Finn Balor & Cody Rhodes Reflect On Their Time In Bullet Club
On May 3rd, 2013, the wrestling world changed forever when the man now known as Finn Balor stood in a New Japan Pro Wrestling ring with Karl Anderson, Tama Tonga, and Bad Luck Fale to form Bullet Club.
Balor was then known as Prince Devitt and The Real Rock ‘N’ Rolla was the first leader of the group that has swept the wrestling world for a decade now.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Finn Balor explained how the group came to be and says it was originally just meant to be a two-man band with the Irish star and his bouncer, Bad Luck Fale:
“Originally, it was just going to be me and Fale but the office saw how close I was with Chad [Karl] and Tama, and how we would spend every minute of the day together. So they asked me to come up with a name and extend our backstage relationship to the ring.
“I was trying to pick a name that tied us all together. Karl was ‘The Machine Gun,’ Fale had been calling his finisher the Hand Grenade, and Minoru Suzuki had been calling me a ‘real shooter’ for some months as we would roll submission wrestling in the ring before the shows.”
It was noted that Balor still has the list of possible names for the group on his phone and the list included the names –
- Bullet Club/Parade
- Reload Club
- Lock ‘n’ Load Club/Parade
- Getaway Club
Balor explained that he went with his gut and Bullet Club was born:
“To me, Bullet Club sounded the coolest, however, I had mild concerns as the Japanese would sometimes mispronounce ‘bullet’ as ‘beret.’ But I chose to go with my gut, and the rest is history.”
Following Balor’s exit from NJPW, AJ Styles took over as leader of the group before it entered its ‘Elite’ era with Kenny Omega leading the group. It was during that spell that Cody Rhodes also joined the group and says initially it was something he didn’t want to do after leaving WWE:
“Bullet Club represented something completely different for me. A lot of people told me I shouldn’t do it. Had my father been alive, he would have suggested against it. It went against what I wanted to do—I didn’t want to be in a group, I didn’t want to be on a team, I didn’t want to be in a faction—I wanted to be quarterback and the lead dog.
“Stepping into Bullet Club, seeing Kenny as the leader, and using my real-life quest to compete with him, this was an opportunity to take what Finn Bálor created and was extremely profitable, and take it to another level of profits. Look at the T-shirt sales. One Hour Tees has three storefronts now. We turned it into an even greater enterprise. That’s something I hold dear.”
Rhodes continued that he was grateful for his time in the group and to Finn Balor for starting the faction that allowed him and The Young Bucks to eventually change the wrestling landscape forever with the groundbreaking 2018 All In show that preceded the formation of AEW:
“That group was known for kicking people’s ass and being volatile, but what I’ll always remember is the friendships,” says Rhodes. “That’s the time in my life when I created a bond with three guys that will never be shaken. Because of Bullet Club, we were able to change the wrestling world.
“I never would have got that without Finn Bálor, and I never would have reached that level without the Bullet Club. I am very grateful for the Bullet Club.”
Bullet Club continues to find success as it enters its second decade with current group leader David Finlay winning the NEVER Openweight Championship at Wrestling Dontaku against one of the group’s original members, Tama Tonga.