known for his work in AJPW.

With nine years of wrestling experience, this is the guy that needs to be looked at as the man has a very bright future ahead of him. With his unique look, solid character, solid charisma, and excellent in-ring ability, he would be perfect for the NXT Championship picture.

I don’t know if NXT has any interest in him or not, but William Regal did head to Japan earlier this year as he attended AJPW and NJPW shows to scout for talent so something tells me that NXT may have an interest in him since he is the top guy in AJPW at the moment. However, I don’t know if Kento Miyahara has any interest in NXT at the moment as he probably wants to revive AJPW to its former glory, but only time will tell. Whether if he ever gets signed by NXT or not, he would be a nice addition to the NXT roster.


5. Naomichi Marufuji

From Saitama, Japan, Naomichi Marufuji is one of the best wrestlers in Japan and possibly the world today who is very known for his work in Pro Wrestling NOAH.

With nineteen years of wrestling experience, this man is a junior genius that is known to be one of the best wrestlers that Japan has to offer today. With his unique look, solid character, solid charisma, and excellent in-ring ability, he would be great for NXT especially in the NXT Championship picture.

Even though he’s probably too old to be in NXT now as he’s in his late thirties, guys like Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Bobby Roode are around that age and even older than that, but yet they’re still signed to NXT. However, just like with XX and Katsuhiko Nakajima, the relationship between IMPACT and NOAH might prevent him from signing with NXT, but if he could, he would be a nice addition to the NXT roster as he is junior genius.


4. Tetsuya Naito

From Tokyo, Japan, Tetsuya Naito is one of the biggest stars in the Japanese wrestling scene today as he’s well known for his work in NJPW.

With eleven years of wrestling experience, this man will do whatever it takes to get to the top. With his good look, excellent character, excellent charisma, and great in-ring ability, he could be a great star and character for NXT with his Los Ingobernables de Japon gimmick.

With NXT trying to sign more Japanese talents, Tetsuya Naito is a man that should be on the list as he has been amazing with his Los Ingobernables gimmick for the past two years. Now, I don’t know if NXT or Tetsuya Naito are interested with each other, but if it ever happens, it will be great. Especially if Tetsuya Naito comes into NXT and teams up with Andrade “Cien” Almas to form Los Ingobernables, that would be magnificent. Tranquilo de sen dai oh!


3. Io Shirai

From Kamakura, Japan, Io Shirai is one of the best women’s wrestlers in the Japanese wrestling scene today who is known for her work in Stardom.

With ten years of wrestling experience, this woman is a genius of the sky that wants to be at the top of women’s wrestling. With her great look, good character, good charisma, and excellent in-ring ability, she would be a great fit for the women’s division in NXT.

Earlier this year, WWE has an interest in signing her and was supposed to be in this year’s Mae Young Classic, but WWE ended up not signing her due to her neck injuries. A shame that it came at the wrong time as it seems like she was very close to signing with the company, but maybe she will have a chance next time. If she were to get signed by NXT, she would be a genius in the sky of the NXT women’s division.


2. Kazuchika Okada

From Anjo, Japan, Kazuchika Okada is probably one of the best wrestlers in the Japanese wrestling scene and possibly the world today who is very known for his work in NJPW.

With thirteen years of wrestling experience, this man will make any company rain as he is one of the best wrestlers in not only Japan, but the entire world. With his great look, excellent character, excellent charisma, and excellent in-ring ability, he would be perfect for NXT in the NXT Championship picture.

WWE has interest in him last year, but he isn’t interested in being in WWE as he wants to stay in NJPW and be the face of the company. So even though we probably won’t see him in NXT, if he wanted to and if NXT could get him, he would be a great addition to NXT as he will make it rain.


1. Kenny Omega

From Transcona, Manitoba, Canada, Kenny Omega is becoming one of the best wrestlers in the Japanese wrestling scene and possibly the world today who is very known for his work in DDT and NJPW.

With seventeen years of wrestling experience, this man will clean up the whole world as he will do whatever it takes to get to the top. With his unique look, great character, great charisma, and excellent in-ring ability, he would be great for NXT in the NXT Championship picture.

Just like with Kazuchika Okada, WWE has interest in him for the past two years, but he hasn’t been interested in WWE as he wants to wrestle in Japan for the rest of his career. There was a time earlier this year where there was a chance he could be in NXT or in WWE, but ended up re-signing with NJPW in the end. Even though it’s very unlikely for him to come into NXT, if he wanted to and if NXT could get him, he would be a great addition to NXT where he can clean up the entire roster.


That is my top ten wrestlers from Japan who I think/want to be in NXT in 2018. Which wrestlers from Japan would you like to see in NXT in 2018? Let me know in the comment section below.

Thank you for reading.

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