UPDATE: Dave Meltzer has commented further saying “WWE did not pay to have Styles and Nakamura in NXT”. It sounds like WWE paid a hefty price for both stars.
UPDATE #2: Tama Tonga’s name has also been floating around as part of the Bullet Club coming over. If this is the case, I also welcome him coming over to WWE, I think he’s untapped potential, he has a very unique look and ties to the business through his dad, Haku. Honestly, other than Yujiro Takahashi, I’d welcome the entire Bullet Club over. But there’s no way you’ll see the Young Bucks in WWE anytime soon, if ever.
UPDATE #3: Bad Luck Fale and Rocky Romero were also apparently negotiating with WWE, however there’s speculation they’re hoping more for a better deal with New Japan. Romero specifically has talked about being a guest trainer at NXT, he is friends with Matt Bloom from when he was Giant Bernard in NJPW. They were listed along with Tama Tonga in a separate post, it seems maybe Tonga falls into the better NJPW deal as well.
UPDATE #4: Shinsuke Nakamura has confirmed to Tokyo Sports that he is indeed going to WWE and will be leaving NJPW at the end of this month. That is huge! So this means for sure he’s dropping the belt to Kenny Omega at the next possible major event. This also makes AJ Styles and Anderson/Gallows far more likely if the most surprising name of the four is now confirmed in Nakamura.
The rumours were circulating last night that a number of New Japan stars gave their notice in preparation to make a WWE roster debut. Some of the names rumoured have included AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and member of the Bullet Club Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows. AJ Styles is apparently set to debut at the Royal Rumble, whether he’s a surprise entrant or a just in a match (better off in the Rumble of course). Shinsuke Nakamura will soon finish his run with the IC title and then head off the NXT or the WWE main roster. And Anderson/Gallows are said to have given their notice as well but it’s unclear whether they’re NXT bound or TNA bound if this is all true.
To make the rumours even more viable though, well-respected and well-trusted names on the “dirt sheets” have followed through with this, including Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer and Court Bauer of MLW Radio.
Simply put, this could be an absolutely huge gain for WWE at a time where they’re desperate for top stars in the company with all the injuries. This should be an awesome grab of talent if the WWE has indeed recruited these four names. Except there’s one problem:
IT’S WWE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HERE!!!
One of the first articles I ever posted here was about the rumours a couple months ago specifically about an AJ Styles WWE run (you can check it out here). And I still stand by what I said. I have zero trust in WWE making AJ Styles anything but another member of the illustrious WWE Midcard Club. He’s a Southerner, in his late 30s and is one of the best wrestlers on the planet right now. WWE is an expert at screwing up people like this.
Shinsuke Nakamura is the biggest one I have zero trust in WWE on. Unless he’s only in NXT (which he shouldn’t be unless NXT becomes it’s own brand that replaces SmackDown, which also will never happen), WWE will fuck with him immensely. If you are WWE and you get Shinsuke Nakamura, you change nothing. You don’t change his entrance, his attire, his moveset, his demeanor, his character, hell if you can get the rights to his current theme music, do it! But you won’t WWE, you know why? Because you can’t leave well enough alone, you have to “make” guys with your version of them, you can’t accept the fact that some wrestlers get over on their own and not in WWE. If Shinsuke Nakamura doesn’t have that same haircut and the same swagger, WWE’s gone and fucked with him, because nothing should change about him. The current Shinsuke Nakamura is a worldwide star in the wrestling business.
Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows are the toughest ones to factor in. I really have a hard time seeing Gallows coming back to WWE specifically because he’s affiliated with CM Punk and we all know just how petty WWE is. But if they are WWE bound, NXT seems like a bad fit for them. When I watch how Anderson/Gallows wrestle their tag matches, they don’t look like a team that would be losing to the likes of Cass/Enzo, Blake/Murphy and yes, even Gable/Jordan. So if they’re coming, I’d prefer them already challenging the Usos and such.
However this all could lead to one big faction in WWE: The Bullet Club, or specifically the Balor Club. Finn Balor (aka Prince Devitt) was the original leader of the Bullet Club, can you imagine a WWE version of the faction? Him, Anderson/Gallows, maybe even AJ Styles? And you could add within WWE’s system to it. The WWE needs a major faction, not this League of Nations bullshit, we need a faction that we can conceivably believe are a threat. If you book the Balor Club solid from the start, then you’ve got one.
My heart wants to believe that this will not only happen but won’t be fucked with, but my brain tells me otherwise. I don’t trust WWE to handle guys like Styles, Anderson and Gallows, especially with a Balor Club faction. But most of all, I do not trust them with Shinsuke Nakamura. I’m willing to see what they do only because they haven’t fucked with Hideo Itami yet (he’s also been gone almost a year now though). But if he’s anything different than his current character, I will not be happy.