Tag Archives: NJPW

This Week In Wrestling – 5/16/16

Adam Rose Arrested for Domestic Abuse
Adam Rose Arrested for Domestic Abuse

Adam Rose was recently arrested for domestic battery and tampering of a witness charges in Florida. I don’t want to go into details since I’m not into reporting these kinds of details, but since the arrest, WWE has suspended him indefinitely and has since gone to trial for it and isn’t seeing any jail time.

It’s sad that we’ve all been for getting this guy something to do, maybe bringing back the Leo Kruger gimmick, at least something different than the Mongoose bullshit he’s had in the Social Outcasts. However after all this…yeah, I’m sorry but I can’t defend this. Expect to see him getting released soon.

New Leader of the Bullet Club
New Leader of the Bullet Club

We all thought Kenny Omega was the leader of Bullet Club, but it appears a new man has stepped into the role in Adam Cole. Interrupting the ROH World Title match between Jay Lethal and Colt Cabana at the Global Wars show, the Young Bucks came out, causing chaos before the lights went out and came back on, revealing Adam Cole as the newest member of the Bullet Club. We’ve also learned after that Adam Page is also in the group now.

I think out of any indie star out there that could work well in the Bullet Club, Adam Cole is at the top of that list and I look forward to seeing where this takes things. I know people have been starting to get tired of the Bullet Club stable, but I’m nowhere near that point yet, there’s enough interchanging members that it’s not growing stale to me yet.

Adam Cole, baybay!

Cedric Alexander Leaving ROH
Cedric Alexander Leaving ROH

Over Twitter, ROH star Cedric Alexander announced that he will be leaving Ring of Honor, his last match last Saturday at the War of the Worlds show in New York.

Many wonder if this could be a potential WWE contract, his name was floating around amongst many names for the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. I haven’t watched a lot of Cedric’s matches, but what I have seen has been pretty good and let’s be honest, we need a ton more diversity in WWE, so another black wrestler in the company is not a bad thing at all. Hope he is indeed on his way to the big show.

AJ Styles Minor Injury
AJ Styles Minor Injury

Reports indicate AJ Styles is dealing with a nagging injury and we’ve also been told that he’s being pulled from house shows for the time being. However it sounds like the injury isn’t his back which was bad at the end of last year, many thinking he might not have made it in time for his match with Shinsuke Nakamura at Wrestle Kingdom 10.

I don’t believe this is an injury to worry about, he doesn’t have to wrestle at this point until Extreme Rules, they could even put in a “do not touch till the PPV” rule into the current storyline just to get AJ out of wrestling. He really doesn’t have anything to prove now in the casual fans’ eyes, so we’re good on that front. So no worries here from me.

Why Bayley Isn't On The Main Roster
Why Bayley Isn’t On The Main Roster

The rumor mill has been circulating that the reason why top NXT female wrester, hell top WWE female wrestler Bayley hasn’t been promoted to the main roster is simply because they don’t have a big babyface to replace her.

Uh…

Y’know Asuka gets a pretty big reaction, right? I mean otherwise…sorry you haven’t been pushing other girls like Peyton Royce, Liv Morgan, Billie Kay and others? That’s not Bayley’s fault. Also, don’t you like money, WWE? I don’t see why NXT not having a “top babyface female” stops the main roster from adding a massive merchandise seller.

WWE, you crazy!

This Week in Wrestling – 2/29/16

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Shane O’Mac is back!

If you were paying attention to guys like Dave Meltzer and keeping up with the behind-the-scenes of WWE through r/SquaredCircle, you heard two things that ended up coinciding. The first was that Undertaker’s opponent was going to be someone not on the main roster, including those who are injured. That made things interesting because no one had a concrete idea at that point, people tossed around Rock, Austin, Michaels, Goldberg, just so many different names. Before we found out who that opponent would be, the night after Fastlane we were told to expect something big to the point it was called “a late Christmas present”.

That ladies and gentlemen, was the return of Shane McMahon.

Shane has been gone I believe for six years now. If I remember correctly the last time he was on television it was during Triple H’s rivalry with Randy Orton and Legacy (Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr.), so it’s been a long time. Unsurprisingly Shane got a massive pop from the crowd, almost tearing up during the segment he was featured in. And then we got the big news, Shane would be Undertaker’s WrestleMania opponent and in Hell in a Cell no less! The storyline is simple, Shane has dirt on Vince and has essentially been blackmailing him for money for a while now, only this time Shane wants control of RAW. If he wins, he gets just that, but if he loses Vince gets whatever it is that Shane’s blackmailing him with. Only in WWE can a blackmailer get the pop and not the victim. Awesome.

I have to admit, I expect Taker to win this match, no matter how badly I want to see Shane as the new authority figure on RAW. It’s become clear that the Authority gimmick has lost all its heat, it’s no longer a bad guy heat, it’s a go away heat. Hell, they’re cheering the leader of the Authority because he’s facing a man they don’t like in Roman Reigns. The Authority needs to go away, but I feel that’s not going to happen for one very simple reason.

Shane still has a ton of business ventures he’s running, it’d be very hard to believe that he’ll be around for a significant amount of time. He might be around after WrestleMania but I’d expect that amount of time to be very short, like gone by SummerSlam amount of time. It’s been commented on that he lives in New York so it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that he could be around, perhaps filming a bunch of “backstage segments” at WWE headquarters as the GM of RAW or something to that extent. But to assume he’ll be at the arena every week for RAW is preposterous.

Regardless, it’s fan-fucking-tastic to see Shane back and seeing his training videos he’s been posted on Twitter, he looks to be in great shape. Count me excited!

