WNS Column: Who Could Take Bullet Club to the Next Level?
In just a few short years, The Bullet Club has already established itself as one of the most popular and successful wrestling factions of all time. BC has absolutely dominated the worldwide wrestling scene, capturing championships in New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor, and several other promotions as well. BC currently consists of ROH World Champion Adam Cole, "The Cleaner" Kenny Omega, ROH World Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks: Matt and Nick Jackson, Adam "Hangman" Page, Cody Hall, Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi, Tama Tonga, Bad Luck Fale, and Tanga Roa. A strong line-up, no doubt. But many would argue that Bullet Club may have lost some of its edge with the departures of Prince Devitt (Finn Balor), A.J. Styles, Luke/Doc Gallows, and Karl Anderson. Although BC is not in dire straits by any means, perhaps one or two high-profile additions to Bullet Club would further re-establish the group as the most elite wrestling faction in the world.
Jay Lethal is quite possibly the most accomplished wrestler in ROH history, which is saying a lot when you think of some of the great champions that ROH has seen over the years. Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, C.M. Punk, and "The American Dragon" Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan) are just a few of the incredible performers who have held the ROH World Championship over the years. Since 2014, Jay Lethal has been nothing less than an absolute monster in the realm of ROH. He captured his second ROH World Television Championship in April of 2014 and held the title for 567 days until October of 2015. He then captured the ROH World Championship in June of 2015, holding it until August of 2016 when he lost the title to Bullet Club's Adam Cole. Jay Lethal is the first man in ROH history to hold the Television and World Championships simultaneously.
How ironic would it be if Jay Lethal were to join the very group that took the ROH World Championship from him?
Although Hiroshi Tanahashi is not extremely well-known here in the United States, he has achieved God-like status in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Tanahashi has cemented his legacy as one of the greatest New Japan IWGP World Heavyweight Champions of all time, and at the relatively young age of 39, is already a sure-fire future NJPW Greatest Wrestlers (Hall of Fame) Inductee. He has the star power of John Cena and is as good of a wrestler as anybody else on the face of the planet. Tanahashi would bring incredible star power to Bullet Club in NJPW.
If his body can hold up, Kurt Angle would be a perfect fit for The Bullet Club, most likely as its leader. Angle is a former Olympic Gold Medalist in amateur wrestling and is one of the most decorated World Heavyweight Champions in professional wrestling history. Angle is a five-time WWE World Champion, a one-time WCW World Champion, a six-time TNA World Champion, and a one-time holder of the Inoki Genome Federation version of the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Angle participated in several tours of Japan during his time with TNA, making him no stranger to the Japanese wrestling fanbase. Angle also has a history of leading successful factions, as he was once "The Godfather" of the Main Event Mafia faction that dominated TNA for over a year from 2008 to 2009. With his technical wrestling expertise and love of hard-hitting, shoot-style wrestling, one would think that Kurt Angle would fit in quite nicely with ROH, NJPW, and The Bullet Club.
"The Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada has made quite a name for himself in NJPW over the past several years. You could say that if Hiroshi Tanahashi is like the John Cena of New Japan, then Okada may be their Randy Orton. Okada is a four-time IWGP World Heavyweight Champion and has also been given the MVP Award from the Tokyo Sports newspaper in 2012, 2013, and 2015. Okada has an undeniable charisma that has only been matched by Shinsuke Nakamura and would surely be a welcome addition to The Bullet Club.
War Machine: Hanson & Raymond Rowe
One of the most talented and hard-hitting tag teams to explode on the scene in Ring of Honor in a long time, War Machine consists of the 6'1", 240-pound Raymond Rowe and the 6'3", 280-pound Hanson. It's nothing short of amazing to watch these two absolutely destroy their opponents inside of the ring. Hanson in particular is something special to watch. His immense size, combined with his ridiculous athleticism, makes him a unique attraction for ROH. Bullet Club would certainly benefit from having these two killers on their roster.
Jeff Jarrett already briefly aligned himself with The Bullet Club in late 2014 and early 2015. He assisted A.J. Styles with a few of his matches and officially teamed up with BC members Yujiro Takahashi and Bad Luck Fale at Wrestle Kingdom 9 in January of 2015 to take on the team of Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, and Tomoaki Honma. Bullet Club lost this match and Jarrett hasn't really done anything with them since then.
Jeff Jarrett's name value would add some star power to BC, but it could also help Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling promotion, which has been rather inactive considering how much hype it garnered during its infancy stages.
