I’ve seen a lot of people who are saying how much they love this feud in the feedback thread, but I’d really like someone to explain what they love about it. I’m not saying you cant enjoy whatever you want. We all have different tastes, but I’m curious to know some thoughts behind what exactly people are enjoying.

To me, knowing of their history together and what they’ve both gone through to get to this point…to possibly be the main event of Wrestlemania, I look at this feud as a fail. I see the build and it feels very weak and the simplest of simple that they’ve done many times between 2 babyfaces. The keep telling us that its a “dream match” without talking about WHY it is a dream match.

For me, I wanted to see sit down interviews or video packages, with AJ & Nakamura telling us about their journey to the WWE. Talk about the obstacles they had to go through. Talk about the match they’ve already had and wanting to bring that to America. I dont want to see them fighting Rusev every week and then Shelton Benjamin randomly having a match with Nakamura.

I dont want to see Nakamura joking around about how Styles has no confidence. I dont want to see them arguing over who does or doesnt need the others help. Its weak as shit and just smells of laziness. So please, someone who is enjoying it, I’d really like to hear what exactly you are enjoying about it.

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Right now, it’s the closest to NJPW Nakamura that I’ve seen him look since his WWE main roster debut. He’s just playing mind games with him, getting under his skin. I know it’s not ideal since WWE will never acknowledge their past history in New Japan but I don’t mind seeing what I’m seeing right now.

The buildup is really weak!! It seems like the WWE is relying on the fans to already know the backstory behind the match. Like John and Wai have been saying, for awhile, why not have interviews with subtitles and interpreters. I guarantee wrestlers, such as Nakamura, Asuka, or Angle :joy::joy:, for that matter, would be able to communicate their message way more clearer.

I appreciate that answer, because it further points out my personal issue with the feud. I am not familiar with NJPW Nakamura. I didnt become a regular New Japan viewer, until the 2016 G1, which is after these 2 were both out of the company. I’ve seen nothing of this Nakamura in his current WWE run so far. Where were his mind games again Jinder, when Jinder was nearly race baiting him?

I can get behind the idea of Styles being emotional and Nakamura being chill, but the way Nakamura went about getting it across on Smackdown yesterday, was extremely cringe worthy.

I am excited for this match for 2 reasons:

I think this is the closest thing we will get to Strong Style in WWE and I’m hopeful it is like the Nakamura debut match against Sami.
As a big fan of Nakamura who is frustrated with his presentation on the main roster, this is a moment that can propel him to stardom by closing the show winning over AJ. The moment and the crowd singing his song to end the night would be a Mania moment and a great high to end the night.

That said, those are personal reasons I’m excited and I agree the actual build has been meh. I know it will not happen but I’d love for Nakamura to say to AJ next week “You know I have beat you once, I came to WWE to beat you again”. That’s it! Simple!

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I am not familiar with Nakamura from NJPW either, I became a fan with his run in NXT. It seemed like NXT knew how to book him, and how to work with the language barrier in a way that still opened him up to fans. I think as part of Smackdown they lost it but now are getting it back.

Shinsuke should always be a man where actions speak louder than words and I think they are finally seeing that and building him as such. I agree with @wai0937 who pointed out that video packages would be a way to enhance the feud going into Mania.

I was losing hope that WWE would build this correctly but I like what was done last night and have high hopes that WWE will give the match the time and respect it deserves.

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This entire thing is based off having a match somewhere else. It’s basically Hogan/Piper but with younger and more mobile workers.

That’s why the entire thing is called a dream match.

It’s also taking a backseat to Bryans return and Shanes anger towards the SamOwens Swat Team.

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You’re probably on point R.R Poster, but if we took the 14 matches and said ‘which one could survive with the least build?’, it would be this one. Mania is a variety show and the people watching are coming from all different perspectives and this match caters to those that are familiar with their NJPW history. However, even if a Smackdown fan knew nothing of this history, he or she knows these 2 dudes and it is Rumble winner vs. the (a) champion for the title which should be the #1 focus/story line.

While I don’t disagree with you that more could be done here, it’s not like they’re gonna replay the Wrestle Kingdom 10 match on Smackdown. Heck at least the word Japan is at least being uttered as over the years they mostly treated a wrestler as ‘unemployed’ when we knew so and so was in TNA for several years. I think if you combed over all 33 of the Manias, you’d be pretty shocked on how many matches had little build and even little time at the actual Mania (for example, half of the matches of WrestleMania 2 were under 6 minutes). Heck, I might even say that quite a bit of Mania from 2 years ago seemed ‘out of place’ with the TV product.