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The Elite/New Day Saga

A fun little rivalry going on here between arguably the two biggest wrestling promotions in the world, WWE and New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Ever since Kenny Omega took the reins of the Bullet Club, casting AJ Styles out and now Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows leaving New Japan for presumably WWE, he’s been kicking ass, taking names and with the Young Bucks at his side, challenging the hottest trio in wrestling right now, The New Day.

Omega has already been having arcade battles with Austin Creed (aka Xavier Woods) and the videos have been posted online, though I’m unsure if they’ve all been released. So there’s already a history there, however Omega’s taking it one step further. At the recent Honor Rising shows with New Japan and Ring of Honor teaming together, Omega and the Young Bucks defeated Toru Yano and The Briscoes to win the NEVER Openweight 6-man Tag Team Titles. So to celebrate that, they’ve been posting videos online challenging the next best trio in wrestling, again The New Day.

Now obviously this will never happen, there’s no way WWE would let any of their guys wrestle (even if it was on their program) someone from another promotion, even though WWE honestly has zero competition and it wouldn’t make a lick of difference. But that’s just how Vince and WWE operate.

Oh well, we can dream, can’t we?

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WrestleMania 20,000 Seats Short?

With WrestleMania just over a month away, we’re starting to hear reports on the potential numbers in terms of tickets sold for the event. Dave Meltzer has mentioned how he’s been told they still have about 20,000 tickets left to sell and they may not sell much more now. This is because given all you’d have to set up for the entire weekend whether it’s travel, hotels and whatever else, it’s too much work on short notice for anyone who’d need to do more than drive a couple hours to the event in Dallas. So the likelihood of WWE selling all 20,000 of these tickets becomes very unlikely.

This comes as little surprise to me honestly, the pay-per-view itself is not shaping up to be that spectacular. The main event has the potential to get booed out of the building, since we’re all assuming Roman Reigns will win. We also don’t know a ton of matches still, we can assume but we’re not in the open yet on at least half the matches. That’s not good for a show that’s supposed to be the biggest show of the year.

Ah well, we’re all looking forward to NXT: Takeover Dallas more anyways. And it’ll be better too.

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Stardom Wrestling Available via YouTube

We all look at NXT as the home of the best women’s wrestling on the planet right now. But now, a large part of the world will now have the ability to watch another company who offers some of the best women’s wrestling around.

Stardom announced over the weekend the rollout of Stardom World, a YouTube subscription channel that will be posting the majority of their events for $4.99US a month. For me here in Canada that would come to about $6.99, but it’s still a great deal if you are into women’s wrestling.

I’ve been watching Stardom here and there whenever I could find a VOD of an event they ran. Some of my favourite female wrestlers right now are featured on Stardom, girls like Kairi Hojo and Io Shirai. If you’re looking for another outlet for good women’s wrestling, Stardom World may just be up your alley.

How I’d Book ‘Balor Club’

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Finn Balor

Anyone who gets in the habit of keeping up with all the behind-the-scenes action of professional wrestling has by now heard of the crazy news of four major stars from New Japan Pro Wrestling coming to WWE: Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows.

The last three names all have something in common, they were all a part of the New Japan stable, the Bullet Club. Who was the founder of that stable? None other than the current NXT Champion, Finn Balor, formerly Prince Devitt in NJPW. So it’s not out of the question, hell it’s almost a guarantee that we will be seeing WWE’s version of Bullet Club, aptly named ‘Balor Club’ after Finn Balor. But the real question is what does the debut of Balor Club entail?

AJ Styles

For starters, AJ Styles should not under any circumstance be in the Balor Club, at least not until Balor and the rest make the jump to the main roster. I fully expect AJ Styles to be a main roster debut, I do not want to see him debut in NXT. Maybe if the NXT Brand was in the Smackdown slot, but it’s not and he is a main eventer, not a developmental talent. Maybe when AJ is possibly in the world title hunt and you need a shocking way to have him defeat Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (because let’s be honest, that’s who the champion would be at that time), so then you would debut the Balor club to help him win the match and you have a strong main event stable.

But for now, let’s get to how the group should debut.

Finn Balor vs Apollo Crews

If we need to debut this stable as soon as possible then let’s get this ball rolling! The next possible title match should be BEFORE the NXT Takeover show before Wrestlemania, this is super important! The match is Apollo Crews challenging Finn Balor for the NXT Championship. No bullshit interference from Baron Corbin and no Samoa Joe heel turn, it’s a uninterrupted match. And Crews wins, convincingly so, like Balor has a bit of a run in the match, but Crews dominates the second half of the match and wins the title.

The following show, Balor should be coming out, calling out Crews and shaking his hand, congratulating him on besting him. But he wants his rematch and he wants it right now. They set it as the main event and once again Crews dominates him and wins. Make it look like a big deal that Balor lost again, almost as if he’s going to the main roster. Play on the idea of the Balor Club stable beginning, make people believe “Holy shit! He’s going to Raw (or Smackdown)! And they’re gonna debut Balor Club then!”.

Baron Corbin vs Apollo Crews

He disappears, not a word from him. A month or so should pass and we get to the NXT Takeover show before Wrestlemania. The main event is Baron Corbin challenging Apollo Crews for the NXT Championship. I know people are still a bit unenthusiastic about Corbin, but it makes sense, he beat Crews at Takeover: London so he should have the first shot at Crews’ title post-Balor. And in the end, while it’s a hard fought battle, Crews manages to pull out the win and retain the title. Celebrating his victory, Crews is in the ring when suddenly the lights go out. And on the screen you see this:

“We are dominant, we are strong. We are one, we are…for life.”

