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NXT TakeOver 31: The long road to Kushida's debut at the prestige event

Kushida is a six-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
Kushida is a six-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
Sanjay Dutta
Modified 05 Oct 2020, 11:47 IST

This Sunday at NXT TakeOver 31, Kushida will make his long-awaited debut at the event in a match against The Velveteen Dream.

The Japanese Superstar signed with WWE way back in April 2019. However, injuries and questionable booking decisions have denied him a TakeOver match almost a year and a half on from his debut in NXT. 

Widely regarded as one of the best technical wrestlers in the world, Kushida was one of the most renowned faces in the independent circuit before he arrived in WWE.

Apart from being a six-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and a two-time winner of the prestigious Best of the Super Juniors tournament, Kushida also held titles across the globe. Most notably, the ROH World Television Championship.

To call Kushida's run so far in NXT underwhelming would be an understatement. There was a lot of hype surrounding Kushida's arrival to the black and gold brand. However, all of that fizzled out within months as Triple H & Co. seemed clueless on where to slot the Japanese Superstar in.

While Kushida did rake up a couple of victories on TV and was undefeated for a while, he wasn't a part of a major feud/angle.

It's been a frustrating road in NXT so far for Kushida

Following his mini-feud against Walter, Kushida would suffer an injury, which would put him on the shelf for a few weeks. Kushida wasn't the same following this injury and struggled to find a footing on the already-bloated NXT roster.

It also didn't help that the creative heads at NXT kept putting him in matches of little to no consequence or character building. Kushida had started to become just another member on the roster, which was quite sad considering how skilled a performer he is.

However, the recent COVID-19 outbreak has been a blessing in disguise for the Tokyo-native. This outbreak has resulted in a lot of Superstars being taken off TV.


But, on the flip side, it has helped some Superstars to once again come to the forefront. While his feud against The Velveteen Dream isn't the hottest feud on NXT TV at the moment, it is better than him appearing in matches that do nothing to propel his character.

For the first time in his run on NXT, Kushida is a part of a substantial feud. The Velveteen Dream might not be everyone's cup of tea right now, however, one can't deny the talent that the Washington-native possesses.

He is sure to bring out the best in Kushida and re-introduce the audience to the man who was admired during his time in the independent circuit. While it's been one long road for Kushida to finally make his TakeOver debut, a win over an established name like Dream would make the wait worthwhile. 

Published 03 Oct 2020, 20:04 IST
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