Friction between subgroups within New Japan’s iconic Bullet Club stable has existed since at least 2018, when The Elite parted ways with OG Biz Cliz. Since then, the beef has mostly happened online. But in recent years, we’ve seen some of that play out in the US-based promotions where former club members are currently working – especially as guys like Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks and Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson fight for companies that NJPW actively partners with. starring as Impact and AEW.
With COVID restrictions eased and wrestlers able to travel more freely to Japan, history can once again unfold where it began. We started seeing this happen on Sunday May 1 in Fukuoka at Dontaku fight.
After exiled founding member Tama Tonga won the NEVER Openweight title from EVIL (from the BC-aligned House of Torture), Good Brothers Gallows & Anderson made their return to New Japan for the first time since signing. with WWE in 2016. the new champion, along with fellow Guerrillas of Destiny Tanga Loa & Jado. Wearing the familiar Bullet Club logo and posing with the NEVER belt, there was no doubting Machine Gun’s allegiances or intentions.
This happened between Bad Luck Fale and Chase Owens of the club winning the IWGP Tag Titles, and Taiji Ishimori defeating El Desperado to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight crown… so you can already tell it was a big night for Bullet Club. He only got bigger after GOD’s friend Hiroshi Tanahashi won the vacant IWGP United Championship in a banger with Tomohiro Ishii.
Owens hit the ring to take on the Ace, but it was just a distraction. A masked man eliminated Tanahashi, then revealed himself to be the club’s newest member – Juice Robinson.
This was surprising for several reasons. It’s mainly because Robinson did a great job selling the idea that he was done with New Japan after last month. Windy City Riot show in Chicago. But it’s also because he and his FinJuice partner, David Finlay, have been frequent enemies at the Club, most recently at the Impact with whom they fell out with his new teammates Gallows & Anderson.
But that’s not all!
After Kazuchika Okada challenged for his IWGP World Heavyweight title against former rival Tetsuya Naito, Switchblade Jay White made his first appearance in Japan since last year. He and Gedo defeated the champion, then were joined by Anderson and the non-HoT Club members for a celebration of the group’s “birthday” (they debuted on Dontaku in 2013). Machine Gun put White on as he posed with the belt above his head and his foot on the Rainmaker’s neck.
Where are you going? Directly until June 12 at Osaka-jo Hall and Domination. An Okada/White title fight will headline this show, with Tonga v Anderson and Owens & Fale v United Empire’s Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb championship matches also on the card.
This show is, of course, a few weeks before AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door in Chicago – a show the Switchblade helped herald.