Balor Club debut

New music hits, something as slow and heavy as Balor’s music, but less of the orchestral backing, just slow, methodical hard rock. If you can make it close to Bullet Club’s music without being a carbon copy, then do it. Balor walks out, holding up the ‘Too Sweet’ gestures, wearing his Balor Club t-shirt when two men walk out from behind him, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows. And they surround Crews and put a giant beatdown on him, leaving him dead as can be in the ring. Balor walks over, grabs a mic and simply says. “We’re here.” and leaves.

Crews does not appear the next week. Have William Regal come out and announce at the beginning of NXT that Apollo Crews will be out injured the next two weeks, but wants to let Finn Balor know, that when he returns, he’ll be getting his revenge. Balor interrupts Regal’s speech and officially introduces Anderson and Gallows. And says to the NXT crowd and all those watching on the WWE Network (cause you know that’s how they’d script it) that fun and games are over for everyone else except Balor Club. They run NXT now and will take out anyone who disagrees.

(left to right) Sami Zayn, Charlotte, Colin Cassady & Enzo Amore

If Sami Zayn is still in NXT after Wrestlemania, then he should be the Balor Club’s first target. You need to go after the favourites to get them over as heels (as if Balor Club needs any help getting over in NXT). But if Zayn is not in NXT anymore, then move to the next best thing, Enzo & Cass. If they’re all not in NXT then uh…Bull Dempsey? Because if I’m booking this, I’m not having Gable & Jordan get destroyed, they’re too precious a commodity, gotta keep them on fire. And we don’t know at this time if Hideo Itami will be back yet. Regardless, whoever it may be, depending on the pecking order, the story will remain the same.

Later in the same show Balor Club interrupts Regal, the main event is Sami Zayn vs Baron Corbin (or Cass & Enzo vs Joe & Corbin). The match doesn’t even get anywhere, the bell rings and as they’re about to lock up, lights go out again and the Balor Club entrance begins, the three of them walking out to the ring. They slaughter the babyface(s) in the ring, while the heel(s) retreat, wanting zero part of it. After decimating those in question, Balor takes the mic again and says the following:

“Apollo Crews! We haven’t settled our little rivalry just yet. I want my NXT Championship back! So when you come back from the beatdown I put on you…I’ll be waiting.”

And I can’t stress enough how important it is that every promo Balor does, he talks like he’s the only one doing the damage, not acknowledging Anderson/Gallows’ interference. Why would they not turn on Balor then? A very good reason. Balor got into WWE, he got friendly with the boss and got his buddies a fat contract. So regardless of Balor’s words, the boys love him, they’re still best buddies, they’re in the big time, making big money!

Finn Balor as NXT Champion

If they can stew this all the way until the next Takeover special, do it. Otherwise, the next NXT Championship match will be Finn Balor vs Apollo Crews. Balor will win a Battle Royal to win the #1 contendership when the entire trio are the final three in the battle royal and they all ‘Too Sweet’ and Anderson/Gallows eliminate themselves. So the main event is set, Balor vs Crews.

The match is what you’d expect. Crews is still dominating Balor, but Anderson and Gallows constantly distract Crews, giving Balor plenty of chances to put him away, but can’t. Then the ref gets knocked out and Anderson/Gallows come into the ring to take out Crews. It’s then that Zayn, Enzo & Cass, anyone to even the odds comes out and helps Crews deal with Balor Club. As Crews looks to finish off Balor, from the crowd, comes Baron Corbin. End of Days, Balor hits the Coup de Grace, 1…2…3. And you have your fourth member of Balor Club, Baron Corbin. You’re probably asking why I’m all about Corbin here. Simple, he needs the rub and I do think with the right people with him, you can turn him into a mega-star. He also fits the bill for what WWE likes, so if we can take this guy who they already like and make him into someone who’s over with the fans too, bonus!

AJ Styles when he wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

The Balor Club should run rampant in NXT all the way until SummerSlam, Balor eventually losing the NXT title to a returning Hideo Itami. By this point, AJ Styles not only has debuted in WWE, but should be constantly pushing for a WWE title match. He finally gets it at SummerSlam against Roman Reigns. When Reigns looks to finally win the match, after another ref bump, the Balor Club suddenly emerges from the crowd, completely flooding the ring and destroying Roman Reigns. Thus, AJ Styles hits whatever his finisher will be (since you know WWE’s not letting him do the Styles Clash) and wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

The following night on RAW, you introduce Balor, Anderson, Gallows and Corbin, announcing Balor Club is here in WWE (because NXT doesn’t count as WWE, you know that’s how they’d say it). Over the next 3-4 weeks, Balor Club runs rampant. At the end of SummerSlam, you should have a face run of title holders, minus Styles with the WHC and perhaps the Women’s Divas Championship, since that title doesn’t matter in this storyline. Their targets are all the champions. So that at the next pay-per-view, Vengeance: Night of Champions, what a perfect night for Balor Club to snatch every possible title. Baron Corbin dominates Neville to win the United States championship (if it’s still around), Anderson and Gallows defeat The Usos to win the Tag Team Championships and Finn Balor through all the possible bullshit, beats Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship. AJ Styles obviously retains over Roman Reigns and you have Balor Club holding every male-associated title in the company.