Rob Van Dam
The former WWE, ECW, and TNA World Champion is one of the most popular wrestlers of the past two decades. However, ECW fans may recall that Rob Van Dam is more than capable of working as a heel, which would make him a good fit for The Bullet Club. Although Van Dam is well into his 40's, he seems to be virtually ageless. He still looks good and can still perform as well as anybody. From an in-ring standpoint, Van Dam would mesh perfectly with some of the other BC members like The Young Bucks. He uses a combination of high-flying acrobatics and deadly Martial Arts strikes. From a character standpoint, Van Dam and Bullet Club are actually fairly similar. When Van Dam worked as a heel in ECW, he played the cool bad guy character. Bullet Club is notorious for portraying themselves as the cool bad guys.
Jushin "Thunder" Liger
Jushin Liger, quite simply, is the epitome of the word "legend." Words can't do justice to his contributions to the Cruiserweight style of wrestling, or as they refer to them in Japan, Junior Heavyweights. Liger has competed all over the world, for countless promotions. Liger has performed for Ring of Honor in the past and is always welcomed by the ROH fans. Just imagine how a Japanese icon like Jushin Liger would affect the status of The Bullet Club, both in NJPW and ROH.
Kazushi Sakuraba is arguably the greatest Japanese mixed martial arts fighter of all time. His accomplishments in the world of MMA often make people overlook the fact that he is also a veteran professional wrestler. Trained by the legendary Billy Robinson in the deadly art of Catch-As-Catch-Can Wrestling, Sakuraba is a true submission grappling machine who adds credibility to the sport of professional wrestling. Sakuraba could be used as a bad-ass enforcer for The Bullet Club.
Formerly known as Wade Barrett, Bad News Barrett, and King Barrett in WWE, Stu Bennett was a five-time WWE Intercontinental Champion and has been part of several factions in WWE. He debuted on the main roster in the summer of 2010 as the leader of The Nexus, a group which rocked WWE to its very foundation. He was also a member of the short-lived Nexus off-shoot faction known as The Corre, and in his final days with WWE, was a member of The League of Nations along with Sheamus, Rusev, and Alberto Del Rio. Bennett is known for being one of the most legitimately tough wrestlers in the world today, as he earned a reputation in his home country of England for being a successful bare-knuckle fighter.
Stu Bennett would probably fit in quite nicely with The Bullet Club. With his hard-hitting, smash-mouth style of offense, his history of being in powerful factions, and his sheer star power from his six-year tenure on the WWE roster, there's no reason why Bennett wouldn't be a great addition to BC.
Alberto El Patron
Truly one of the hottest free agents on the market today, the former Alberto Del Rio is a four-time WWE World Champion, a two-time WWE United States Champion, the 2011 WWE Royal Rumble Match Winner, a one-time CMLL World Heavyweight Champion, and a one-time AAA Mega Champion. He is also one of the best pure in-ring performers anywhere in the world today, and was a successful amateur wrestler and mixed martial arts fighter. Like Stu Bennett, Alberto was a member of The League of Nations for some time, but Alberto is primarily known for being a singles competitor. Perhaps more so than anyone else on this list, Alberto just doesn't seem to fit in at all with factions. He'll be a valuable asset to any promotions he decides to work for, but maybe he wouldn't fit in so well with The Bullet Club. Still though, it would definitely get people talking if Alberto were to join BC.
Probably one of the greatest stars of the past 20 years to never capture a WWE World Championship, Cody Runnels, better known as Cody Rhodes, is the son of the late, great "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes and brother of the legendary Dustin "Goldust" Rhodes. It has been revealed that Cody Runnels will have non-exclusive contracts with both TNA and ROH, which means that it would not be out of the question at all for Cody to join The Bullet Club. Cody is a ridiculously talented performer and enjoyed considerable success in WWE. He was a two-time WWE Intercontinental Champion and a six-time WWE Tag Team Champion.
Cody was on the WWE roster for over nine years, as he debuted back in mid-2007 and just recently parted ways from the company back in May of 2016. He played the character of Stardust for his last two years in WWE, which was met with a mixed reaction by fans. Most people would agree that he was much better when he was allowed to just be Cody Rhodes. Now that he's free to achieve success outside of WWE, there is seemingly no limit to what Cody Runnels could accomplish.
Cody is excellent at playing a heel character and it's quite easy to imagine him teaming up with The Bullet Club. In fact, it would not be at all far-fetched to imagine Cody being the leader of BC at some point.
Who do you think could help take The Bullet Club to a new level? Would you like to see one or two of the people on this list join BC? Maybe somebody else who isn't included on this list? There's tons of other possibilities from the ROH and NJPW rosters, as well as other promotions around the world (except for current WWE Superstars or TNA-exclusive stars of course).