By just about every measure, Shinsuke Nakamura was risky business for WWE. Symbiotically, WWE was risky business for Shinsuke Nakamura.
Despite his obvious and incredible talents, the 'King of Strong Style' was not traditionally the sort of performer that would be given the freedom to get over using the things he could do, and based on prior precedent would likely be forced to face certain harmful prejudices highlighting areas in which he struggled.
Truthfully, there have been some early wobbles since his enigmatic arrival on SmackDown Live! two nights after WrestleMania.
Subtle alterations such as a font change on his TitanTron and the ugly 'Vibe' t-shirt added to WWEShop.com were palatable enough, but a sudden over-reliance on referring to the 'King of Strong Style' as 'The Artist Known As...' and the befuddling decision to have him speak with his mouthguard in were altogether more troubling.
Akin to AJ Styles in experience and pedigree, Nakamura could have emerged immediately onto the main roster after signing in early 2016, but the decision to afford him some seasoning on NXT provided a year's worth of matches and moment that established an entirely separate legacy for the New Japan icon.
With a pay-per-view promoted entirely around his maiden encounter with Dolph Ziggler, the company would be well served to review where things have already gone so right. Amassing a fabulous selection of encounters up and down the developmental brand, Shinsuke was a 'WWE Superstar' the moment he stepped out on to the NXT stage.