And we end with a return the following night on RAW to challenge AJ Styles for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This man:

Seth Rollins

There you have it. I could go further, but I figure the best way to stop is with Balor Club fully established a major threat in the WWE. You have a bunch of fresh matchups now, especially for the titles. There’s just a few questions left I’ll quickly go through:

What about Shinsuke Nakamura? Where does he fit into all this? – Shinsuke Nakamura (or whatever WWE decides to call him, hopefully the worst is just Nakamura) would’ve by now already had a singles feud with AJ Styles, which in the end has the goal of giving both men credibility but in the end cementing AJ Styles as the next challenger for Reigns’ title. In fact, that should be the #1 contender’s match to set up that SummerSlam match between Styles and Reigns. After that, have Nakamura challenge Balor for the IC title, would it not be amazing to see him prop up a second company’s Intercontinental Championship?

When would you break up Balor Club? – Not until at least 2 Wrestlemania-s after their debut. They should have a good two years together. So when Balor does finally turn babyface, it’s a big deal. And I mean BIG!

Would Finn Balor ever wear his demon paint with the Balor Club? – Absolutely, but at no point is it ever his red and black. Because it’s Balor Club, it should be only black and white. Have an awesome Venom tribute bodypaint getup, that would be fantastic!

Do you bring anyone else into Balor Club? – Unless it’s an original Bullet Club member (Tama Tonga, Cody Hall, etc.) that aren’t the Young Bucks, because let’s face it, they’re probably never coming to WWE, they’re smart enough to know that unless they’re offered the biggest deal in the history of professional wrestling, they can make more money outside of WWE, then no. Unless there’s a massive injury to someone, I would not add a single new member to Balor Club that isn’t already attached to the Bullet Club.


And there you have it, that’s how I’d book the debut of Balor Club. Let me know what you think in the comments below, as well as things you’d do to get the Balor Club gimmick over.

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 10 Review

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Jado wins Pre-Show Battle Royal – 1.5/5

This was a fun little battle royal to start things off on the pre-show. It’s bad, no doubt about it, you’ve got a few (beyond) older talent showing up like The Great Kabuki, King Haku, Hiro Saito and Yoshiaki Fujiwara and a lot of the soon to be retiring guys like Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jado and Manabu Nakanishi. But as bad as it was (including all the random eliminations by just having 5 guys pin a guy), it was entertaining. Cheeseburger from Ring of Honor being a surprise entrant was fun to watch. Jado coming in at the end with Japanese pop idol star Momoka Ariyasu and winning in pretty much a minute was a little dumb though. But it was cool to see a lot of historical names in Japanese wrestling.

Young Bucks def. Roppongi Vice, reDRagon & Matt Sydal/Ricochet to win the IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championships – 3.5/5

This wasn’t nearly as crazy and entertaining as all hell as last year’s 4-way tag match was, replacing RPG Vice and Sydal/Ricochet with the Forever Hooligans and Time Splitters. But it was a very entertaining spot fest regardless. Cody Hall got a lot of work in the match for being not in it, a cool spot where he Razor’s Edged one guy (can’t remember who) out the ring onto pretty much everyone. I’m surprised Sydal/Ricochet didn’t win, I figured they’d get a quick run before going back to the indies for a while. But when the Young Bucks win, it’s hard to complain. They’re awesome. I’m 0-1 so far.

Toru Yano & The Briscoes def. Bullet Club to win the inaugural NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championships – 2.5/5

I haven’t really watched a lot of ROH, so this is one of my first exposures to the Briscoes. And holy shit do I love Mark Briscoe. The sounds this guy makes over the course of a match and I do love the redneck kung-fu gimmick. Also, “I’m gonna kill you, boy!” was a lovely addition, embrace who you are and that’s what these Delaware chicken farmers do. I’m also surprised they won, I fully expected Bullet Club to win because I didn’t think the Briscoes would be making another appearance, I assumed this was a one time deal. But then again, that would mean giving Yujiro Takahashi a belt and that just won’t do. 0-2 for me.

Jay Lethal def. Micheal Elgin to retain the ROH World Championship – 3/5

Another guy I haven’t seen much of, Jay Lethal was all right in his first match I’ve seen of him. I’ve seen a lot of Elgin on the small Canadian indies, so it’s awesome seeing him in this spot. This was the closest I think you’ll get to the New Japan crowds caring about Ring of Honor as they really took to Elgin in the G1 Climax, but if it was Lethal against anyone else, they would’ve been sitting on their hands not happy. For those who don’t know, the Japanese crowd really isn’t that crazy about foreigners (or “gaijin”) in the matches as they don’t know who to cheer for when there’s no Japanese talent in them. Again I was wrong, expected Elgin to win, so I’m 0-3.

KUSHIDA def. Kenny Omega to win the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship – 3.5/5

Make that 0-4. Although I bet Omega solely because he’s my favourite wrestler right now in the entire world. The match was good as always, Omega matches are almost guaranteed to be entertaining as hell. Seeing how bad KUSHIDA was working on Omega’s arm was refreshing and watching Omega use one arm for a few moves over the course of the match, something WWE needs to learn to do again, selling an injury. But Kushida managed to win via roll-up after countering the One-Winged Angel.

Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma def. Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson to win the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships – 3/5

Hey, I got one! Make it 1-4, no goose egg tonight! It was a pretty obvious outcome, I’m starting to wonder if Gallows/Anderson are champs often just because there’s no one else to take them. But this made sense, Honma has been a favourite in New Japan for a while now and he needed a championship win. I would’ve given him the NEVER Openweight belt to signify him winning on his own, but to win the Heavyweight Tag Titles on the biggest show of the year with arguably the most popular wrestler in Japan (Makabe is on morning television, he’s very popular outside of wrestling) is still a pretty amazing moment for him.

Hirooki Goto def. Tetsuya Naito – 2.5/5

My last loss of the night, so my worst record of the night stood at 1-5. I’m shocked Naito didn’t win this match, he’s been white hot since his heel turn. When the interference from EVIL and Bushi failed, I still fully expected him to pull one out via bullshit and he nearly did with a low blow. But Goto pulled out the win in a somewhat forgettable match. I’ve never really been a fan of Goto.

