Notes on Kushida’s look and cruiserweight championship run

Apr 21, 2021 - by Marc Middleton

One of the hot topics on social media coming out of this week’s WWE NXT episode was how NXT Cruiserweight Champion Kushida wrestled with no boots on.

Kushida has recently moved away from the Back To The Future look in favor of a more MMA-inspired look. This week he was working in trunks, like last week, but with no boots on. Fans on social media have responded to the changes with a significant amount of positive feedback.

It’s believed that Kushida has taken on more of a look inspired by Japanese pro wrestler and MMA fighter Kazushi Sakuraba. Kushida learned to grapple from Sakuraba, and named his Sakuraba Lock (Hoverboard Lock) after the UFC Hall of Famer.

This week’s NXT saw Kushida issue an Open Challenge for his title, saying he won the strap from Santos Escobar’s Open Challenge last week, so he wanted to return the favor. Oney Lorcan answered the challenge but came up short. After the match, Kushida was attacked by Legado del Fantasma until NXT Tag Team Champions MSK made the save. That led to WWE announcing a six-man match for next Tuesday’s show with Kushida, Wes Lee and Nash Carter vs. Escobar, Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde.

As seen below, Kushida took to Twitter after NXT and issued a statement on being champion.

“I’m the NEW NXT cruiserweight champion,” Kushida wrote. “I want to make this belt something that is truly valuable and meaningful in this business. I respect the former champion Santos. It has increased the value of this title for a year. I will make history from today.

“I want to be a bridge that connects Japan and the U.S.A.Many great things have been imported from Japan to the United States. Sony revolutionized electronics. Nissan, Toyota, and Honda have brought high quality automobiles. Ichiro Suzuki and Shohei Ohtani have changed the way baseball is played in America. And I will try my best to do the same for wrestling! Any brand,Any place,It doesn’t matter who challenges me.I’m the leader of WWE cruiser weight.and I’m here in NXT. I will continue to challenge ANY competitor. Thanks [watch emoji] [left pointing hand emoji]”

Stay tuned for more on Kushida and next week’s NXT. You can see his full tweet below, along with video from last night’s show:

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