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Nakamura says Muta NOAH match wouldn't have happened under old WWE regime

WWE's Shinsuke Nakamura is facing Great Muta for Pro Wrestling NOAH this Sunday.
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WWE star Shinsuke Nakamura is heading home to Japan to face The Great Muta for Pro Wrestling NOAH this weekend -- but it's a match that wouldn't be happening if Vince McMahon was still in charge of WWE.

In a Japanese-language interview with Encount ahead of facing Muta, Nakamura said the match only became possible after McMahon retired from WWE:

It was something that would never have happened under the previous structure of the WWE... Vince [McMahon] stepped down in the summer, and I was advised by people within the company that it might be possible now. Even so, I thought it would be difficult, but I spoke directly to Triple H. When the decision was actually made, I was shaken.

There was a big change in the WWE between when Mutoh announced his retirement and when the match was decided. Vince, who was the symbol of everything, was retiring, and that was something that no one could believe. Everything changes in America when the top changes. At that time, there was a feeling that many things would change in the future. One of the changes that occurred to me was this. The fact that ‘no’ became ‘yes’ gave me a boost.

Nakamura vs. Muta is happening at NOAH's The New Year this Sunday (January 1, 2023). The show will air live on Wrestle Universe.

The match is part of Keiji Mutoh's retirement tour. Mutoh have his final match as the Great Muta character on Sunday, January 22, teaming with Sting & Darby Allin in a six-man tag team bout. Mutoh will then have his final match at the Tokyo Dome on Tuesday, February 21.

Nakamura was part of a five-way ladder match for the Intercontinental title at WWE's Madison Square Garden house show on Monday night. He most recently wrestled on television when he lost to Santos Escobar in the first round of the SmackDown World Cup tournament.