Katsuyori Shibata def. Tomohiro Ishii to win the Never Openweight Championship – 4.5/5

Holy fuck this was a war! My ears hurt from this match, actually you know what? My everything hurt after this match. Kicks, chops, forearms, headbutts, over and over and over, oh my god! This was easily my favourite match of the night and with the other two matches left on the card, that’s saying something. But Shibata and Ishii just went absolutely fucking crazy the entire match, the no-sells, the knockouts, everything was so entertaining (and painful) to watch.

Shinsuke Nakamura def. AJ Styles to retain the IWGP Intercontinetal Championship – 4/5

A lot of people are calling it the Match of the Year already and while yeah it was a great match, I’m not so sure I can echo that statement. I think not having a 100% AJ Styles is a large part of that. The match was great, false finishes galore, the mockery Nakamura and Styles did to each other (the catching and eating of the bullet was fucking great from Nakamura) and watching Nakamura kick out of the Styles Clash was a huge moment, I honestly don’t know the last time that happened. With a Nakamura win and rumours circulating of both men giving their notice to go to WWE, one would expect if this is true, Nakamura might be losing at either New Beginning shows, likely in Osaka, depending on how much notice New Japan is getting with him. If this is true though, a G1 without Nakamura will be very strange.

Kazuchika Okada def. Hiroshi Tanahashi to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship – 4/5

I’m glad they finally pulled the trigger, passing the torch to Okada. I look at Tanahashi honestly as the New Japan John Cena, except he doesn’t suck, he just always wins the big one (can you imagine JBL calling him Big Match Hiro? *shudder*). There were so many times I thought Tanahashi was winning, the two High Fly Flows did it for me, I was visibly pissed when he hit them. But Okada somehow kicked out and eventually after a couple Rainmaker clotheslines, he finished off Tanahashi and finally defeated him at the Tokyo Dome. It was a great moment, clearly the fans were into it, they were loud the entire match and as many Japanese wrestling fans know, they’re usually quiet out of respect. But no, they were deep into this, they wanted to see Okada finally win the big one. And he did, what a moment it was.

My prediction score, 4-5

Overall Rating – 4/5

NJPW Stars to WWE?

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Shinsuke Nakamura

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.

Bullet Club: Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson, AJ Styles (first 3 on left)

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.

YeaOh!

2015 Radical Wrestling Awards

AwardsWrestling

This has been probably my biggest year for wrestling. I’ve for the first time ever, watched and paid attention to a promotion beyond WWE. So to have an awards article for this year in professional wrestling, it makes sense.

Now for promotions like all the UK/Europe ones (ICW, Progress, etc.), I haven’t gotten a chance to really watch your stuff, so I apologize for not including you, hopefully next year will be different.

Anyways, we’ve got the good and the bad, so let’s get all the shit out of the way first! You’re going to notice a lot of this section is WWE, for obvious reasons.


Most Declining Talent

  • Bray Wyatt
  • Dolph Ziggler
  • The Miz
  • Rusev – WINNER
  • Wade Barrett

I really wanted to put down Bray Wyatt, but since dealing with Team ECW this month, the Wyatt Family are at least starting to improve again. Rusev however since losing to Mr. LOL Cena Wins at WrestleMania, he’s been getting worse and worse…and worse. The Rusev/Ziggler feud only killed him dead, the only thing making that entertaining was Rusev throwing a fucking fish at Lana. Otherwise, everything he’s done this year has been nothing short of disappointing and infuriating. He was supposed to be a monster, now he’s been reduced to a big bitch. Congrats, WWE.

Worst Debut of the Year

  • Daivari (Lucha Underground)
  • The League of Nations (WWE)
  • Team B.A.D. (WWE) – WINNERS
  • Submission Sorority Team P.C.B. (WWE)
  • Tyler Breeze (WWE)

Taking the hottest woman in wrestling and sticking her with two Divas who to me have little to offer in Naomi and Tamina because why? They’re all black? Well done, WWE, you just killed Sasha Banks dead. Somehow though, she’s barely still alive, fans are still cheering her. But having her twerk with the New Day is not helping. The whole Divas Revolution has been nothing short of a disaster, but out of all of them, Team B.A.D. has been the dumbest of them all.

Worst Return of the Year

  • Alberto Del Rio – WINNER
  • Chris Jericho
  • Erick Rowan
  • Eva Marie

Tried to think of a fifth, couldn’t come up with one. After having a hell of a run in AAA and Lucha Underground, one would’ve thought Alberto Del Rio would continue his success on the indies, maybe even trying out New Japan? Nope! He already returned back to the place that pretty much drove him insane after many racist remarks about Mexicans. So a star like him comes back, they must do something fantastic with him, right? Nope! They pair him with Zeb Colter and call themselves the Mex-Americas. Oh! And they’re already separated and he had a match with Jack Swagger at TLC. Uh…yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay…?

Worst Handled Talent of the Year

  • Cesaro
  • Neville
  • Roman Reigns
  • Sasha Banks – WINNER
  • Tyler Breeze

As I said earlier about Team B.A.D., WWE has royally fucked up the Divas Revolution, none bigger than the most popular of the Four Horsewomen, Sasha Banks. She was a fucking star in NXT and she was a heel! She was getting cheered more than all the faces and she was a bitch! So WWE would surely keep that going, right? Nope! Seriously, you keep falling for it. No, Sasha’s barely wrestled singles matches since being called up and other than her wrestling attire and how she walks to the ring, the NXT Sasha Banks is gone. Maybe in 2016 that gets fixed, but all things considered, I’m not holding my breath. After all, she’s not someone’s daughter and she’s not white.

