Bullet Club

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Bullet Club
Bullet Club in September 2013:
(left to right) Rey Bucanero, Bad Luck Fale, Karl Anderson, Prince Devitt and Tama Tonga.
Stable
Members See below
Name(s) Bullet Club
Debut May 3, 2013[1]
Promotions NJPW
CMLL[2]
ROH[3]

Bullet Club (バレットクラブ Barettokurabu?), sometimes referred to as "Bullet-gun" (Japanese for "Bullet Army") and shortened to BC,[4][5] is a professional wrestling stable in the New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) promotion. The group was formed in May 2013, when Irish wrestler Prince Devitt turned on his partner Ryusuke Taguchi and came together with American wrestler Karl Anderson and Tongan wrestlers Bad Luck Fale and Tama Tonga to form a villainous stable of foreigners, which they subsequently named Bullet Club. Before the end of the year, the stable was also joined by three other Americans; The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) and Doc Gallows. Wrestlers from the Mexican Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) promotion have also worked tours of NJPW as members of Bullet Club, which led to the formation of a sub-group named Bullet Club Latinoamerica in CMLL in October 2013. At the end of 2013, Bullet Club held both the IWGP Junior Heavyweight and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships, while also having conquered three of NJPW's five annual tournaments. The stable marked a major turning point for the career of Devitt, a longtime fan favorite, who began his ascent out of the junior heavyweight division and into the IWGP Heavyweight Championship picture. In April 2014, Devitt left NJPW and was replaced in Bullet Club by American wrestler A.J. Styles, while Anderson took over the leadership of the stable. The following month, Bullet Club received its first Japanese member, when Yujiro Takahashi joined and helped Styles capture the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. The following June, members of Bullet Club also won the IWGP Intercontinental and NEVER Openweight Championships, meaning that the stable had now held all titles NJPW had to offer. Bullet Club's matches often involve excessive outside interference, which is unusual in puroresu, even in matches involving other villainous acts, and got the group over as a top stable.[6]

History[edit]

Formation (2013)[edit]

"Real Rock 'n' Rolla" Prince Devitt, the original leader of Bullet Club, on the shoulders of "The Underboss" Bad Luck Fale.

On February 3, 2013, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Prince Devitt pinned IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi in a tag team match, where he and Karl Anderson faced Tanahashi and Devitt's longtime Apollo 55 tag team partner Ryusuke Taguchi.[7] This led to a match between Devitt and Tanahashi on March 3 at NJPW's 41st anniversary event. Though neither man's title was on the line in the match, Tanahashi vowed to relinquish the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in case Devitt was victorious.[8] After defeating Devitt, Tanahashi went to help his opponent up, but was pushed away by the disappointed Junior Heavyweight Champion.[9][10] The following weeks, Devitt began portraying a more cocky and villainous persona, regularly disrespecting both partners and opponents, with the exception of Ryusuke Taguchi, whom he tried to get to go along with his new attitude.[11][12] However, this changed on April 7 at the Invasion Attack pay-per-view, when Devitt turned on Taguchi, after the two had failed to recapture the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship from the Time Splitters (Alex Shelley and Kushida). During the attack, Devitt was helped by the returning King Fale, who attacked not only Taguchi, but also Shelley, Kushida and Captain New Japan, whom Devitt then proceeded to unmask. Following the attack, Devitt took a microphone, introduced Fale as his new "bouncer", giving him the new name "The Underboss" Bad Luck Fale and dubbed himself the "Real Rock 'n' Rolla".[13][14] At the following pay-per-view, Wrestling Dontaku 2013 on May 3, Devitt and Fale teamed up for the first time to defeat Taguchi and Captain New Japan in a tag team match.[15] Later in the event, Devitt and Fale entered the ring to attack the now former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi, after he had defeated Karl Anderson in a singles match. Anderson first went to stop Devitt and Fale, but then turned on Tanahashi, hitting him with the Gun Stun. As the three men continued their attack on Tanahashi, they were also joined by Tama Tonga,[1] with whom Anderson had formed a partnership during the past two weeks.[16][17][18] In a post-match interview, the four men announced the formation of an all-gaijin stable named "Bullet Club".[19][20] The name, which Devitt had come up with, was in reference to Devitt's finger gun hand gesture and "Real Shooter" nickname and Anderson's nickname, "The Machine Gun".[21][22] Behind the scenes, the four men were best friends and travel partners and NJPW decided to put them together following the positive response to the Apollo 55 breakup angle, changing the original scenario, where Devitt and Fale would have gone on as a duo.[22]

Under Prince Devitt's leadership (2013–2014)[edit]

"The Machine Gun" Karl Anderson, founding member and second leader of Bullet Club.

