New Japan Pro Wrestling’s AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Doc Gallows, and Karl Anderson have all been acquired by the WWE, according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer. Meltzer discussed this major news on the Wrestling Observer Radio show. All four wrestlers have reportedly given their notices to NJPW and will be leaving the company shortly, aside from Nakamura. Since Nakamura is the current IWGP Intercontinental Champion, he will apparently be sticking around the company for a while until he eventually drops the belt.
Meltzer also noted that Nakamura, Gallows, and Anderson’s contracts expire at the end of the month while Styles has been recently working without a contract. This comes as a bit of a surprise as this means that Styles wrestled in a major title match during this morning’s Wrestle Kingdom 10 (NJPW’s biggest show of the year) without a contract.
Nakamura, Gallows, and Anderson will all be honoring the Ring of Honor dates they signed on for in Last Vegas next month, while AJ Styles will not be at the next ROH pay-per-view and is most likely done with ROH going forward. It is not yet known when any of these four will make their WWE debut.
Earlier on Monday, current WWE NXT Champion Finn Balor put over Anderson’s tribute to him.
— Finn Bálor (@FinnBalor) January 4, 2016
We will keep you up to date with this HUGE story as we learn more.
Mark’s reaction: Wow! This is some huge news that came as quite a shock. I was just gearing up to watch Raw once I heard about this. It’s nice to have Gallows and Anderson with the WWE but the real story here is Nakamura and Styles. There have been rumors for a while now that the WWE’s been eyeing Nakamura and Styles. However, I felt that it just sounded too good to be true. Styles sounded like the more likely candidate of the two considering he is American. I know he was getting paid a lot of money in New Japan (prior to recently wrestling without a contract) but I’m sure he wants to be able to raise his family in the U.S. and possibly be able to see them on a more frequent basis.
Nakamura was the wild card. He’s been with NJPW for a long time and is a mega-star there. Why would he ever want to leave? Possibly to try new things. Maybe he feels that he’s accomplished a lot in NJPW and wants to try his hand in the WWE. I’ve heard stories as well about how he’s enjoyed his time working in the United States (with Ring of Honor) immensely. I’ve also heard Jim Ross mention on his podcast that Nakamura speaks English very well, so he shouldn’t have too much of a problem communicating with the American audience.
For as many people there are who are jumping up and down over this news, there are probably just as many who are upset. There’s a fear among many wrestling fans that if Nakamura and Styles were to ever go to the WWE that they would be terribly misused and ruined. I fall into the camp that is very excited about this news. I’ve seen Styles wrestle for over a decade throughout various promotions. It’s nice to see him try something new. I’m also happy because this means that I get to see Nakamura and Styles on (potentially) a weekly basis! I enjoy watching the both of them wrestle so much, but I missed out on a lot of Styles during some of his TNA years when the company was really taking a turn for the worst. I’d only catch the matches that I heard friends rave about. As for Nakamura, I get to watch him when he’s occasionally on ROH. Aside from that, I kind of have to put on my detective glasses whenever I want to find a match of his since my cable provider doesn’t have NJPW’s channel, thus forcing me to look for his matches through the internet. It’s worth doing though as you will find some CLASSICS for sure. With that being said, again, it’s getting to see these guys weekly that really makes me happy about this news. How they’ll be used? We can only wait and see, but I’m going to choose to be positive about this.
Let the speculation begin! How will these new signings be used by the WWE? What dream matches would you like to see come true? Or, what matches would you like to see take place on a grander scale (WrestleMania) since some may have already happened through other promotions (e.g. Nakamura vs. Lesnar in NJPW)? Keep the conversation going by leaving your thoughts in the comment section below.