“Where the fuck is he?!” Talent of the Year

  • Cesaro
  • Damien Sandow – WINNER
  • Leo Kruger (because fuck Adam Rose)
  • Heath Slater
  • Zack Ryder

He got over. From doing a shitty comedy gimmick. With the Miz. The Miz. THE FUCKING MIZ!!! He got Daniel fucking Bryan levels of over with that gimmick. And they’ve done nothing with him. Nothing! He turned on Miz at WrestleMania and immediately got eliminated by Big Show after. What the fucking fuck?! Then the weird copycat gimmick continued and then he faded into obscurity with the Mega-Powers gimmick with Curtis Axel. And we haven’t seen him since. What the fucking fuckedy fuck fuck fuck?!!!

“Where the fuck is she?!” Talent of the year

  • Bayley
  • Emma
  • Natalya
  • Renee Young – WINNER
  • “The Boss” Sasha Banks

Why isn’t Renee on commentary, WWE?! She’s hundreds of times better than the idiots you have there right now in Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and especially JB-fucking-L. Here’s an idea, put her with Mauro Ranallo on Smackdown, there’s already pre-existing chemistry there (at least I think so, they both worked for theScore at one point). Just please make one announce team on the main roster not suck!

WTF Moment of the Year

  • Bray Wyatt losing every feud
  • Divas Revolution (all of it) – WINNER
  • Jon Stewart costing John Cena the WHC
  • Royal Rumble Match
  • “Tator tots, son”

Women in sports are skyrocketing right now, especially in fight sports. You already had Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania, you made it look like you cared about women in wrestling. NXT has made leaps and bounds in this and Stephanie McMahon claims she wants to show what women can truly do. So what did they do for the “#DivasRevolution” and “#GiveDivasAChance”? Just putting a hashtag on them so they’d trend on social media. That’s all. In terms of wrestling, the quality is better, but is it really that much better when there’s still no good storylines and all the girls are still being stripped (not literally, thank god) of the character they had in NXT that made them good. That spells FAIL!!!

Worst Rivalry of the Year

  • Bray Wyatt vs Anyone
  • Dolph Ziggler vs Rusev – WINNERS
  • Dolph Ziggler vs Tyler Breeze
  • John Cena vs Kevin Owens (result-wise)
  • Roman Reigns vs Sheamus

The fish. Do I need to say more?

Worst Show of the Year

  • WWE Battleground
  • WWE Hell in a Cell
  • WWE Night of Champions
  • WWE Royal Rumble
  • WWE Survivor Series – WINNER

It was a terrible all-around PPV that ended with the most predictable ending, not to mention the one that EVERYONE EXCEPT WWE apparently knew would not work and just make things even worse ratings-wise. It also came with the lamest and most awkward celebration ever. WWE: “Yeah! Roman Reigns finally did it, everyone! Isn’t this awesome?! Woooooooooooooooo!”. It went off like a fart in church. Hoo…ray!

Worst Match of the Year

  • Any Eva Marie Match
  • Bella Twins vs Natalya/Paige (WWE Royal Rumble)
  • Big Show vs Ryback (WWE Money in the Bank)
  • Naomi/Tamina vs Bella Twins (WWE Payback)
  • Villanos vs Clowns (AAA Triplemania XXIII) – WINNERS

Do I even have to explain this one? Just watch the match and try not to facepalm. It’s so bad!

Worst Announce Team

  • WWE – WINNERS

There really is only one nominee for this award. I can’t think of any other wrestling promotion I’ve watched this year where I’ve been taken out of the match and that even includes New Japan and I don’t speak Japanese! JBL and Cole specifically have cemented their legacy to me as the worst announce duo I may ever hear. I’d rather listen to Art Donovan say “how much does this guy weigh?” to every single guy of every single match or every single show for the rest of my life than have to bear with the absolute garbage these two spew from their mouths. Either call the damn match or shut the fuck up. You’re not funny, you never were funny. Shut the fuck up!

Worst Non-Wrestling Talent of the Year

  • Booker T
  • Byron Saxton
  • JBL – WINNER
  • Michael Cole
  • Ric Flair

What did I just say, JBL?! Shut. The fuck. Up!

Worst Tag Team of the Year

  • The Ascension – WINNERS
  • The Bella Twins
  • Blake & Murphy
  • Los Matadores
  • Wade Barrett & Sheamus

Cool music, cool look (while slightly LoD copied), absolutely garbage team. Shouldn’t have ever been called up to the main roster. I know they’d done everything they could in NXT, but man…they still look so green. I’m not saying fire ’em (yet), but they need to rejuvenate their careers and learn some more.

Worst Female Wrestler of the Year

  • Brie Bella
  • Cameron
  • Carmella
  • Eva Marie – WINNER
  • Tamina

When you beat out a girl who tried to pin her opponent who was lying on her stomach, you have to be really bad. And Eva Marie is just that. She’s never going to be an even remotely decent wrestler, she does not have it. WWE wants her in the spotlight and you know what? That’s fine, but don’t have her as a wrestler. You clearly view her as the prettiest girl you have, SO MAKE HER A VALET!!! JESUS FUCKING CHRIST YOU MADE SO MANY WOMEN DOING THIS, WHY HAVEN’T YOU TRIED THE SAME THING WITH HER?!!!

