Current champion praises Shinsuke Nakamura for stepping through the forbidden door

Shinsuke Nakamura appeared at Pro Wrestling NOAH
Shinsuke Nakamura appeared at Pro Wrestling NOAH's New Year show

New Day star and current NXT Tag Team Champion Xavier Woods recently sent a heartfelt message to Shinsuke Nakamura for stepping through the figurative forbidden door and wrestling his first match outside WWE since 2016.

The King of Strong Style wrestled legendary Japanese star The Great Muta at Pro Wrestling NOAH's New Year event. Muta, aged 59, is currently on his retirement tour and is competing against talent from various promotions across the globe.

The hard-hitting bout came to an end when Nakamura, taking a page out of Muta's book, sprayed his opponent with Green Mist before hitting a Kinshasa and taking the win.

Apart from it being a big-time match between two icons of Japanese wrestling, this match also gained a mythical status for featuring a prominent WWE wrestler. This was seen as the former United States Champion stepping through the forbidden door, a term used in wrestling to signify cross-promotional activities between two companies.

This sentiment was shared by Xavier Woods, who congratulated Shinsuke Nakamura for his match against The Great Muta on Twitter.

"Another reason @ShinsukeN is incredible. Congrats to both him and #GreatMuta. Awesome way to kick off the wrestling in 2023," Xavier wrote.
Another reason @ShinsukeN is incredible. Congrats to both him and #GreatMuta. Awesome way to kick off the wrestling in 2023…

While Shinsuke Nakamura is expected to make his WWE return in time for Royal Rumble season, Muta will be featured on New Japan Pro Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdon 17 show later on January 4. He will also team up with AEW's Sting and Darby Allin at an upcoming show as part of his retirement tour.

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Shinsuke Nakamura is not the only WWE Superstar to step through the forbidden door recently

Shinsuke Nakamura might have made headlines by stepping through the forbidden door to wrestle The Great Muta for Pro Wrestling NOAH, but he was not the first WWE Superstar to do so in recent times.

The OC (Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows) made their unexpected returns to the Stamford-based promotion on the October 10 episode of RAW. This was highly surprising, mostly because Anderson was (and still is) the IWGP Never Openweight Champion. He even defended the title in December and will do so against Tama Tonga at the upcoming Wrestle Kingdom 17 show.

I just had one of the greatest matches in @njpw1972 history. I’m the greatest Never Open-weight Champion of all time.What an incredible run I’m on….@Tama_Tonga , I’ll see you at -#WrestleKingdom in the Tokyo Dome, chump..

The event will be quite a sight, especially because it will feature wrestlers from both WWE and AEW, with Kenny Omega taking on Will Osprey.

Meanwhile, Sasha Banks' status has still not been addressed by WWE, and she has not publicly been given a release. Banks is heavily rumored to be facing Kairi for the IWGP Women's title at Wrestle Kingdom 17, which would make for quite the forbidden door-shattering event in itself.

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Edited by Jacob Terrell