The Bullet Club is an invention of New Japan Pro Wrestling—successful heel stable rooted in featuring foreign talent who are more often than not Americans. Finn Balor was a charter member and the group’s first leader. Later, AJ Styles would take the reins of the group, to be followed by Kenny Omega. Along the way, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Haku, Jeff Jarrett, Cody Rhodes, Cody Hall, The Young Bucks, and a host of others have passed through the group’s ranks.
In recent years, WWE and its personnel have made allusions to the Bullet Club. Upon the first rumors that Styles, Gallows, and Anderson had signed with the company, Balor posted tweets alluding to him waiting for his old running buddies to join him, in addition the company producing Balor Club t-shirts on his behalf. Rumor had it that WWE went so far as to try to buy the Bullet Club brand from NJPW, and when they were rebuffed, simply branded Styles, Gallows, and Anderson as The Club.
WWE’s intentions of formally bringing in the Bullet Club seemed to have passed, only for a collection of Bullet Club talent including Cody, Brandi Rhodes, Marty Scurll, Hangman Page, and The Young Bucks showed up outside of the arena that was hosting Raw. They filmed themselves, mimicking the way in which DX invaded Nitro years back. While all indications are that the Bullet Club members did this on their own, and may have even angered WWE with the stunt, the choice did get people talking again. What if the Bullet Club actually were to invade WWE, not just by showing up outside a show, but by actually signing with the WWE, or if WWE were to work out some a short-term deal with NJPW to share talent and the Bullet Club brand.
This article speculates about what really would happen if the Bullet Club were to become part of the WWE landscape.
15 15. Finn Balor Vs. AJ Styles
WWE has mostly kept Finn Balor and AJ Styles apart, working on separate brands and scarcely interacting. In fact, their most memorable interaction under the WWE banner came in a throwaway backstage segment at SummerSlam when Balor crossed paths with The Club backstage. This acknowledgment of their shared history showed WWE was not only aware of it, but just might consider revisiting the theme one day.
Despite the tease, Balor and Styles never actually coexisted in the Bullet Club together, as Styles arrived in the group ostensibly to replace Balor after he signed with WWE. A question remains as to if they could both fit in the group, and what their roles would be. While the two may temporarily align in the interest of selling the stable’s history and getting it over as a super group with WWE fans, it seems written in the stars they’d end up feuding with one another. Fortunately for the fans, there’s every reason to think the resulting matches would be superb.
14 14. Cody Rhodes Would Finally Be A Main Eventer
Cody Rhodes had a deceptively long tenure with WWE, signing when he was just 19 and growing up before our eyes of the course of a decade. While there were a handful of brief moments when he seemed to flirt with main event status, he inevitably found himself shuffled back to the mid card. In the end, he got locked down in the Stardust gimmick with a glass ceiling overhead, which ultimately led to him leaving WWE to seek out his own destiny elsewhere.
Rhodes has thrived on the indies, including winning the ROH Championship and, yes, teaming up with the Bullet Club. Given his other attachments—not least of all his recently signed contract with ROH—it would take some time or legal maneuvering to get him back in a WWE ring. If the stars were to align, though, it would be pretty great to see the newly rebranded American Nightmare return to WWE ready to claim his destiny toward the top of the card.
13 13. Shinsuke Nakamura Would Be Pushed
Shinsuke Nakamura has done well in his WWE tenure, starring for NXT and more recently appearing like he may well be the man to unseat Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship. Still, there are those who doubt WWE’s long-term intentions with Nakamura. The company doesn’t exactly have the best track record with talent imported from Japan and Nakamura hasn’t yet performed up to his remarkable potential on a consistent basis in a WWE ring.
While some guys would have a lot to gain from joining or rejoining the Bullet Club, Nakamura would have a lot to gain by facing off against them. He’d have an organic reason to revisit his classic rivalry with AJ Styles, not to mention reason to work with a number of talents familiar with, if not Nakamura himself, at least a Japanese working style that may well bring out the best in him as a performer, and get him a rock solid push in the process.
12 12. Kenny Omega Would Sign With WWE
Particularly after his epic showdown with Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 11, talk picked up about Kenny Omega being one of the greatest workers alive and about Omega potentially signing with WWE.