Worst Male Wrestler of the Year

  • Big Show
  • Erick Rowan – WINNER
  • John Cena, LOL!
  • Kane
  • Yujiro Takahashi

He’s just not that great and insignificant in a group of guys that while they’re losing too, they at least pull off decent matches. Strowman has an excuse, he’s green as grass, but Rowan’s been around a while now. And he’s still really nothing special. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s gone next year, but then again WWE seems to not want to fire anyone unless they call the fans ‘pricks’. Which you know that’s what they think of the smart mark crowd.

 

 

And now for the stuff that actually matters, the good stuff!


Most Improved Talent

  • John Cena
  • Johnny Mundo
  • The New Day
  • Roman Reigns
  • Tetsuya Naito – WINNER

I didn’t give a flying fuck about Naito when I first started watching New Japan, I just didn’t like his gimmick as a babyface. This heel Los Ingobernables Naito however, is fucking fantastic. The ego he carries and the way he moves so slowly to piss off the crowd is just awesome to watch, he plays the crowds up so well. Not to mention the matches he’s had this year have been really great to watch as well.

Best Debut of the Year

  • Apollo Crews (NXT)
  • Asuka (NXT) – WINNER
  • Micheal Elgin (NJPW)
  • Prince Puma (Lucha Underground)
  • Samoa Joe (NXT)

Anyone who can have a good match with Dana Brooke already has gained a few points. That’s not really a shot at Dana, she’s still green. But Asuka has shown what a dominant female athlete looks like in professional wrestling. The mix of submission holds and strikes are badass and let’s be honest, no one has better facial reactions and movement during matches than Asuka right now, not even close. I want her to destroy the main roster, but then again they’d probably kill her dead like they’ve done to everyone else. So keep her in NXT. Pretty please.

Best Return of the Year

  • Alberto el Patron (Lucha Underground/AAA)
  • The Dudley Boys (WWE)
  • Kane ~Demon~ (WWE)
  • Rey Mysterio (AAA) – WINNER
  • Vince McMahon (WWE)

After seemingly going into retirement as WWE wouldn’t let him go, Rey’s finally getting back into the thick of things in AAA. It’s so nice to see him wrestling again and he looks like he hasn’t lost a thing. I cannot wait to see him debut in Season 2 of Lucha Underground in January!

LOL! Moment of the Year

  • Dean Ambrose Psychological Test “Hoooooooooo!” (WWE)
  • Joey Ryan’s penis overpowers opponent (DDT) – WINNER
  • The Rock’s “Fallopian Tubes” promo on Steph at WrestleMania (WWE)
  • R-Truth thinking he’s in a match that he’s not in (WWE)
  • The Young Bucks vs Roppongi Vice (NJPW Invasion Attack)

I really, REALLY wanted to put the Young Bucks/RPG Vice match as the winners of this award. But I just can’t say no to this:

HOLY SHIT! Moment of the Year

  • Angelico cross body from balcony (Lucha Underground)
  • Angelico dropkick from balcony (Lucha Underground) – WINNER
  • Kallisto’s Salida del Sol from top of the ladder (WWE)
  • Pentagon Jr. vs Vampiro (Lucha Underground)
  • Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania (WWE)

It was going to be either Angelico moment from Lucha Underground, that much was for sure, it was just a matter of which one. So I went with the one that looked like he could’ve easily broken his neck taking that bump. Goddamn how is this guy still alive let alone walking doing this shit?! Side note, good on him and Jack Evans for rejecting a WWE contract, I don’t want to see them doing 25% of what they’re capable off on RAW, I want the full 100%!

Best Rivalry

  • Bayley vs Sasha Banks (NXT) – WINNERS
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada (NJPW)
  • John Cena vs Kevin Owens (WWE)
  • Prince Puma vs Johnny Mundo (Lucha Underground)
  • Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens (NXT)

When you have arguably the two best matches on NXT, it’s a pretty easy choice for this award. I mean Cena/Owens was a good feud, but it ended terribly (aka Cena wins, LOL), while the Sasha Banks/Bayley feud had a wonderful story and an even better ending at Brooklyn, along with the follow-up 30-minute Ironwoman Match. Some of the best wrestling I’ve seen and it came from two women. Who knew that was possible, WWE.

Best Wrestling Promotion

  • Lucha Underground – WINNER
  • NJPW
  • NXT
  • PWG
  • ROH

I had zero expectations for when I started Episode 1 of Lucha Underground. By Episode 3 I was hooked and refused to say any other show was better. And it continued all the way to the very end, I began to like more and more talent on that show and added more matches to the must-watch list for people who like professional wrestling. If Season 2 is anywhere near as good as Season 1 was, they’ll likely be repeating next year.

Show of the Year

  • Wrestle Kingdom 9 (NJPW)
  • NXT Takeover: Brooklyn (NXT) – WINNER
  • NXT Takeover: Respect (NXT)
  • Ultimate Lucha (Lucha Underground)
  • WrestleMania 31 (WWE)

Banks vs Bayley, Balor vs Owens, Vaudevillains with Blue Pants, the debut of Apollo Crews. This card was stacked and when it’s in a massive building like the Barclays Center and is sold out with one of the most vibrant crowds of the year, you have a recipe for the show of the year, without question.

Match of the Year

  • Bayley vs Sasha Banks (NXT Takeover: Brooklyn) – WINNERS
  • Brock Lesnar vs John Cena & Seth Rollins (WWE Royal Rumble)
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Shinsuke Nakamura (NJPW G1 CLIMAX Final)
  • Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kota Ibushi (NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9)
  • Tomohiro Ishii vs Tomoaki Honma (NJPW New Beginning in Sendai)

Like I’ve said the past couple awards, one of the best matches I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. The drama was all there, you saw grown men cry when Bayley won the title. The action was all there as well and even the entrances got special attention. This is a must watch for wrestling fans, I don’t give a flying fuck if you think women’s wrestling is a joke, this match is far from one.

