Some huge news has come out in the wrestling world. The WWE’s interest in independent talent has certainly increased in the last few years with the rise of NXT. With a number of NXT’s top talent being promoted or soon to be promoted up to the main roster, the pressure is on WWE to sign up new top talent to maintain the star power of the territory. Apparently, the WWE have got some top stars in mind. New Japan Pro Wrestling is reportedly in store for a huge raid of stars from the WWE which includes some members of the “Bullet Club” and Shinsuke Nakamura possibly making the jump.
According to Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer, WWE have been going after four big names in particular. The Bullet Club members include Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows, who have really shined in Japan. Doc Gallows joining WWE once again is very interesting as Doc has certainly changed a lot since his departure in 2010. I’m guessing the WWE will hold Doc in higher regard when booking him this time around and it’ll be interesting to see how Gallows and Anderson would be treated on the shows.
Shinsuke Nakamura is a HUGE name to be linked to WWE. Nakamura has been a tremendous star in Japan and someone that huge from that nation coming over to WWE would be an amazing coup for WWE. When KENTA (Hideo Itami) signed last year, there was a huge deal made about it. Due to his injury though, KENTA has not been able to make the big impact that that the WWE were hoping. I think they were banking on KENTA to really be the top Japanese draw for them and it would have probably worked had he not went down. With Nakamura though, WWE would have a legitimate International superstar on their pay-roll that’s really going to help maintain that audience in Asia.
The last name reported is AJ Styles. AJ has been linked to WWE over and over again since he left TNA but as of now, he’s apparently not under contract to NJPW or anyone major right now. AJ does have a number of independent bookings to fulfil, including the dream match between him and Rey Mysterio at an event in Sheffield this month. I think Gallows, Anderson and Nakamura will want to honour their ROH dates as well but as Alberto Del Rio proved, WWE might get in the way of these dates from being honoured. Del Rio was supposed to drop the AAA title after Hell in a Cell but reportedly, he told AAA that WWE wouldn’t let him drop the belt at an AAA event. With ROH, I don’t know.
Nakamura is not expected to leave NJPW right away, but it appears nothing is stopping AJ. He’s not under contract and he’s also followed Triple H on Twitter. Accuse me of reading too much into this, but Samoa Joe also followed Triple H on Twitter just before he signed last year. It might not mean anything and it could be just AJ keeping us guessing, but AJ does seem to be in the best contractual position to join WWE.
I’ve heard that Vince McMahon was very upset about the news getting out as he was planning a surprise of some sort for the Royal Rumble. Whether it’s a special Bullet Club deal with AJ, Doc, Gallows and possibly Finn Balor (who was in the group as Prince Devitt before he joined WWE) or not is up for question but if they had a plan, I hope they follow through with it regardless of the leak.
I actually think the leak would have helped the moment a bit more. If AJ Styles had shown up as a mystery entrant or something, I think it would have gotten a big reaction that night but I still think there’s a huge part of the WWE fan base that wouldn’t know who AJ is. I think with the leak, those fans would be more likely to go “Who is AJ Styles?” and search him on YouTube or whatever. I think that would help it if anything.
I know Vince likes to keep the fans guessing but this is a rare time where the reports would actually aid AJ’s success if he shows up on the main roster first.
It’s a whole different debate about whether these four would be on the main roster first or if they would start in NXT first. I’m sure someone like AJ should start on the main roster first but there’s a chance that WWE want to “test the waters” with him on NXT first before throwing him into the deep end. I think they could get away with having Doc show up on the main roster first as he was previously a WWE superstar. It’s interesting all of this if it turns out to be true.