The four members of Bullet Club wrestled their first match together on May 22, when they defeated Captain New Japan, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Manabu Nakanishi and Ryusuke Taguchi in an eight-man tag team match.[23] Two days later, Devitt entered the 2013 Best of the Super Juniors tournament, where he won his block with a clean record of eight wins and zero losses,[24] though most of his matches featured outside interference from the rest of the Bullet Club.[25][26][27][28][29][30] On June 9, Devitt advanced to the finals of the tournament after defeating Kenny Omega in his semifinal match, again with help from Bullet Club.[31][32][33][34][35] During the final match, later that same night, Bullet Club was ejected from ringside after getting into a brawl with Captain New Japan, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kushida, who accompanied Alex Shelley to the match. Despite losing his back-up, Devitt defeated Shelley to win the 2013 Best of the Super Juniors, after which he proceeded to challenge Hiroshi Tanahashi.[31][32][33][34][35] Devitt's old tag team partner Ryusuke Taguchi had originally earned a spot in the semifinals of the tournament, but a legitimate hip injury forced him to pull out.[34][36] During the following day's press conference, Devitt also mentioned a move to the heavyweight division, aiming to become the first wrestler to hold the IWGP Junior Heavyweight and IWGP Heavyweight Championships simultaneously.[37][38][39] On June 22 at Dominion 6.22, Devitt defeated Tanahashi, again following interference from the rest of the Bullet Club, to earn his first-ever shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.[40] The reigning champion, Kazuchika Okada, accepted Devitt's challenge for the title later in the event on the condition that he first defend the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against his Chaos stablemate Gedo.[41][42][43][44] Bullet Club's feud with Tanahashi continued at the July 5 Kizuna Road 2013 pay-per-view, where Tama Tonga and visiting Mexican wrestler Terrible lost the Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) World Tag Team Championship to Tanahashi and Jushin Liger.[45] Terrible worked also the rest of his two-week NJPW tour as a member of Bullet Club.[46][47][48] In the main event, Devitt successfully defended the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against Gedo to earn his IWGP Heavyweight Championship match with Okada.[49][50][51][52][53] The Heavyweight Championship match took place on July 20 and saw Okada defeat Devitt, despite interference from the rest of Bullet Club, to retain the title.[54][55][56][57] From August 1 to 11, both Devitt and Anderson took part in the 2013 G1 Climax, wrestling in separate round-robin blocks.[58] During the tournament, Devitt picked up big wins, albeit through outside interference, over IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada and former champions Hiroshi Tanahashi, Satoshi Kojima and Togi Makabe,[59][60][61] but failed to advance from his block. Meanwhile, Anderson entered the final day with a chance to reach the finals, but a loss against Tetsuya Naito eliminated him from the tournament.[62][63][64] On September 5, Rey Bucanero, another CMLL wrestler, started a NJPW tour working as a member of Bullet Club.[65][66] On September 14, the rest of Bullet Club helped Bucanero and Tama Tonga defeat Hiroshi Tanahashi and Jushin Liger for the CMLL World Tag Team Championship.[67][68] The rivalry between Devitt and Tanahashi culminated in a Lumberjack Deathmatch on September 29 at Destruction, where Tanahashi was victorious.[69][70][71]

With the Tanahashi rivalry behind him, Devitt moved onto a new rivalry with Togi Makabe,[72] who played a big part in him losing the Lumberjack Deathmatch.[69] During the rivalry Makabe was backed up by his G.B.H. partner Tomoaki Honma and Kota Ibushi, a recent NJPW signee, who was looking for a shot at Devitt's IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.[73][74][75] On October 11, Tonga and Bucanero returned to CMLL, where they formed "Bullet Club Latinoamerica" with Terrible and female wrestler and manager La Comandante.[2][76] Meanwhile, Anderson looked to avenge his loss from the finals of the 2012 G1 Climax by attacking Kazuchika Okada on October 14 at King of Pro-Wrestling and asserting himself as the next challenger for his IWGP Heavyweight Championship.[77][78][79][80] On October 15, NJPW announced the 2013 Super Jr. Tag Tournament, which would see American tag team The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) making their debut for the promotion, representing Bullet Club.[81] On October 18, Tonga and Bucanero were stripped of the CMLL World Tag Team Championship, when they were unable to defend the title against La Máscara and Rush due to Bucanero being sidelined with an injury.[82][83] On October 25, The Young Bucks made their NJPW debut, defeating Baretta and Brian Kendrick in the first round of the Super Jr. Tag Tournament, thanks to a pre-match assault by the rest of Bullet Club.[84][85][86] On November 6, The Young Bucks first defeated Gedo and Jado in the semifinals and then the Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov and Rocky Romero) in the finals to win the tournament.[87][88][89] Three days later at Power Struggle, The Young Bucks defeated Suzukigun (Taichi and Taka Michinoku) to become the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.[90][91][92] Later in the main event of the evening, Karl Anderson failed in his attempt to capture the IWGP Heavyweight Championship from Kazuchika Okada.[91][93][94] On November 11, NJPW announced the participating teams in the 2013 World Tag League. In the tournament, Bullet Club would be represented by two teams in separate blocks; Devitt and Fale in block A and Anderson and the debuting American Doc Gallows in block B.[95] On December 7, both teams entered the final day of the round-robin portion of the tournament with a chance to advance to the semifinals. Anderson and Gallows won their block with a record of four wins and two losses by defeating NWA World Tag Team Champions Jax Dane and Rob Conway, while Devitt and Fale were eliminated with a record of three wins and three losses, after losing to Captain New Japan and Hiroshi Tanahashi, who had lost all their other matches in the tournament.[96] The following day, Anderson and Gallows first defeated Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma in the semifinals and then Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima in the finals to win the tournament.[97][98][99][100] On January 4, 2014, at Wrestle Kingdom 8 in Tokyo Dome, The Young Bucks made their first successful defense of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship in a four-way match against the Forever Hooligans, Suzukigun and the Time Splitters.[101][102][103] Meanwhile, during the same event, Anderson and Gallows defeated K.E.S. (Davey Boy Smith, Jr. and Lance Archer) to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship.[101][102][103][104] After the two early wins in the event, Bullet Club's night ended on two losses, when first Bad Luck Fale was defeated in a King of Destroyer match by Togi Makabe,[101][102][103][105] who gained revenge on Fale for costing him both the G1 Climax and World Tag League in 2013, which was followed by Prince Devitt losing the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship to Kota Ibushi, ending his fourteen-month reign.[101][102][103][106]

