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Kenny Omega remains arguably the biggest star in wrestling outside WWE, and that may remain the case for the foreseeable future after he offered his opinion on Shinsuke Nakamura‘s WWE run.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated‘s Justin Barrasso, Omega lamented WWE’s failure to maximize Nakamura’s potential:
“I’m happy for the response that he’s getting, of course, and all of us in New Japan knew when he left that he was going to get over with his charisma. But when I see Nakamura in WWE, it’s hard for me to say he’s done anything compelling in-ring since he’s been there, which is a shame. It will just take the one right story and the one right moment and then people will be captivated by everything that he does. Right now, he hasn’t had that.”
Omega went on to elaborate how “everything in WWE is super over-booked.” He believes Nakamura has suffered because other wrestlers in the company have a more structured style of wrestling, whereas Nakamura thrives more on spontaneity and responding to the moment.
Omega is essentially voicing the same critiques many have had with WWE since Nakamura arrived in January 2016.
He had an excellent match with Sami Zayn at NXT TakeOver: Dallas in April 2016, which offered WWE fans a taste of what to expect from Nakamura.
Since then, however, WWE has done little to make fans care about Nakamura. His NXT title reign was underwhelming and relied almost solely on name recognition alone; WWE expected fans to care about Nakamura based on his reputation without actually bringing anything else to the table.
That strategy could work if WWE allowed Nakamura to operate outside of what has become the typical WWE style of wrestling. Instead, he has become just like every other wrestler in the company, and his status as The King of Strong Style is essentially a meaningless distinction.
WWE could have big plans for Nakamura in 2018, but there’s no question it has dropped the ball so far with the former three-time IWGP world champion.