After the news broke this past Monday that WWE has signed NJPW stars AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, & Shinsuke Nakamura, there has been a lot of speculation over what WWE has planned for the four stars and when they would start appearing on WWE programming. According to WrestlingObserver.com, WWE’s original plan for AJ Styles was to have the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion debut as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble Match in a few weeks. However, that was before the news broke that they had signed Styles so that plan may no longer be in effect for AJ’s arrival. Styles’ finished up his commitments to NJPW on Tuesday and currently has no further commitments with either NJPW or ROH, but the independent legend is still scheduled for some independent shows in the U.K. on January 13 to 16 and, after that, AJ should be free to make his way to WWE and potentially still make an appearance in the Rumble Match if WWE still has that in store for him.
The NJPW contracts of both Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows are set to expire on January 31, so the Bullet Club members are expected to continue working with NJPW for the remainder of their contracts before heading to WWE. Much like Anderson & Gallows, Shinsuke Nakamura’s contract also expires at the end of the month as the reigning IWGP Intercontinental Champion confirmed this himself during an interview with Tokyo Sports on Wednesday. Nakamura is expected to drop the IWGP Intercontinental Championship at an upcoming event.
It’s also worth noting that WWE is reportedly interested in creating some “Balor Club” t-shirts (reigning NXT Champion Finn Balor is a former member of the Bullet Club stable and remains friends with members of the group) due to NJPW having a worldwide trademark on the “Bullet Club” name and brand. While all four wrestlers are indeed on their way to WWE, they have not yet signed physical contracts as WWE requires several tests before they offer contracts. Styles, Anderson, Gallows, & Nakamura will all have to pass drug and fitness tests before WWE puts an official offer on the table. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t see them appear on WWE television in the near future, however, as WWE could pay them on a “per appearance” basis similar to what WWE recently did with James Storm (who made two appearances on NXT despite not actually being under contract before deciding to return to TNA).
What do you look forward to seeing from these four? Post your comments in the box below.