To be fair, Omega has signed with WWE before, as he was under developmental contract for a period of years. He doesn’t speak fondly about the experience, as he felt under valued and creatively stifled. Omega’s ring style and personality would likely be a much better fit for WWE, as the company has grown much friendly to indie style talent. Omega is now the leader of the Bullet Club faction and if the group were to formally come to WWE, it would only be natural for him to be among the group. Following the pattern established by previous stable leaders Finn Balor and AJ Styles, it makes sense WWE would respect Omega at this point, and offer him some big opportunities.
11 11. The Hardys Vs. The Young Bucks With A National Spotlight
The Hardy Boyz were the stars of WrestleMania weekend, first and foremost for their surprise return at WrestleMania, where they won a four way Ladder Match and walked out Raw Tag Team Champions. It’s less well known that they were in a ladder match for tag titles the night before, actually dropping the ROH tag belts to a top indie tandem known as The Young Bucks,
The Young Bucks are on the short list of top US talents to have never signed with WWE. They were a part of the recent Bullet Club “invasion” of Raw, and it would only be natural for them to come to WWE with the stable. While The Bucks would have a lot of teams to have great first time collisions with, given their fast-paced, high-flying style, they’re a perfect fit to match up against the Hardys once Jeff as back from injury. Finally, WWE fans can have the chance to see these two teams tear it up on a truly national stage.
10 10. Gallows And Anderson Would Be Relevant
It’s not entirely clear which current or past Bullet Club members would sign with WWE if the faction were to invade full throttle. The tag team of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson have the benefit of having already established themselves with the WWE Universe, and even captured the Raw Tag Team Championship in the past year.
Gallows and Anderson have largely slipped from the spotlight. Cesaro and Sheamus have gelled into an excellent heel team, The Revival threaten to emerge as the top heel tandem when they’re healthy; the teams of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose and The Hardys have been the top faces. Were their running buddies to show up and help them back into the spotlight, there’s every opportunity for Gallows and Anderson to return to the top of the tag ranks for at least a little bit.
9 9. More Collaboration Between WWE And ROH
While Ring of Honor is most certainly a separate entity from WWE, and has frequently contended with TNA for the position of number two US-based wrestling promotion, the company has had some collaboration with WWE. In particular, with ROH alumni like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, and Kevin Owens thriving in WWE, the two sides have struck up deals to use ROH footage in DVD releases and WWE Network specials. Beyond the financial considerations, it’s a win-win proposition with WWE adding historical content to tell the stories of major stars while the extra exposure certainly doesn’t hurt ROH.
In addition to its origins and continued featured role with New Japan, The Bullet Club has also been a presence in ROH, creating crossover opportunities between the promotions and furthering the group’s influence across the wrestling world. If the faction were to transition to WWE for at least an angle, it would almost inevitably mean some more cross-promotion between WWE and ROH.
8 8. Cody Hall Makes It WWE… And Maybe Bring His Dad?
Scott Hall’s son, Cody Hall, was introduced to New Japan fans as a protégé of the Bullet Club in 2015. While he hadn’t yet built much of a reputation for himself as a wrestler, his name and his size made him a credible enough addition to stable. Hall has since left NJPW for another Japanese company, Pro Wrestling NOAH. Despite the defection, Hall’s affiliation with the Bullet Club may well be his point of entry to get a shot with WWE.
Cody represents the sweet spot between being a fresh face and having a familiar name to make him an appealing addition to the WWE roster. He could fit in especially well with his old man introducing him in a throwback to the New World Order invading WCW. Maybe the father could hang on as the son’s full time manager, at least until he got himself established, and it could make for some entertaining television.
7 7. The Battle For The Soul Of Adam Cole
Adam Cole was a key member of the Bullet Club, particularly as it stood in Ring of Honor, before signing his deal with WWE. He became an instant main event player for NXT, heading up The Undisputed Era with Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish.
If The Bullet Club were to come to WWE, it might be interesting to see how things shake out for Cole. His new stable is still fledgling enough that WWE could essentially scrub it in favor of Cole joining his old crew. On the flip side, it stands to reason that not every Bullet Club alum would wind up in a WWE version of it, and he may wind up sticking around NXT longer and seeing through his new faction’s story arc.
It's clear there’d be options for what to do with Cole, and based on what WWE has done with him so far in developmental it seems unlikely that he’ll just slip through the cracks. Which way he goes, though, may prove an interesting and important part of WWE’s storytelling for the years ahead.
