AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and multiple members of the Bullet Club have ‘given notice’ to New Japan Pro Wrestling that they’re done with the company, according to an exclusive report by former WWE writer Court Bauer over at MLW Radio.
While in theory you can give notice without leaving for sure, he made it clear that they’re done with NJPW. While he didn’t say so, one would think they’re leaving to bolster the NXT touring roster in WWE, but obviously that’s mostly conjecture.
The key here is likely what Styles and Nakamura are being paid. Nakamura was making excellent money as one of NJPW’s top natives and Styles was probably making the most money of any American freelancer the last two years. The question is what exactly the trade-off would be: Styles needs some security in the event his back problems shelve him for an extended period of time, while there may be some allure of being an American/western star for Nakamura.
As for Styles’ friends in the Bullet Club, Bauer didn’t name any names, which is interesting because the Talk’n Shop podcast with Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, and Rocky Romero is part of Bauer’s MLW Radio. That’s simultaneously an indicator to the truth of this (besides that Bauer’s had a strong track record when he’s broken big stories) and a possible hint as to who else is leaving, one would think.
NJPW has done annual contracts up in January seemingly since the beginning of time. In the past, rumors of talent leaving before January have usually been deemed false because of the timeline.