According to multiple sources, including MLW Radio and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, a handful of top stars from New Japan Pro Wrestling have given their notice to the company and may be headed to WWE as part of a “talent raid.” This comes on the heels of NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 10, the promotion’s biggest show of the year.
Those top stars reportedly include current IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, former IWGP Heavyweight Champion and longtime TNA Wrestling ace A.J. Styles and “two to three” member of the Bullet Club, including Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson. This is not a drill.
Styles will be the most notable name for casual North American fans. He’s a former 2-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, competed in WCW and has held championships in Ring of Honor. He’s also done everything a wrestler can do in TNA, including being a 3-time NWA Heavyweight Champion, a 2-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion, getting 6 runs with the X-Division Championship and more. He’s one of the most decorated stars to never compete in WWE. Well, if you don’t count Metal.
Nakamura is one of the very biggest names in New Japan. He’s a 3-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, a 5-time IWGP Intercontinental Champion, a G1 Climax winner (in 2011), a G1 Tag League winner (in 2006) and on and on. If he’s WWE-bound you’d hope he’d stick around long enough to drop the Intercontinental Championship, but Alberto Del Rio’s AAA Mega Championship doesn’t make that look like an optimistic prospect.
Gallows previously competed in the company as Festus and Straight Edge Society member Luke Gallows (and a fake Kane). Karl Anderson has mentioned wanting to be a part of NXT’s “Balor Club,” and even wore Balor-themed trunks during his Wrestle Kingdom 10 match.
We’ll keep you updated on the story, including the very real possibility that we’re just hallucinating.