Monday January 4th saw another landmark WrestleKingdom for the Japanese wrestling powerhouse New Japan Pro Wrestling with just over 25,000 fans in attendance and a star-studded lineup that included the likes of AJ Styles, The Young Bucks, Kushida, Jay Lethal, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kenny Omega, The Briscoes, reDRagon and Kazuchika “The Rainmaker” Okada.
The event has been heralded both a financial and commercial success for the company receiving high praise for its delivery of both amazing in ring work and fantastic story telling. However, the big story that has overshadowed the success of WrestleKingdom 10 was the report that several of the top talent for NJPW (A.J. Styles, Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson and Shinsuke Nakamura) all handed in their notice to NJPW booker Gedo on the morning of the show.
This news immediately set the rumour mill alight with several outlets reporting all of the stars had signed with WWE in what has been referred to as the biggest talent coup since WWE signed Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko. While there has been no official confirmation that any of the 4 Wrestlers have signed a contract with the WWE several posts on social media by current NXT champion Finn Balor have added further credence to the growing rumours.
In addition, the WWE have published reports acknowledging the speculation even going so far as to comment on the 4 wrestlers work without confirming or denying these reports. This is uncharacteristic of the corporate giant who until very recently has never publicly acknowledged any other wrestling promotion or even any of their own talents in ring work outside of the company.
In the weeks that have followed several other events have further added to the Media hype around the 4 superstars. Firstly NJPW have reportedly stripped Shinsuke Nakamura of the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks turned on AJ Styles the night after Wrestlekingdom exiling him from the Bullet Club, effectively writing him out of the New Japan/Bullet Club story. However, most recently Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson and AJ Styles all had their last contracted appearance for Ring of Honour which culminated in the Bullet Clubs very own “Curtain Call”. (curtain call refers to the famous Kliq curtain call in WWE when Shaun Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Triple H broke Kayfabe hugging in the ring after Nash and Halls final match).
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) January 24, 2016
So with the WWE Royal Rumble only a few hours away and all of the indicators pointing toward the 4 stars signing for the sports entertainment giant who knows what the future holds.