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NEW JAPAN PRIMER: ROUNDING OUT THE BULLET CLUB

By Matt Macklin on 2014-11-06 08:27:08
Part three of our Primer on New Japan's Bullet Club!

Karl Anderson

“The Machine Gun”, to long time fans as an original Bullet Club member and the guy that has tenured in NJPW the longest is considered the real leader of the group.

Since making his debut in NJPW in 2008, Anderson is one time winner of the G1 Tag League and a two time winner of the World Tag League. He is a two time IWGP Tag Team champion with Giant Bernard (Tensai/Jason Albert) and is currently one half of the IWGP Tag Team champions with Doc Gallows.

The always impressive and hugely underrated Anderson is one of the most consistent wrestlers in the company and has had numerous classic matches over the years. He has come close to breaking through to the elite tier in the company unsuccessfully challenging both Tanahashi and Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight championship in the past.

Now as one half of the Tag Team champions with Doc Gallows, Anderson has spent his time in the tag division. They won the Tag titles at last year's Wrestle Kingdom Tokyo Dome show after winning the 2013 world tag league and have defended them ever since.

It is always possible that Anderson will eventually get his reign as IWGP champion, he has the experience and talent to do so.

What to look out for?

Anderson is one of the best counter wrestlers in the world and always manages to come up with a mesmerizing sequence of counters and reversals towards the finish of a match based around his Gun Stun (Ace Crusher) finisher. Anderson will also hit other Gun Stun and neckbreaker combinations, even from the top rope.

Karl Anderson vs Hiroshi Tanahashi – IWGP Heavyweight championship – The New Beginning 2013

After breaking out as a singles star after Giant Bernard’s departure to WWE, Anderson had his shot at the gold where he takes Tanahashi to the limit in this classic which you can view here.

Karl Anderson vs Kazuchika Okada – IWGP Heavyweight championship – Power Struggle 2013

Anderson tries to take the gold to Bullet Club against Okada, a man who he always seems to have incredible chemistry with. Watch out for their counters and reversals in the closing minutes of the match. It can be seen here.

Doc Gallows

Well known by American fans for his time in WWE as Festus and Luke Gallows, and TNA as Aces & Eights member DOC. Now known as Doc Gallows, he has been having the most noteworthy run of his career as the American villain in Bullet Club.

Since making his debut in the World Tag League Gallows has taken some time to adjust to the NJPW ring style and has done it well with guidance from Karl Anderson to cover up the holes.

The towering Gallows can move and has the agility of someone smaller than him. Gallows and Anderson have had several memorable title deference against duos such as Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Togi Makabe and Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI.

Another memorable defense came at the ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds show where they defended against The Briscoes and managed to split the ROH crowd in half due to Bullet Clubs popularity, something rarely done during Briscoes matches in NYC.

It’s hard to imagine Gallows ever having a huge singles run in the company, as he is more suited to being part of a tag team or as the heavy hitter in a faction which is exactly why Gallows in Bullet Club works so well. Although he did have some impressive showings in this year's G1 mixing it up with Tanahashi and Nakamura. He even got a big win over tournament favorite Katsuyori Shibata.

What to look out for?

His surprising speed is something that you wouldn’t expect. Gallows will use American style tactics a lot more than other Bullet Club members. His finisher The Gallows Pole is a hanging choke bomb and watch out for the Magic Killer his tag team finisher with Anderson.

Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows vs. Hiroshi Tanahasi & Togi Makabe – IWGP Tag Team championship – Dominion 2014

Gallows & Anderson defend against NJPW veterans Tanahashi & Makabe and come away with an impressive, decisive win in a match that Gallows has called one of his career favorites. It can be viewed here.

Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows vs. Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI – IWGP Tag Team championship – Destruction in Kobe

In their sixth defense of the championship and my personal favorite, the gold is on the line against CHAOS team Okada & YOSHI-HASHI who was the sentimental favorite to capture his first major gold. It can be seen here.

Yujiro Takahashi

The only Japanese member of Bullet Club, Takahashi betrayed his CHAOS faction in May to help AJ Styles take the IWGP heavyweight championship from Okada.

Since joining the foreign villains Takahashi has found himself as a heel, but I’m not sure he is particularly suited to the group as the beauty of it is a group of foreign villains wrecking havoc in a company built on respect and tradition.

Yujiro had a reign as NEVER Openweight champion after taking it from former CHAOS mate Tomohiro Ishii due to Bullet Club interference.

He is also a former Heavyweight and Junior Heavyweight Tag team champion with former partner Tetsuya Naito. Yujiro has since lost the title back to Ishii but continues to ham it up as somewhat of a Japanese ladies man, regularly accompanied to the ring by said ladies.

What to look out for?

Yujiro has an impressive array of devastating looking manoeuvres, such as the Tokyo Pimps which is a powerbomb/sit down Dominator variation. His turnbuckle powerbomb looks particularly nasty, as well as his new finisher since joining Bullet Club, Miami Shine, which is almost like a Samoan drop/Olympic slam combination.

Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii – NEVER open weight championship

Yujiro just over a month after betraying CHAOS, challenges former CHAOS mate Ishii for the NEVER championship. It can be seen here.

Tama Tonga

“The Bad Boy”, the son of Haku and brother of former WWE wrestler Camacho, Tama Tonga is the guy that usually takes the fall in Bullet Club tag matches. Although impressive in the ring Tama is only now beginning to find himself in NJPW as a member of the group. Still relatively inexperienced in his NJPW career Tama’s time will come as he has recently started to stand out with a new look complete with face paint.

What to look out for?

Tama has amazing athletic ability and a stinger splash where he seemingly leaps half way across the ring. He mostly uses a double arm DDT as his finisher.

Who will be the newest Bullet Club member?

Karl Anderson has promised to reveal who it is on November 8th at Power Struggle.

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