February's The New Beginning tour featured Bullet Club defending both of their tag team championships and the re-ignition of a rivalry between Devitt and his former partner Ryusuke Taguchi, who returned from an eight month injury break.[107] On February 9 at The New Beginning in Hiroshima, Anderson and Gallows made their first successful defense of the IWGP Tag Team Championship in a rematch with K.E.S.,[108][109][110] while two days later at The New Beginning in Osaka, The Young Bucks made their second successful defense of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship against the Time Splitters.[111][112] Devitt dominated his encounters with Taguchi for most of the tour, including pinning him in his return eight-man tag team match on February 2,[113][114][115] but at the tour ending event in Osaka, Taguchi pinned his former partner in a tag team match, where he teamed with Togi Makabe and Devitt with Fale.[111][112] Afterwards, Anderson and Gallows found themselves new title challengers in Hirooki Goto and Katsuyori Shibata, who defeated the Bullet Club representatives in a non-title match at NJPW's 42nd anniversary event on March 6.[116][117][118] Anderson and Gallows also lost to Shibata and Goto, respectively, in their first round matches in the 2014 New Japan Cup on March 15.[119][120] Two other members of Bullet Club also took part in the tournament and both were eliminated by Shinsuke Nakamura; Devitt in the second round and Fale in the finals.[121][122] On April 3, Nick Jackson was given the opportunity to bring the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champioship back to Bullet Club, but he was defeated in the title match by Kota Ibushi, despite outside interference from his brother.[123][124] Meanwhile, as the one-year anniversary of the break-up of Apollo 55 approached, the rivalry between Devitt and Taguchi escalated, leading to Taguchi challenging his rival to a Loser Leaves Town match.[125] The stipulation, however, was never made official for their April 6 Invasion Attack 2014 match. During the match, Devitt got into an argument with The Young Bucks, after the two repeatedly interfered in the match despite his orders not to do so. This led to The Young Bucks turning on Devitt, who responded by diving onto his Bullet Club stablemates. After Taguchi defeated Devitt, the two men shook hands, ended their rivalry with each other and Devitt's association with Bullet Club.[126][127] Devitt's resignation from NJPW was announced the following day.[128][129][130]

Rebirth (2014)[edit]

A.J. Styles, who joined Bullet Club in April 2014 and brought the IWGP Heavyweight Championship over to the stable the following month.

Later at Invasion Attack 2014, American wrestler A.J. Styles debuted as the newest member of Bullet Club, attacking IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. Styles, who knew Okada from their days working together for the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) promotion, claimed that Okada was still the same "young boy" (rookie) he had known in TNA and asserted himself as the next challenger for his title.[127][131][132] Also during the event, Bullet Club retained both of their tag team championships, with The Young Bucks successfully defending against Kota Ibushi and El Desperado, and Anderson and Gallows against Goto and Shibata.[127][133] Following Invasion Attack 2014, with Styles still working a full schedule on the American independent circuit and only booked to work NJPW's larger events,[134] Anderson was positioned as the new leader of Bullet Club.[135] On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2014, Styles defeated Okada to become the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion, when Yujiro Takahashi turned on Okada and the Chaos stable and jumped to Bullet Club, becoming its first Japanese member.[136][137] Earlier in the event, The Young Bucks had also retained the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship against Forever Hooligans.[136][138] With Bullet Club capturing NJPW's top title, while also holding both of its tag team titles, and adding new members, this was billed as a "rebirth" for the stable, which was celebrating its one-year anniversary during the event.[139]

