AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, More NJPW Stars Headed to WWE
WWE is expanding its roster with some pretty surprising acquisitions, as the company has signed New Japan Pro Wrestling stars AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Doc Gallows, and Karl Anderson.
On the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer noted that some of these names could appear in the 30-man Royal Rumble match, although nothing is certain. What is certain, however, is that Styles and Nakamura are being brought in at a high cost, so they aren’t being brought in to languish in NXT. While they haven’t officially signed yet, Meltzer states that they’re definitely main roster-bound. Of course, that doesn’t mean an appearance in NXT is out of the cards, since they could easily be sent down for an NXT Takeover event to work a main event match. But right now, that isn’t the plan for these two.
Currently, Nakamura is still under contract to NJPW. It’s expected that Nakamura will soon give notice and drop the Intercontinental title before he leaves, in order to avoid what happened to AAA when their world champion, Albert Del Rio, signed with WWE without dropping his title first. Much like with Del Rio, it’s unlikely WWE would allow Nakamura to return to New Japan to drop the title later.
I have no idea what WWE will do with these men, although I see more money in some than others. For instance, Karl Anderson is a hell of a worker, but I don’t know if he’s necessarily going to be a money maker for WWE. Ditto Gallows, who’s been there before. That said, they could be the shot in the arm that the tag division really needs right now, although why they don’t just call up some of the awesome teams languishing in NXT is beyond me (Gable and Jordan, The Vaudevillains, and Enzo and Cass should have been on the main roster MONTHS ago). And I think it almost goes without saying what a huge upside Styles and Nakamura have in WWE, since they’re two of the most accomplished performers in the business today. With Daniel Bryan out for the foreseeable future, and Seth Rollins on the injured list until later this year, we need all the top shelf workers we can get. Lord knows, we probably aren’t going to be getting any showstopping matches out of constant League of Nations main events.
But what do you think of WWE signing NJPW talent? Is it a good move? Are you optimistic about what WWE will do with them? Sound off in the comments!
And for more WWE news, get all the details on the huge change to the 2016 Royal Rumble match!