Not even a day after Wrestle Kingdom 10 hit the record books, there’s talks of a mass exodus of top talent from New Japan Pro Wrestling. Several top stars including Bullet Club members AJ Styles, Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson and current IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura have all given their notice to the company and may be all headed to the WWE as part of a “talent raid”. The news was first reported by the Wrestling Observer and MLW.

For casual North American wrestling fans, seeing Styles come over to the WWE would be a welcome inclusion. His accolades speak for him more than any Styles Clash would. The skinny: 2-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, one time ROH Pure Champion, one time ROH Tag Team Champion, 3-time NWA Heavyweight Champion, 2-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion, 6-time X-Division Championship and more. The main thing you would want from Styles hitting the E is a simple one — don’t have him lost in the shuffle like a lot of top talent who transferred from NXT to the main roster. And if he does indeed head to NXT since it’s now basically the WWE’s version of a touring independent company … dear God him versus Balor for rights to who’s the true leader of the Bullet Club would be an instant money maker.

Gallows previously worked for the WWE as Festus and as Luke Gallows of the Straight Edge Society so they know his work extensively. Karl Anderson, despite earning (according to him) over half a million dollars to stay in New Japan has publicly expressed wanting to be part of the Bálor Club — NXT’s version of the Bullet Club if he ever were to come over. He even went so far to wear a version of Finn Bálor’s trunks during Wrestle Kingdom 10 so that’s an easy alley-oop. The main question about the talent raid belongs to the one guy Triple H has been hammering for since current IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada stated he wasn’t coming back to America to work for the WWE.


What Shinsuke Nakamura means to New Japan fans is a dynasty. The “King” is one of the biggest names in recent New Japan memory with three separate reigns as IGWP Heavyweight Champion. He’s currently on his fifth reign as IWGP Intercontinental Champion, he’s a former winner of the G1 Climax tournament (2011) and a former winner of the G1 Climax Tag Tournament (2006). Him coming over to the WWE leaves the rather narrow minded booking decision of him versus Hideo Itami up in the air but it also gives the WWE another Japanese import that can no doubt sell merchandise and throw a ton of Boma Ye knees at people.

A “talent raid” of this magnitude means that Triple H is dead set on building his dream independent federation by scooping some of the best guys in the world to join. Even if they may be reaching the WWE far later than they probably should have (see what happened to Samoa Joe before he found his spark again) it’s still something to see the company take legit risks in hiring talent, especially seeing that a lot of the WWE mainstays have been broken for most of the damn year. With WWE Creative however, you only beg of a few things not to go haywire. Because as an eternal wrestling fan, you’re always cautiously optimistic.

Plus, in true “Raw After WrestleMania” fashion, a lot of the WWE/NJPW stuff we mentioned slowly became true. Here’s a few spoilers if you haven’t watched New Year’s Dash.

01. Former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega pinned Shinsuke Nakamura in a tag team match. Post match, he announced he was gunning for Nakamura’s IWGP Intercontinental Championship.

02. Omega then turned on his partner, A.J. Styles, hitting him with a One-Winged Angel. That led to a pull-apart brawl involving the Bullet Club, which resulted in Omega and the Young Bucks going full ultra-heel by leveling Styles with a triple superkick. Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson — both rumored to be part of the foursome leaving for the WWE — stood up for Styles, but ended up “Too Sweeting” Omega and the Bucks, which is a legally binding contract of allegiance.

Plus, Styles closed out the night delivering a ceremonial bow to the Japanese crowd, which pretty much signaled his own goodbye with the company. Which means … hell, he could be in the Royal Rumble to a massive pop.

So yeah, maybe all of this actually is happening. We’ll keep you posted to see if any of this turns out to be true, a fever dream or that all of these gentlemen are actually headed to the revamped TNA to give it another shot in the arm.