I will respectfully disagree with many of the Postmarks and our 2 Postmaster Generals that this match could (will) go on last. I would say there is ‘NO chance in hell … you’ve got NO chance in hell’ this match is the closer. I will hop back on here at eat Crow (Sting?) if it is.

I do agree with your sentiment in a general sense that the small talk bickering between these two ‘ain’t building the match’. I’d get back to basics and have the story be Rumble Winner vs. Champion with Naka telling A.J. ‘I beat you a few years ago with the title on the line’ and A.J. chiming in with ‘throwing a couple of dudes over the top rope sure as hell isn’t the same as pinning the Phenomenal 1’.

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It shocks me WWE wouldn’t use more reference to Japan given the current climate of wrestling. It’s a widely held belief that guys want to make it to WWE. They are the big leagues. So why not throw some reference to Japan and provide context and backstories for matches like AJ and Nakamura or the Club.

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My main reaction to complaints about the build to Nakamura/Styles is that Austin/Rock at X7 is generally regarded as one of the finest matches in WWF history and it had a shitty build that involved trading finishers and a nonsensical Debra-manages-The Rock angle that was the very definition of overthinking things. Granted, they had 1 good sit-down and the “My Way” intro made it look like a 10 star build, but, yeah, the Styles/Nakamura lead-in has been thankfully simple (we are all watching the same Smackdown that managed to overbook Styles/Owens, right?) and hands-off as to not overshadow what they’ll end up doing at WM34.


There is a big difference in my opinion. Rock/Austin wasnt being billed as a dream match. They were 2 guys, who became main event players in the WWE and only had a rivalry in the WWE. We all knew of the rivalry we had, so I dont believe it needed much build. They had already wrestled at WM 15. They had already feuded over the IC Title before that.

With Styles/Nakamura, we’re being told its a dream match, with no reason as to why its a dream match. Sure, I watch New Japan, maybe you watch New Japan. But the majority of their audience does not. So they should be doing something to tell that audience why exactly its a dream match. Its not as if these 2 guys have gone out there on the main roster and had classic match, after classic match and we’re all clamoring for this, because of those matches.


I also feel that, while I adore both these guys, we may be over hyping things too much. I don’t doubt it’ll be great but we’re treating it like a 5 star classic before it’s even happened. It’s gonna suffer from the “Savage/Steamboat” syndrome. I remember when Punk faced Jericho at Mania and everyone was saying that was going to be the Savage/Steamboat of that year, it was good but not a classic. I hope they prove my doubts wrong and that they completely steal the show.

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This match inevitably will be a let down because WWE isn’t letting AJ and Nakamura go out a perform a 5 Star match we’d see in New Japan. They will still need to work in the WWE style (I hope I’m wrong).

And yes, not referencing the match in Japan is a huge mistake. Especially as AJ lost and came to WWE soon after and became a champion and Nakamura followed suit and now is haunting him again. That story - in a sit down with AJ - would be all it takes to add context to “Dream (re)match”


For those who want to review their first encounter, New Japan have posted it for free.

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Thanks!! Are John and Wai reviewing this at all before the Mania match?

Caveat here, I don’t love the build to this match at all but I’m nonetheless excited for it, if that makes sense.

See, Wrestlemania to me is no longer a wrestling show. Well, it, it IS, but it’s more primarily a variety show where everything is about wrestling in a roundabout way. It’s a seven hour show, it has to be dynamic and have something for everyone. Battle royal marks get to see two of the fuckin’ things. People who like the women get their angles, people who like big heavyweight brawls get Lesnar/Reigns, people who like feelgood comeback stories get Bryan, [eople who like bloody hardcore action packed brawls get to watch something else, etc etc etc. Nakamura and Styles isn’t for everyone, not everyone knows the whole backstory, but those who DO or at least have SOME inkling of it are obviously going to appreciate the whole situation.

Now, despite the fact that the show needs to have “something for everyone” it also has to entertain all the eyeballs on the action and that’s where I think Nakamura and Styles will excel. They’re drawing a different subset of people but will PROBABLY do wonders to get Nakamura some legitimacy and show everyone what Styles can do for the umpteenth time. It’ll be a good match, maybe not NJPW good but good, and I think everyone will be happy they saw it once it happens. That’s really why I’m really into it. That’s 100% why I wanna see it. No amount of talking is going to convince people who didn’t already care about the match to care about it. Well, maybe it would, but I think the best build for this match is just to have the frickin match and show everyone what Nakamura is all about.

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