Rumors have been flying over the last several hours that WWE may have signed away several top stars from Japanese promotion New Japan Pro Wrestling, one day after that company put on their annual Wrestle Kingdom Pay Per View, their largest show of the year. At least four wrestlers, including the IWGP Intercontinental Champion, have allegedly given notice and are expected to debut in WWE, at some level, potentially as soon as the Royal Rumble. At this time, WWE has not officially confirmed the signings, but reputable sources have claimed that they are basically a done deal.
Here are the wrestlers that will reportedly be joining WWE in the near future:
AJ Styles – Styles first gained notoriety in Ring of Honor, and worked briefly for WCW at the end of that company’s existence. After that, he was one of the first talents featured in TNA, becoming a major star for that organization, including 5 World title runs and 6 reigns as X Division champion. He left TNA in 2013 after his contract expired, and resumed wrestling in Ring of Honor, as well as NJPW, where he joined the infamous “Bullet Club”, a stable of non-Japanese wrestlers booked as an invading force in NJPW. He is one of the most well-known North American wrestlers to never work full-time for WWE up to this point. The feeling is that he may debut on the main roster fairly soon if he has indeed been signed.
Doc Gallows – Gallows is a former WWE and TNA wrestler who you may remember as Luke Gallows, a member of CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society. He was also a member of TNA’s Aces and Eights faction, and is a multiple time tag champion in NJPW, also as part of the Bullet Club.
Karl Anderson – Anderson has been in NJPW for many years, and is currently Gallows’ tag team partner in Bullet Club. He also held the tag titles in NJPW with current NXT head trainer Matt Bloom, then known as Giant Bernard, and has been vocal about wanting to be a part of NXT in recent days, even wearing ring gear with the “Balor Club” imagery worn by NXT Champion (and former Bullet Club member) Finn Balor.
Shinsuke Nakamura – Nakamura is the current IWGP Intercontinental Champion, and has been one of the biggest, most decorated, and most charismatic stars in NJPW for several years. He’s also considered one of the best wrestlers on the planet, and is nicknamed “The King of Strong Style”. He will reportedly be staying in NJPW long enough to drop the title, and the popular rumor is that he may have accepted a contract in excess of seven figures to join WWE. Between his age (Nakamura is 35) and the money that WWE is likely shelling out, he is expected to join the main roster sooner rather than later. WWE’s Daniel Bryan has publicly expressed a desire to face Nakamura before his career ends in recent interviews.