Later in the month, Bullet Club took part in NJPW's North American tour, produced in collaboration with Ring of Honor (ROH). On May 10 at Global Wars in Toronto, The Young Bucks made their fifth successful defense of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship in a three-way match against Forever Hooligans and Time Splitters.[140][141] A week later at War of the Worlds in New York City, Anderson and Gallows defeated the ROH team of Jay and Mark, The Briscoe Brothers, to retain the IWGP Tag Team Championship, while The Young Bucks lost the ROH World Tag Team Championship to reDRagon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly). In the main event, Styles defeated Okada and ROH's Michael Elgin in a three-way match to make his first successful defense of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.[142][143] On May 25 at Back to the Yokohama Arena, Styles defeated Okada for his second successful title defense. Also during the event, Bullet Club set their sights on two more titles with Takahashi targeting the NEVER Openweight Championship and Fale the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, both held by members of Chaos.[144][145] On June 21 at Dominion 6.21, The Young Bucks' seven-month reign as the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions came to an end, when they were defeated by the Time Splitters in their sixth defense.[146][147] Later that same event, Anderson and Gallows made their fifth successful defense of the IWGP Tag Team Championship against Ace to King (Hiroshi Tanahashi and Togi Makabe), while in the main event Bad Luck Fale defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to become the new IWGP Intercontinental Champion.[146][147] On June 29, Yujiro Takahashi brought another title over to the Bullet Club, when he defeated Tomohiro Ishii with help from his stablemates for the NEVER Openweight Championship. With the win, Bullet Club had won every title in NJPW, now simultaneously holding its four heavyweight titles.[148][149][150]

From July 21 to August 8, five members of Bullet Club took part in the 2014 G1 Climax with Fale and Gallows wrestling in block A and Anderson, Styles and Takahashi in block B.[151][152] All five failed to advance from their blocks with Fale finishing third and Gallows ninth in their block of eleven and Styles finishing second, Anderson third and Takahashi tied sixth in their block. Styles was eliminated due to losing to block winner Okada in their head-to-head match.[153][154] On August 10, Global Force Wrestling (GFW) founder Jeff Jarrett and manager Scott D'Amore joined Bullet Club, attacking Hiroshi Tanahashi after he had defeated Styles in a non-title match.[155][156] On September 21 at Destruction in Kobe, Bullet Club and Chaos faced off in two more title matches. First Anderson and Gallows made their sixth successful defense of the IWGP Tag Team Championship against Kazuchika Okada and Yoshi-Hashi and later in the main event Fale lost the IWGP Intercontinental Championship back to Shinsuke Nakamura in his first defense.[157][158] Two days later at Destruction in Okayama, Takahashi made his first successful defense of the NEVER Openweight Championship against Yoshi-Hashi, while in the main event Karl Anderson failed to capture the IWGP Heavyweight Championship number one contender's contract from G1 Climax winner Kazuchika Okada.[159] Bullet Club lost their two remaining singles titles on October 13 at King of Pro-Wrestling with Takahashi losing the NEVER Openweight Championship back to Tomohiro Ishii in his second title defense, while in the main event, Styles lost the IWGP Heavyweight Championship to Hiroshi Tanahashi in his third defense, after Jeff Jarrett's outside interference was stopped by the returning Yoshitatsu.[160][161] This capped off a 0–4 night for Bullet Club, who were also defeated in an eight-man tag team match, while The Young Bucks unsuccessfully challenged Time Splitters for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship in a three-way match also involving Forever Hooligans.[160][161]

Members[edit]

Yujiro Takahashi, Bullet Club's first Japanese member.
Current
Member Time
A.J. Styles April 6, 2014 – present
Bad Luck Fale May 3, 2013 – present
Doc Gallows November 23, 2013 – present
Karl Anderson (second leader) May 3, 2013 – present
Matt Jackson October 25, 2013 – present
Nick Jackson October 25, 2013 – present
Tama Tonga May 3, 2013 – present
Yujiro Takahashi May 3, 2014 – present
Former
Member Time
Prince Devitt (first leader) May 3, 2013April 6, 2014
Irregular participation
Member First appearance
La Comandante October 11, 2013
Jeff Jarrett August 10, 2014
Rey Bucanero September 5, 2013
Scott D'Amore August 10, 2014
Terrible July 5, 2013

In wrestling[edit]

Devitt's Bloody Sunday.
Fale's Bad Luck Fall.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

(Left to right) Matt and Nick Jackson, The Young Bucks, representing Bullet Club as both the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team and ROH World Tag Team Champions.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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