Kushida has arrived in NXT, and the debut of the Japanese sensation opens up a raft of exciting match options for the WWE Universe. Already a legend in his native Japan, Kushida is an undefeated MMA star who held the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship six times. He's also a two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion with Alex Shelley as the Time Splitters.
With the wealth of talent (both from the indie scene and brought through the Performance Center) on board, there has never been a more exciting time for a star like Kushida to arrive in NXT. The list of potential stellar matchups is endless, but here are a few we're anticipating the most.
10 Matt Riddle
The King of Bros is relatively new to NXT, but has already established himself as one of the black and gold brand's top prospects with impressive outings against Velveteen Dream and Kassius Ohno. A match against Kushida would give fans the opportunity to see two legitimate MMA combatants go head-to-head in the squared circle.
Riddle has never had an opponent who could hold their own against his striking game, but Kushida would more than measure up. The Japanese veteran's in-ring experience would bring the impressive Riddle's game to another level.
9 Keith Lee
At 6'3" and 330lbs, former Pro Wrestling Guerilla Champion Keith Lee is a powerful force in the ring. But what makes the Wichita Falls native even more impressive is his incredible speed and athletic ability.
Lee is as likely to hit an opponent with a corkscrew plancha as a sit-out powerbomb, and that mix of speed and power makes for a mouth-watering prospect when you put it opposite Kushida. The duo could go toe to toe for strikes as well as flying through the air towards each other.
8 Roderick Strong
The Undisputed Era member may be dealing with his issues with faction leader Adam Cole (more on him in a moment) right now, but a match between Strong and Kushida would be one that fans of both indies and WWE would be thrilled to see.
Prior to arriving in WWE, Strong had an impressive run in Ring of Honor and TNA, where his stiff and technical wrestling style captured the hearts of fans. Given the chance to bring their impressive combined technical talents to bear, Strong and Kushida could put on a mat classic.
7 Humberto Carillo
Like Kushida, Carillo has made a name for himself as a high-flyer and tag team specialist outside the United States, capturing tag team gold in PCLL and LYC as well as winning the WWA World Middleweight Championship.
Putting the two in the ring together would provide a clash of lucha and Japanese wrestling styles, a high-flying extravaganza sure to have the fans on the edge of their seats.
6 Adam Cole
If there is one NXT star who is headed straight for the top, it is Adam Cole - and if there is one man who can stop his rapid ascent, it just might be Kushida. The Japanese sensation is the highest profile signing to NXT since Cole himself, and a match between the pair would be an instant main event.
Both men are talented grapplers and put on top quality matches against most opponents, but their combined star power and story-telling ability would make this a must-watch - and probably will very soon.
5 Marcel Barthel
The second generation German superstar has more than a decade's experience in the ring and would provide another exciting clash of styles in a match with Kushida. Barthel, who is the son of German wrestler Axel Dieter, has won titles all around Europe. He was listed among Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of 2016.
A proficient technical wrestler with an impressive arsenal of strikes, Barthel would give Kushida a very different challenge to most NXT prospects.
4 Velveteen Dream
Kushida is an in-ring highlight reel with an arsenal of show-stopping moves, but when it comes to grabbing the spotlight in NXT, the conversation stops with the reigning North American Champion.
Once the bell goes, Dream is no slouch between the ropes either. He handed Kushida's fellow MMA alum Matt Riddle his first loss, and his mix of high-flying and high-impact moves would bring out the best in the Japanese star.
3 Johnny Gargano
If Kushida wants to get to the top of NXT, he will have to go through the man who currently sits on the throne. Johnny Gargano has transitioned through Johnny Wrestling to become Johnny Champion, and he has done so through a series of five-star matches.
A match against Kushida would carry the weight of marking out a top dog in NXT; these two in-ring experts would make the battle as important as the result.
2 Jaxson Ryker
While Kushida's MMA background and arsenal of kicks and strikes makes him a force to be reckoned with, The heavy hitter of the Forgotten Sons might just be able to go face to face with the Japanese sensation.
A former soldier and current in-ring wrecking machine, Ryker has never met an opponent he cannot stop in their tracks through sheer power and force of will. If he wants to put the brakes on Kushida, the popular fighter will have to take his game to the next level. It'll be a thrill to watch.
1 Tommaso Ciampa
Injury or not, Tommaso Ciampa is one of the top stars in NXT. He ruled the roost with "Goldie" for 237 days. If and when he returns from his latest injury setback, it seems likely he will have his sights set on the top spot once again.
If Kushida works his way towards the top of the pile, the Blackheart and the former NJPW star will put on a battle no one will soon forget. What an electrifying match that would be.