New Japan Pro Wrestling Stars Incoming!
Time for a “gimmicks” article for the new Games and Gimmicks website and boy what news we have! First, a disclaimer: I have been a fan of professional wrestling for 20 years, not “sports entertainment.” I am not an analyst doing this professionally, nor do I think what I say goes. These are just thoughts and feelings from a longtime fan who probably thinks about wrestling too much.
The current rumbling making its way around the world wide web is that WWE has signed (or attempting to sign) 4 major New Japan Pro Wrestling stars: Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson, Shinsuke Nakamura, and perhaps most notably AJ Styles. I’m not going to delve into the history and career of each individual as Google, YouTube, and Wikipedia can help me there and I would strongly recommend doing some research on Nakamura as he is one of NJPW’s biggest stars. I just want to focus my thoughts on the prospect of AJ Styles finally making his way to professional wrestling’s
I have been a huge fan of AJ Styles since watching him for the first time in TNA around 2002. “Thepoorassgamer” and myself have had the privilege of watching him wrestle live multiple times. After leaving TNA, Styles has been having quite possibly the best run of his career on the indy scene and especially in New Japan as a part of the “Bullet Club” faction along with Gallows and Anderson. I’ve always hoped that he would have a run in WWE. As that seems to be the case, should I be excited? Should I be worried?
I am excited because Styles will get to perform in the biggest pro wrestling company in the world (regardless on one’s feelings about the current product, WWE is the top dog and there is no argument to the contrary). The big question is will he start at NXT or the main roster on Raw? I vote for NXT because it is the best environment for AJ Styles. The talent, the booking, and the atmosphere would suit Styles well. And what a group of talent to have programs with! Styles vs. Finn Balor? Yes please!
Why would I be worried? Well, it’s actually pretty sad that we no longer have “big” debuts on the main roster anymore. Recently, folks coming from NXT get a decent initial debut then falter to the mid card with no purpose because WWE sees fit to not make us care about them. Kevin Owens is a close exception to this and don’t get me started on what they’ve done with Tyler Breeze. Sting was, and probably will be, the last big debut for a wrestler never to have been on WWE programming and what had great possibilities unfortunately turned into a major let down. All we got was constant reminders that he was the WCW guy and that he does not matter here. I would hate for something along those lines to happen to Styles, let alone any other wrestler.
In the end, I am excited for AJ Styles and hope that he does well, is treated well, makes good money, and gets the reception he deserves. Heck, have him in the Royal Rumble this year. That would be a fantastical surprise! As fans, let’s be supportive and hope for the best. And if WWE drops the ball, we will do what we wrestling fans do best; complain.
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