Could KUSHIDA Be Mike Kanellis’ Mystery Opponent on 205 Live Next Week?

Photo: NJPW

It’s been long suspected since former 6x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA announced he was departing New Japan Pro Wrestling that one of the world’s best cruiserweight wrestlers in the world was WWE bound, with most suspecting he’d be headed to NXT. Dave Meltzer stated today that KUSHIDA has indeed signed with the WWE and was apparently expected to debut in a surprise appearance at NXT TakeOver: New York this April over WrestleMania weekend but that “they could have changed that” by now.

In an interesting development, on Tuesday’s episode of 205 Liveas Mike Kanellis tried to plead his case on 205 Live to GM Drake Maverick, Maverick suggested that Kanellis’ losing ways wasn’t a way to keep his job. But as one last chance to stay on the brand, he was told that next week he would face “one of the top cruiserweights in the world”. Assuming he means someone not currently on the roster, could that new cruiserweight be a debuting KUSHIDA? His name could help drive some viewers to 205 Live.

And a potential feud between Mike Kanellis and KUSHIDA as KUSHIDA’s first foray into the WWE Universe may not be as random as it appears. During his days in Ring of Honor as Mike Bennett, he and fellow Kingdom member Matt Taven appeared in two NJPW World Tag Leagues (2014 and 2015), and Bennett faced KUSHIDA on multiple occasions. Having a familiar opponent to work with would let KUSHIDA shine in front of some new eyes. Even if it proves to be one of the other top cruiserweights they’ve signed, like Trevor Lee, ACH or potentially even Shane Strickland, it looks like we’ll be seeing KUSHIDA by April at least.


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