6 6. The Shield Might Stand Against Them
This past summer saw Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose reunited to begrudgingly become allies en route to buddying up more earnestly to enter the tag title scene together. With all three Shield alumni on the same side of face-heel alignment, and rumors swirling about them banding together to at least face off with the Miztourage in the immediate future, it stands to reason that The Shield may reunite more permanently, or at least assemble a less formal alliance as faces who have each other’s backs.
One of the reasons it was time for The Shield to split off when they did was because they were outperforming any believable challengers, and seemed to have reached a peak when they beat Evolution in back-to-back matches. The Bullet Club, however, would pose a new and worthy threat with a cadre of super-talented performers, and a stable that would have the numbers advantage over The Hounds of Justice. In addition to excellent six-man action, this rivalry could boast a bunch of fun one-on-one pairings as to build to bigger showdowns as teams.
5 5. A True Crossover Show
Whether it’s Ring of Honor or New Japan, there’s no debating that The Bullet Club originated and rose to prominence outside WWE. Moreover, in the post-WCW era, there’s little argument against them being the most over non-WWE stable in wrestling. They’ve got name recognition, and have even gone so far as to broker a deal with Hot Topic to sell their merchandise stateside this year.
WWE notoriously wants exclusive access to its stars and not to acknowledge other wrestling promotions. We’ve seen the latter point break down a bit in recent years, with the acknowledgment of stars’ legacies abroad and on the indies. The next step in this evolution may well be an actual crossover program, or at least one show which WWE might cross-promote with ROH or NJPW. WWE would get to unabashedly make use of the Bullet Club brand, while either of the other promotions would benefit from the WWE promotion—a likely win-win scenario all around.
4 4. AJ Styles Becomes A Backstage Power Broker
Since his rise as one of the most successful stars on the WWE roster, AJ Styles has purportedly campaigned to have WWE bring in his friends. Whether they won over WWE based on their association with Styles, or based on Styles’s good word, it’s notable that WWE snatched up his former allies Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, not to mention that they signed one of his best Japanese dance partners, Shinsuke Nakamura.
Styles has since spoken publicly to suggest WWE should bring in Bad Luck Fale and Tama Tonga, other Bullet Club associated talents. If this progression were to continue, Styles may become an unlikely power broker in WWE’s locker room. He’d be the guy other talents owe for helping them get through the door, not to mention potentially having some extra stroke with Triple H and the McMahons given his eye for wrestling talent.
3 3. The Return Of Haku
The Bullet Club has had a diverse enough roster, playing a wide enough range of roles that it makes complete sense WWE wouldn’t bring in every member past and present. However, as much as he wasn’t a full-time member, you have to assume WWE would be all too eager to bring back Haku for at least a short run. No, I wouldn’t expect for him to be a major in ring player at this time, but in a managerial role or used carefully as a heater, he still has potential to thrive in the WWE environment.
With his legendary toughness and long past tenure with WWE, Haku would offer a welcome legend’s presence via the Bullet club. Moreover, his participation in the group may provide a fitting segue to reintroduce him to the WWE audience and lead to eventual (well-deserved) WWE Hall of Fame induction.
2 2. More Japanese Stars On Their Way
If nothing else, WWE’s interest in the Bullet Club is representative of the company’s broader global reach and expansion. Historically, the company has felt inclined to position talent from Asia exclusively as evil heel foreigners or comedic oddities. Now we have Shinsuke Nakamura main eventing for SmackDown, Hideo Itami working toward the top of the card in NXT, and talents like Asuka and Kairi Sane being featured on the women’s side. A full-fledged Bullet Club invasion could signal WWE more fully embracing Japanese wrestling. Despite the challenges related to non-fluent English speakers cutting promos and connecting with the audience, there’s a now a framework to understand such talents thriving based on what they can do in the ring.
Can Japanese stars get over in WWE en masse? It’s yet to be seen, but if the Bullet Club came over and succeeded, it may well open the door to WWE recruiting further talents like Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi.
1 1. John Cena Might Finally Turn
The idea of John Cena turning heel has been rumored for over a decade now, and we’re past the point when many fans have given up on it ever happening. However, after Cena seemingly passed the torch to Roman Reigns as the face of the company at No Mercy, it’s not entirely beyond reason that he could finally forego the hero shtick in favor of a run on the dark side. A run with the Bullet Club would be one natural route through which he could do so.
The Bullet Club is largely patterned after the New World Order for its invasion antics and some of the talent involved. A heel Cena would fit that mold perfectly and, perhaps most importantly, help American fans immediately understand what this cool heel faction is all about.
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