The comparisons have been there nearly since day one. That NJPW’s Bullet Club faction – founded in May of 2013 when NJPW stars Prince Devitt (now WWE Superstar Finn Balor), Karl Anderson, Bad Luck Fale and Tama Tonga raised their hands together in the middle of the ring and announced their alliance – were a team inspired by WCW’s greatest faction, the New World Order (nWo) (don’t worry, we’re counting the Four Horsemen as NWA). And while we’ve shown previously the similarities in the factions over the years (and how they just may have surpassed them in kayfabe terms), a new similarity is emerging that could potentially turn into a story. Now this is not any kind of insider knowledge, or secret plans leaked from a source. This is purely speculation based on some strong parallels that are emerging on the Bullet Club landscape of late. Much like their WCW inspiration, could we see Bullet Club splinter into two cells, like the nWo did with nWo Hollywood (or White) and the Wolfpac?
ARE THE ELITE THE NEW nWo WOLFPAC?
During the spring of 1998, tensions escalated between the nWo’s two de facto leaders, “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan and “Big Sexy” Kevin Nash, when Nash tried to help Randy Savage beat Hogan in a WCW World title match on an episode of Nitro, shortly after Nash and Savage began to doubt Hogan’s “brotherhood”. But the plan backfired and Hogan defeated Savage, winning the WCW World title in the process. But after his victory, he made an ultimatum to the group. Pick a side, either Hogan’s or Nash and Savage’s. From then on, the battle lines were drawn.
The following week, Nash, Savage and Konnan came out debuting new nWo shirts with red logos instead of white, calling themselves the nWo Wolfpac. The Wolfpac was the “cool” team with Nash bringing in guys like Randy Savage, Scott Hall, Sting, Lex Luger, Dusty Rhodes, Rick Rude and others, while Hogan retained Scott Steiner, The Giant, Buff Bagwell and Curt Hennig. Oddly enough, the best of both teams would reunite later as the nWo Elite.
BEING THE ELITE
When Kenny Omega pulled off the coup that sent AJ Styles packing as Bullet Club leader and sending off Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows, he referred to himself and The Young Bucks as the new management team in charge. He dubbed this trio The Elite. Over time, and through the success of the Young Bucks’ YouTube channel, Being The Elite, the trio has expanded to include Omega, The Bucks and the entire Ring of Honor chapter of Bullet Club, in the form of “The Villain” Marty Scurll, “Hangman” Adam Page, and current reigning ROH World Champion, Cody Rhodes. The Elite are clearly the most popular members of Bullet Club currently worldwide, in fan base and merchandise sales, much like how the Wolfpaq was for the nWo in WCW.
THE UNDERBOSS CREW
Back in Japan, “The Underboss” Bad Luck Fale runs the unit in Omega’s absence, where he’s surrounded by the Guerrillas of Destiny, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa (who have shown doubt in Kenny’s leadership in the past on Social Media), Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens, and their most recent addition, G.o.D.’s younger brother, Leo Tonga. While they have some solid names in their presence, they clearly lack the charisma and international appeal of The Elite’s six members (which coincidentally pairs up with the Japanese crew’s six members). In fact earlier today, Fale tweeted his cousin Tama Tonga about the last two remaining founders reclaiming the Club they helped start.
— TheUnderboss (@TOKSFALE) October 18, 2017
This came just a day after Matt Jackson of the Young Bucks replied to a fan on Twitter that this current version of the Bullet Club was his “favorite”.
All dear to my heart but this is my favorite version. https://t.co/1yRq4ooRW2
— The Young Bucks (@MattJackson13) October 14, 2017
It could easily be taken as a sign of disrespect to Fale and Tonga for brushing off the legacy created by Devitt and Anderson and others before them. Most of the Elite were much later additions to the crew. Tonga has been vocal for months, even getting angered at Omega during this year’s G1 Climax, when he wore an Elite shirt instead of a Bullet Club shirt. For Tonga, it’s about the Club, but he seemed offended that Omega was making it more about the individual. In fact, Tama Tonga has hinted that past incarnations were closer to the Bullet Club’s true intentions than current ones before. If you notice, he even cropped out the Young Bucks from the photo.
— 'Bad Boy' Tama Tonga (@Tama_Tonga) September 2, 2017
It wouldn’t be a tough story to tell. While the Underboss’ crew in Japan is fighting the big wars against the factions of NJPW like CHAOS, Los Ingobernables de Japon or Suzuki-Gun, the Elite are becoming internet rock stars, getting all the press, and all the t-shirt deals at Hot Topic. It’s not like the Japanese crew isn’t primed with motive. At times, it seems like The Elite would rather go to war with the WWE than defend its gates against the other forces in NJPW.
It’s a war that could easily last a year, covering promotions across the world, from the US (Ring of Honor) to Japan (NJPW) to the UK (RevPro), with each crew battling to prove their dominance within the hierarchy of the Bullet Club’s brand itself. The group could implode, lose a few members (Omega should really get a proper singles feud away from a group to cement his legacy in Japan) and maybe gain one or two in the process – seeing Neville show up to join the fray as PAC is definitely an intriguing option. He has history with and against Marty Scurll from his pre-WWE days in the UK.
— Marty Scurll (@MartyScurll) October 11, 2017
What do you think? Should the Bullet Club enter it’s own form of civil war between the dividing factions within? Or are they better of just staying together as the dominant unit they still are? Let us know in the comments below!