Mikey Nicholls is poised to be a major player

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After a two-year stint in NXT, Mikey Nicholls made his return to NJPW in February. While his current run is still in its infant stages, Nicholls has already made a major impact in his short time back.

Nicholls is no stranger to the Japanese wrestling scene, having spent five years in Pro Wrestling NOAH as part of The Mighty Don’t Kneel with Shane Haste. The duo became two-time GHC Tag Team Champions, was named Tag Team of the Year by Tokyo Sports magazine in 2013 and also appeared for NJPW at Wrestle Kingdom 9 in a winning effort.

TMDK was eventually signed to NXT in 2016, wrestling as Nick Miller and Shane Thorne under the slightly altered team name, TM-61. With teams such as The Authors of Pain, The Revival and DIY on the NXT roster at the time, TM-61 was a big addition for an already loaded division. In the second annual Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, they made it all the way to the finals before being eliminated by The Authors of Pain at NXT TakeOver: Toronto.

Despite not winning the tournament, the pair received a shot at the NXT Tag Team Titles a few months later in Australia. While they were unsuccessful, they put on a solid match against DIY and seemed set to have multiple title opportunities in the future. Unfortunately, Shane Thorne would be sidelined extensively with a knee injury.

Shortly after Thorne’s return, the Aussies developed a nastier attitude—now under the name “The Mighty “—as they began feuding with the likes of Heavy Machinery and The Street Profits. At the end of the year, Miller left NXT.

Two months later, he—under the name “Mad” Mikey Nicholls—was confirmed to be returning to New Japan for the first time in four years. Not only was he listed as a New Japan Cup participant but he was added to Chaos as Rocky Romero’s personal recruit given their history at the LA Dojo.

Although Nicholls’ return match resulted in a six-man tag loss in which Romero was pinned, he defeated Bullet Club member HIKULEO to advance to the second round of the New Japan Cup. Doing so meant that his second round opponent would be fellow Chaos member and former four-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada. He followed up on his first round victory by scoring the winning fall in three straight tag matches—all of them against a team with Okada—with a Mikey Bomb, adding to his momentum ahead of his date with “The Rainmaker”.

In what was only Nicholls’ second singles match for New Japan, he earned main event honors against Okada. Also impressive was the fact that Nicholls dominated much of the match, splitting Okada’s chest open and acting as the hot-tempered aggressor. It wasn’t until the latter parts of the match that Okada mounted a formal comeback, countering two Mikey Bomb attempts to into a discus Rainmaker and another Rainmaker to put him away.

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Nicholls has established himself among American and Japanese fans over the years. From the strong showings Nicholls has put on since returning to NJPW along with his previous accomplishments, he is more than set to thrive in the months—and possibly years—to come.

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