Finn Bálor, the current WWE NXT Champion, recently spoke with WWE.com about the “big four” New Japan Pro Wrestling acquisitions made by the WWE. In order to keep kayfabe, the interview was conducted as if the news is still considered to be rumor instead of fact. Bálor had some interesting thoughts about what WWE.com described as “WWE’s biggest (alleged) acquisition since the Monday Night War.”
When Bálor was asked if he could provide any insight into whether or not the “rumors” of Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Doc Gallows and Ken Anderson coming to the WWE are true, he replied:
“I think I was more excited than anyone to read the news about what’s been going on. I have had the guys at Bullet Club, especially Karl Anderson, who’s my best friend outside the ring, give me a couple nuggets of information that leads me to be very confident about the future at NXT and WWE. For me, I think having some friends around would definitely be better for me. But whether I can say for 100% certainty that it’s going to happen …”
Bálor discusses what receiving an influx of talent like this can mean for the future of the WWE; saying that these next couple of months can “change the way pro wrestling is viewed for the next 10 years”:
“A year and a half ago, myself, Kevin Owens and Hideo Itami all came in together. And there was kind of a buzz that helped create a special time in NXT. I think, potentially, what is going to happen over the next couple of months if these four names come in is going to be even bigger. I think the growth of NXT in the last year and a half and the growth Bullet Club has made in the last year and a half since I left means this would be a huge coup for WWE. Nakamura, being one of the most charismatic wrestlers on the planet, is an absolute game-changer unlike anyone that is out there right now. Gallows & Machine Gun [Anderson] are one of the world’s most established tag teams. Machine Gun, in my opinion, is the most underrated wrestler on the planet. For years. The fact that he’s getting so much media attention right now makes me happy, but I’m slightly disappointed it’s only happening now and didn’t happen 10 years ago when I first met him. AJ Styles’ reputation speaks for itself. He’s one of the best in-ring performers on the planet, ever. To say this would be a coup is an understatement. I think the next couple of months could change the way pro wrestling is viewed for the next 10 years.”
Maybe the most interesting of Bálor’s comments come at the very end of this interview. Since he won the NXT Championship on July 4, 2015, Bálor’s been very adamant about not being in any rush to get on the main roster. He’s said on multiple occasions how he’s proud to be NXT’s flagbearer and wants to help mold the future of the brand. Yet, Bálor had this to say when asked if he would be by the Bullet Club’s side (Styles, Gallows and Anderson) if they were to show up on Raw in the near future:
“Well, I am happy in NXT. And I am proud to be the champion and proud to be the standard-bearer at the Performance Center and proud of the growth that NXT has experienced in the last year. But make no mistake about it: I am very ambitious. And I want to be in the place that is causing the most controversy and getting the most media attention and getting the most focus put on it. I did that in New Japan, I did that in NXT. And perhaps, in the future, if Bullet Club were to arrive on Monday Night Raw, there would be no better way for Finn Bálor to make his debut than with his best friends by his side.”
Bálor goes on to talk about about his friendship with Karl Anderson, the inception of the Bullet Club, and bonding with Shinsuke Nakamura during his eight years in Japan. You can click here to read this interview in its entirety.
Mark’s reaction: I found this interview to be quite interesting. There are a few things to take away from this interview, but the one that jumps out at me the most is that there seems to be a definite changing of the guard happening. These four signings are huge; just as it was huge when the WWE signed Sami Zayn, Owens, Neville, Itami, Samoa Joe, and Bálor. The WWE have been going after some heavy hitting, big name wrestling talent for the past few years, with their latest acquisition being their biggest yet. With that being said, NXT was arguably the best weekly wrestling show of 2015. It is widely known that Triple H holds the reins over at NXT while Vince McMahon still has ultimate control of the main roster. My feeling is that with Triple H eventually taking over Monday Night Raw (Vince can’t do it forever), and all these signings of some of the greatest wrestler’s in the world, it looks like the WWE is beginning to (once again) be proud in saying that they are first and foremost a WRESTLING company.
Mauro Ranallo was even calling actual wrestling moves on commentary during Smackdown’s debut on the USA Network. Some serious change is already occurring, and I think Bálor can sense this shift in the landscape happening too. He sounds very optimistic about the future and confident that these signings will change the way wrestling is viewed for years to come.
One of Finn’s comments that caught my attention was when he said Anderson gave him some important nuggets of information that makes him confident about the future of NXT and WWE. When I first read this, I thought this was insinuating that some of the “big four” will be arriving in NXT. However, the interview concludes with the hint that all four of these names will be heading straight to Raw instead.
I’m intrigued about the potential of reuniting the Bullet Club on Raw, as Bálor teased in his closing comments. With the WWE currently in a “faction phase,” reuniting the Bullet Club is definitely within the realm of possibility. I don’t know if the WWE would use the name Bullet Club, since I’m not sure if they secretly bought the rights or not. Even if they did, I can’t see them using it considering they’re PG program. Perhaps they can use “Balor Club” since they already have those shirts. We’ll have to wait and see.
Would you like to see the Bullet Club take over Monday Night Raw? If they can’t use Bullet Club, any suggestions for a team name? Do you also think the WWE’s beginning to focus more of their attention on the wrestling aspect of the show? Leave any of your thoughts in the comment section below.