Friday, April 17, 2015

The Counterweight to the NJPW Crew Has Been Announced, Hail Hydra

War of the Worlds to be Too Sweet
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Well, in what was only a formality, the final overall "guest" competitors for War of the Worlds have been announced, even though three of them are pretty much Ring of Honor regulars anyway. The Bullet Club has been announced for the show, just as it was last year. The envoy will contain current IWGP World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles, the Young Bucks, and the current IWGP World Tag Team Champions Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson. Styles and the Bucks have competed extensively for ROH over the years, while Anderson and Gallows are more the guest stars. Either way, they will figure heavily in the four-show tour's narrative as the native Japanese wrestlers coming over.

The Bullet Club has expanded quite a bit since last year's event. Although it lost founding member Prince Devitt (now known as Finn Bálor in NXT), the group picked up some new recruits along the way. The Bucks were actually added during the interim, and they're probably the only really good new members in the sassy Western stable, unless you're a diehard fan of Yujiro Takahashi, Jeff Jarrett, or Scott D'Amore. While it's easy to compare the group to the New World Order, both in bloat, color scheme, and use of hand signal (that may be curtailed thanks to over-litigious jerks from WWE), the function of stables in New Japan Pro Wrestling have almost by design integrated the group into the fabric. I think if you really wanted a NJPW nWo analogue, you'd have to look to Suzuki-Gun, which has forcefully invaded Pro Wrestling NOAH, saw leader and namesake Minoru Suzuki capture the GHC World Heavyweight Championship, and made Kenta Kobashi sad. I'm still mad at them for making Kenta Kobashi sad.

Anyway, the Bucks and Styles will be good additions to the show. Gallows and Anderson, well, I haven't been too overwhelmed by them recently, but hey, they're in the same boat as Tetsuya Naito right now for me. They aren't spiking the meter, but they aren't detracting from the show either. Overall, the complete visiting party from NJPW plus the ROH roster is shaping up for four pretty special shows. It'll be interesting to see what matches happen at which venues, but I'm hoping that fans are treated to a full mixing of rosters for all four shows instead of having the NJPW guys fight amongst themselves in Toronto and then clash with the ROH guys in America like last year.