Being a 14-year veteran in NJPW, Nakamura easily transitioned to life in WWE.
However, while many were clamoring for him to immediately appear on the main roster, Nakamura spent a year in NXT before debuting on SmackDown in April 2017. The reason for Nakamura's 12-month journey is NXT was to help him adjust to WWE's live television and boost the profile of the brand. But, as Nakamura tells it, he didn't need the adjustment period.
"I came from Japan and Japanese wrestling style," Nakamura told Steve from Going In Raw. "I didn't need to adjust to wrestle at NXT. I could do my stuff and everything. I did adjust a little to NXT style. We have a producer for the matches and teachers for class. Almost like...school. Wrestling school. Biggest wrestling school in the world. I felt, I didn't need to adjust at all."
Nakamura explains that adjusting to life on SmackDown Live may have been harder than adjusting to NXT due to the philosophical differences between the two companies.
"SmackDown, biggest difference is live TV show. We don't have time to show everything. We have story. We need to pick the most important part of the story. 'What is the purpose of this match?' That's kind of the biggest difference." Nakamura continued, "Also, fans are different. NXT fans love wrestling. Not only WWE, NTX, but Indie and International scene. Massive fans come to NXT show. NXT wrestles at kind of night house. Cool kind of vibes. I enjoy everywhere. I always try to wrestle the same. 80,000 people, 50,000 people, 100 people. I always try to be the same. Same energy."
Nakamura's WWE contract is up in early 2019. He recently revealed that his next contract decision may come down to which company can offer better suffering.
You can listen to Nakamura's full interview with Going in Raw below.