AJ Styles finally made his long-awaited WWE debut in this year’s Royal Rumble, and his running buddies from The Bullet Club weren’t far behind. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson first arrived to the company together two months ago, and after teasing a potential break-up, the trio reformed and have since adopted the moniker, The Club. Their first official act as a unit, of course, came at the expense of John Cena, by way of a vicious beat-down that turned Styles heel in the process.
Gallows and Anderson were booked as heels from the start, making their interactions with Styles intriguing. AJ came in as a babyface and was quickly elevated to the main event scene thanks to a program with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns. The Gallows, Anderson, and Styles angle was some of the best long-term booking out of WWE in quite some time, resulting in the version of The Club we see today, despite teasing to the contrary.
Finally, key figureheads in New Japan’s Bullet Club were under a WWE roof, albeit under a modified version of the popular gimmick. NJPW owns the naming rights of the “Bullet Club” and has only allowed it to be used in Ring of Honor. WWE could have most likely thrown an offer at New Japan that they couldn’t refuse, but decided against it. Luke Gallows recently conducted an interview with Nola.com where he admitted that there was an understanding that the word ‘Bullet’ would be dropped from “The Club.”
“Yeah, we kind of knew that. We were being edgy in Japan (with The Bullet Club), and there’s a bit of a language barrier. The WWE is all about family friendly entertainment. My son and I watch the WWE Network at home all the time. Going with The Club was the way we needed to go to come here and be in this environment, where your kids are watching.”
Some fans have viewed it as a watered-down version of what was arguably the hottest faction in all of professional wrestling. Styles took over as the leader of the group when Finn Balor (then known as Prince Devitt) signed with NXT. The two stars passing like ships in the night.
So now, Styles is the unquestioned leader of The Club, with Balor waiting in the wings in NXT. It’s understood that it’s only a matter of time before he joins the main roster after carrying the torch of the NXT brand for the better part of the last year. Whether Vince McMahon and company have plans of adding him to the heel faction remain to be seen, but he and Shinsuke Nakamura have been linked to The Club since news about the brand split emerged. Gallows isn’t letting on one way or the other, however.
“That I can’t really talk about right now. That’s Club business. I can tell you this, though: The Club is all about sending messages, putting everybody in this New Era on high alert. We’re here, we’re here to stay, and we’re here to be the top dogs. Monday night when we get into New Orleans, we plan on sending a message there as well. That’s going to be a great place to do it, it’s one of my favorite towns. So WWE Universe New Orleans get ready, The Club is coming, and we’re just too sweet.”
The “two sweet” tagline is, of course, an ode to Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and the nWo from the 1990s. The Bullet Club had been drawing comparisons to the infamous stable when they were running rough shot over Japan, and have now brought it with them to the mainstream. Gallows claims no copyright infringements have taken place.
“We have the blessing of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. They dig it, too. They feel like it’s a passing of the torch. Hopefully, we’re capturing that cool that they captured all those years ago that captivated us as kids and made us fall in love with sports entertainment.”
Next up for The Club: A fatal four way match for the WWE Tag Team Championships with The New Day, Enzo & Cass and The Vaudevillains Sunday at Money In The Bank.
[Image via WWE]