With WWE now reporting on the strong rumours of signing the New Japan foursome of AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Karl Anderson and Doc Galloway, thoughts now turn to what WWE will actually do with their new arrivals. Now, I can only suggest that these are “Triple H signings”, given that these fit the template of the signings that he’s been credited with to date. So, with that preemptive idea in mind, here are a few “good idea, bad idea” suggestions for WWE and their newbies.
Good idea – Balor Club on the main roster
This is a straight forward one… since Nakamura won’t be arriving for a while as he finishes off his run in New Japan, WWE has the opportunity to reform the original Bullet Club. Obviously, WWE can’t use that name, but they’ve already got Balor Club t-shirts on sale, so the trademark on that is already sewn up.
The issue here is that WWE typically haven’t used stables as part of a credible storyline for years – the most recent effort, in the League of Nations, is already threatening to fizzle out as we head into WrestleMania season. I wouldn’t use the Balor Club as an all dominating group a la the original New World Order, but having them resembling the late 90s Hart Foundation could work well with Balor and Styles going after singles titles. WWE will only get one crack at this – and for maximum effect, it shouldn’t be in NXT.
Bad idea – rename AJ Styles
WWE have been hit and miss when it comes to rebranding wrestlers. In recent times, we’ve seen Pac renamed as (please remember that I used to be Adrian) Neville, Prince Devitt became Finn Balor, and Uhaa Nation became Apollo Crews. However, we’ve also seen the likes of Samoa Joe, James Storm and Sting keep their names. So it really depends on how the wind blows at Titan Towers. On the plus side, AJ Styles would be immediately recognisable to a wider audience, but a part of me has an unshakable feeling that WWE would instantly associate that name with AJ Lee – and the memories of Mrs CM Punk will make them want to activate the NXT name generator. Hopefully it’s not Lee Allen, Air Jones or anything derivative.
Good idea – don’t push AJ or Nakamura to the moon from day one
This one may seem like hypocrisy, particularly after I pointed out in my earlier article “these guys are getting towards the end of their prime”, but hear me out. I’m not expecting WWE to put any title on these guys straight away, much like they did when Paige debuted several years ago. However, I’m also not calling for WWE to have these guys jerking the curtain for many months. Once they debut on the main roster, whether it’s as singles wrestlers or as part of a wider group, WWE should resist the temptation to hot shot either of these guys, and instead go slow. Give them wins over enhancement talent (as in genuine independent guys like Martin Stone/Danny Birch, as opposed to forgotten main roster guys like Damien Sandow or David Otunga). Let them get their moves and characters over, and then start with the storylines. It’s simple, but as we’ve seen in the last decade, it’s something that WWE has had a tendency to forget.
Bad idea – Using anything close to a stereotype
It’s not something that WWE has done for a while, but let’s lay off the Japanese stereotypes with Nakamura. They’ve done a decent job so far with Hideo Itami… and yes, that does mean steering clear of using the old Orient Express theme song.
Good idea – keep Anderson and Gallows as a tag team.
They’ve worked the last few years together in Japan as a unit, and they could make an instant impact in a tag team division that threatens to go stale with every passing week that the New Day gets overexposed. Plus, that means that if handled well, you’ll get at least two decent runs out of the duo (face and heel) before single runs are even on the radar. In short – don’t do what you’ve done with the Dudleys!
Bad idea – Festus, Fake Kane and Straight Edge Gallows should be forgotten
A pretty obvious one here, but there are some characters that are better left forgotten. Sure, keeping the Luke Gallows name will remind some of the past, but that shouldn’t mean that they need to acknowledge everything. And yes, we should probably expect some annoying fans to chant “Festus” like they did when Albert returned as Tensai.
- What do you think? Get in touch with us via Twitter or the Contact Us page, and let us know!