Shinsuke Nakamura, who will make his in-ring debut on the main roster at Backlash tonight, is constantly referred to as the “King of Strong Style,” with this term being used on the air many times leading up to Nakamura’s debut against Dolph Ziggler. So what exactly is strong style, and what makes Nakamura the king of it?
“Strong style” essentially refers to the idea of approaching professional wrestling like a combat sport, using martial arts tactics to take out your opponent and focusing on strikes and submissions. With strong style, you won’t see a lot of “flips” and other fancy moves that sometimes characterize WWE matches; wrestlers using this style try to approach the match with realism, as if it were an actual fight.
This strong style was popularized in professional wrestling in New Japan Pro Wrestling, largely by wrestlers with actual backgrounds in martial arts like Shinya Hashimoto, Keiji Mutoh, and Antonio Inoki.
Around the time that Shinsuke Nakamura turned heel in New Japan Pro Wrestling, his gimmick became the fact that he was going to bring back strong style, and he declared himself the king of it. Nakamura at this time set his sights on Antonio Inoki and declared his intentions of winning the IWGP Heavyweight Championship using strong style. Shinsuke Nakamura, too, had a background in mixed martial arts before becoming a proefssional wrestler.
Strong style might come across to some viewers as a bit stiff, but that’s part of the point: it’s more of a mix of MMA fighting and wrestler than a typical WWE match.
Tonight, viewers will get a look a strong style when Shinsuke Nakamura goes up against Dolph Ziggler at Backlash. Though Shinsuke Nakamura built up a fan base at NXT, this is the first time he has ever wrestled as part of the main roster.