According to multiple sources, the WWE has apparently signed NJPW’s Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Doc Gallows. The news had picked up steam on Monday, and hasn’t stopped since.
I’ve noticed how many diehard fans of the Japanese promotion are saddened with this news, as they just lost four key competitors. However, WWE fans have all the right to be excited. Some online fans have already been vocal about how the WWE may ruin the characters these men have established, but I say the company is a lot smarter than that. With the WWE bringing in Hideo Itami and Finn Balor within the past year, I believe fans should be more optimistic about the potential newcomers.
Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson
For those who aren’t aware of these two, they’ve dominated the NJPW tag division, and are currently three time IWGP tag champions. The two are part of a larger stable known as the Bullet Club. The stable was originally created by current NXT Champion, Finn Balor, and that is who they should be affiliated with the moment they appear on television. With Finn now referring to his fans as the Balor Club, it would wise for them to make it on screen stable that would dominate NXT. Of course, this is no story line for a babyface character, so Balor himself would have to turn heel and then bring in his Bullet Club affiliates as sidekicks.
As it stands, there are only three credible tag teams in NXT. While fans enjoy two of the three (Enzo & Cass and Gable & Jordan), the division is starting to feel stale. Shortly after Gallows & Anderson debut, they should quickly start to dominate the other teams, while their leader dominates the main event. Honestly, this type of booking is quite straight forward, and there’s no way the creative staff in Orlando can ruin their place in NXT.
Shinsuke is arguably the biggest star for NJPW, and he’s regarded by fans as the best wrestler on the planet. This type of acclaim can be daunting for the WWE, because they have a few people on their roster who they may consider to be the best. However, I can’t picture someone as accomplished as Nakamura agreeing to being a midcarder on the WWE roster. I’m also assuming the company will be paying him a large amount of money, so don’t expect him to appear on NXT, as he’ll probably make his debut on the main roster.
With the WWE doing their best to promote younger stars, it’s tough predict where Nakamura will fit in. It might be best to book him in an angle where he can eventually elevate a secondary title. The IC title picture may benefit the most with a competitor such as Shinsuke. That title has a history of being held by in ring work horses, and he fits that mould well . He’s done a spectacular job at making the IWGP Intercontinental title just as important as the IWGP Heavyweight title, and it would be great if he can bring a similar success to the WWE.
Out of the four names being rumoured to come to the WWE, I find it most difficult to predict where Styles will end up on the card. Similar to Nakamura, he probably won’t go through NXT, as he can be a key contributor to the main roster. According to the Wrestling Observer, Styles is most likely to make his debut before the others (while they finish prior commitments), and he may be a surprise entrant at WWE’s January event, the Royal Rumble.
Obviously nobody should expect for him to enter the main event scene, so his first real feud can be built in the rumble match itself. Assuming Kevin Owens won’t recapture the IC title from Dean Ambrose, why not set him up in a program with Styles? If they can manage to keep the two apart after the Rumble and until Wrestlemania, the fans will be in for a treat. While AJ has spent the most of his NJPW run as a heel, he can still play a good babyface.
The point of this week’s Wednesday Wrap Around is to give my readers an optimistic look on the WWE’s new potential additions. We should be excited to see what the company has in mind, because it’s been long time since they brought in top end talent from another large promotion.