Shinsuke Nakamura def. NXT Champion Samoa Joe
With acclaimed violinist Lee England Jr. playing him to the ring, Shinsuke Nakamura was in an element all his own as he prepared for his NXT Championship showdown with Samoa Joe. But for all of Nakamura’s pre-match theatrics, the submission specialist was minimalist in his entrance, stomping into the Barclays Center with supreme confidence.
Though this was the first time these two competitors have ever squared off, they wasted no time going after each other. They went to the mat early on, Joe gaining the upper hand with his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills. Both champion and challenger were cautious, yet aggressive in charging into battle. The bout spilled to the outside, where Nakamura drove his knee into the NXT Champion at full force. However, it had little effect on Joe, who got back in the ring and launched his nearly 300-pound frame through the ropes and to the arena floor, crushing Nakamura into the ringside barricade.
Joe stayed on the attack, keeping Nakamura on the mat, wrenching at his neck and arm, trying to prevent The King of Strong Style from striking. The submission specialist lived up to his name in Brooklyn, working over all of the challenger’s limbs with hold after hold. Nakamura found a burst of energy and stopped the champion in his tracks with a spinning kick to the head, earning himself a brief respite.
Nakamura tried to go for a sequence of moves that usually spells the end for his opponents, a knee in the corner followed by an inverted exploder, but could not get the NXT Champion up. Joe saw an opening and attempted to go for the Muscle Buster, but instead ran into a kick from The King of Strong Style. Nakamura survived a slugfest with Samoa Joe, locking on a Cross Armbreaker that transitioned into a triangle hold, only for the champion to stand right up and trap him in a Texas Cloverleaf.
The challenger survived a brutal knee to the face and the Coquina Clutch, continuing his quest for the NXT Championship. Nakamura, in an impressive feat of strength, tossed the near 300-pound champion across the ring with a German Suplex, but it did not put Joe down. Joe threw everything he had at the challenger, including a devastating Muscle Buster, but Nakamura kicked out at the last moment. The NXT Champion threw his hands up in disbelief, wondering what he would have to do to put The King of Strong Style away.
But there was no stopping Shinsuke Nakamura on this night. The King of Strong Style got back to his feet and clobbered Joe with the Kinshasa. The submission specialist kicked out, but Nakamura answered with a thunderous second Kinshasa that got the three-count and blew the roof off of the sold-out Barclays Center. After a grueling war with Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura now has earned the right to call himself by two names: The King of Strong Style and NXT Champion!