Best Announce Team

  • Lucha Underground
  • NJPW
  • NJPW on AXS – WINNERS
  • NXT
  • ROH

You have one of the best announcers (who isn’t Jim Ross) today calling some of the best matches of last year, it’s hard not to vote for Mauro Ranallo and Josh Barnett. Here’s hoping when he starts on SmackDown! in January, which I plan to watch, believe it or not (I have to see how Mauro handles it), he makes a stale product look vibrant again.

Best Non-Wrestling Talent of the Year

  • Corey Graves (NXT)
  • Dario Cueto (Lucha Underground)
  • Lana (WWE)
  • Paul Heyman (WWE)
  • Renee Young (WWE) – WINNER

This woman needs to be on commentary, she’s so much better than what they give her. She’s stuck on the pre-shows with Shucky Ducky and a bunch of interchangeable talent, she’s above this. Everyone’s positive she’ll leave WWE for ESPN when her contract’s done, which I honestly wouldn’t blame her. But she loves wrestling so damn much, you know it’ll be a tough decision for her.

Tag Team of the Year

  • Angelico, Son of Havoc & Ivelisse (Lucha Underground)
  • Cass & Enzo (NXT)
  • The New Day (WWE)
  • REDRAGON (ROH, NJPW, etc.)
  • The Young Bucks (ROH, NJPW, etc.) – WINNERS

To all those who either don’t get the Young Bucks or straight up hate them, you just don’t like things that are fun, do you? Who cares if they’re a couple of high spot monkeys, they do it better than anyone else in this business and they are fucking entertaining when they do it. SUCK IIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!

Female Wrestler of the Year

  • Asuka
  • Bayley
  • Candice LeRae
  • Io Shirai
  • Sasha Banks – WINNER

No doubt about this one. As much as I love Asuka, there’s no woman in the wrestling business this year that has done more for the sport of professional wrestling as Sasha Banks. She, along with the rest of the Four Horsewomen have made women’s wrestling matter again. But out of the four of them, she’s leaps and bounds the best right now. It’s a crying fucking shame WWE is ruining her right now on RAW.

Male Wrestler of the Year

  • AJ Styles – WINNER
  • Finn Balor
  • Kevin Owens
  • Ricochet/Prince Puma
  • Shinsuke Nakamura

For a guy I never gave a fuck about while he was in TNA, holy shit have I become a giant AJ Styles mark. After freeing himself from TNA he’s shown the entire wrestling world that it wasn’t him, it was fucking TNA. He’s had some of the best matches all year, pretty much any match he’s been in has been 4 stars or more. And not only is he lighting it up in New Japan, he’s lighting it up in Ring of Honor and other indie promotions. This guys is just killing it right now. Hell no he shouldn’t be going to WWE, not with the tear he’s on right now.

 

So that’s the Radical Wrestling Awards for 2015. What did you guys think? Did I pick the wrong ones? Did I miss someone? Let me know in the comments below!

AJ Styles + WWE – This better not happen!

ajstyles

Rumours in wrestling are a constant circulation throughout the internet. One of them as of late has been concerning the “Phenomenal One” AJ Styles, who since leaving TNA Impact Wrestling has proven that he isn’t just a good wrestler, he’s one of if not the best wrestler in the world today. The current stories are saying that AJ’s last dates schedule so far with New Japan Pro Wrestling are in January and that’s all. So of course rumours about WWE trying to negotiate with him into coming back to North American television are starting to float once more.

And as much as I have grown to become a huge AJ Styles fan this past year, I have ABSOLUTELY ZERO desire to see him in WWE!

Not because he wouldn’t work there, fans wouldn’t attach to him, he’d have bad matches, all of that isn’t true, he’d kickass there. He’d have great matches with guys like Cesaro, Ambrose, Owens and especially Rollins, before the knee injury.

I don’t want him in WWE because they will do absolutely nothing with him.

To start things off, he’s a Georgia boy and we know how much Vince, Kevin Dunn and the rest of the WWE take to Southern talent. We’ve see with how they treated Jim Ross over the years how they will endlessly make fun of the accents. Hell Cesaro isn’t allowed to do anything solely because he’s Swiss. You know they won’t let AJ talk much.

Secondly, how many guys originally from TNA have actually done anything in WWE? Here’s a brief list:

  • Samoa Joe is in NXT
  • James Storm’s had one match so far in NXT
  • Marcus Cor Von (aka Monty Brown) had a short, forgettable ECW run
  • Low Ki (aka Kaval) was a thing. I forgot about him until see him on the list
  • Amazing Kong (aka Kharma) is the closest we’ve had to a TNA star making a mark and her tenure was very short

The track record so far for TNA stars in WWE is horrendous, I have little to no faith that Styles would be any different in WWE, where they frown upon people getting over before they do anything with them.

Lastly, AJ’s already 38 years old, his career isn’t exactly young. Plus when you take into account just how much money he’s making doing the independent circuit and wrestling on other major promotions like New Japan and Ring of Honor, it almost seems pointless to take a chance and hope Vince will do something with him for the couple years he’d have left before in WWE’s eyes he’d be too old to be a star (unless you’re John Cena or the Undertaker).

I would love nothing more than to see AJ Styles wrestling some of the best wrestlers in the world in some of the biggest arenas and on some of the biggest shows year round.

But then I remember he’s wrestling Shinsuke Nakamura at Wrestle Kingdom 10 at the Tokyo Dome in January and I shut up.