Shinsuke Nakamura On Great Muta Match: "It's A Real Forbidden Door"

Shinsuke Nakamura on facing Great Muta in NOAH, which WWE initially pushed back on.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. The Great Muta

Pro Wrestling NOAH announce this past weekend that WWE's Shinsuke Nakamura was crossing over to the company as part of Keiji Mutoh's retirement tour, with the former Intercontinental Champion announced as Mutoh's opponent for its 1 January show, The New Year 2023. It'll be one of the last times the 59-year-old works as The Great Muta before he draws the curtain on his wrestling career later that month - and something those involved had to work hard to make happen.

Tokyo Sports reports (via translation) that NOAH had earmarked Nakamura as somebody it wanted to book for Mutoh's retirement run as soon as the legend made the decision to retire. Initially, they were met with disagreement from WWE, though "tenacious" negotiations continued once Vince McMahon stepped down as Chairman and CEO in July.

The two sides then reached an agreement on 26 October. Now, the bout is official.


Nakamura revealed he was spurred on by people within WWE, calling the situation "a real 'Forbidden Door'", nodding to AEW's working relationship with NJPW:-

“There were people in WWE who pushed me forward. I opened a door that no one could break in.'s a real 'Forbidden Door'."

Continuing, Nakamura called the bout a meeting of "fate", adding that he worked hard to make it happen:-

"I think it's really fate, and I worked hard to make it happen. I've fought Keiji Muto twice in the past, but this was my first encounter with Great Muta, the first and last. I definitely think that I am in the midst of the miracle of the times."

Nakamura has not wrestled in Japan on a show promoted by a native company since January 2016, when he left NJPW for WWE. His last tie with Mutoh came in October 2008.

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Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.