Exclusive Q&A: NXT Champion Finn Bálor on the Shinsuke Nakamura and Gallows & Anderson rumors
The rumors of Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson coming to WWE have the entire sports-entertainment world waiting with bated breath, no one more so than NXT Champion Finn Bálor. Not only did Bálor cross paths with Nakamura on several occasions, he also created and ran the Bullet Club faction that Styles, Gallows and Anderson were most recently members of in New Japan.
Although the offices of WWE COO Triple H offered no comment on the alleged signings, Bálor sent out a barrage of tweets and Instagram posts teasing, poking and prodding at the scuttlebutt, including an instantly-iconic image of himself waiting for his buddies outside the WWE Performance Center. While the whispers swirl, WWE.com got in touch with the reigning NXT Champion to get his thoughts on WWE’s biggest (alleged) acquisition since the Monday Night War.
WWE.COM: The rumors of WWE signing AJ Styles, Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson of The Bullet Club and Shinsuke Nakamura have been all over the Internet this week. Can you provide any insight as to whether or not they’re true?
FINN BÁLOR: I think I was more excited than anyone to read the news about what’s been going on. I have had the guys at Bullet Club, especially Karl Anderson, who’s my best friend outside the ring, give me a couple nuggets of information that leads me to be very confident about the future at NXT and WWE. For me, I think having some friends around would definitely be better for me. But whether I can say for 100% certainty that it’s going to happen …
WWE.COM: Can you tell us about your relationship with The Bullet Club?
BÁLOR: The Bullet Club was essentially in existence long before it was ever onscreen. Myself and Karl Anderson were best friends in and out of the ring. Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale were the other foreign wrestlers in New Japan. Essentially we lived together, traveled together, ate together, drank together and spent four years being in each other’s company. We were closer to each other than we were to our own families, due to the fact that we were in a foreign country and all going through the same issues of living in a non-English speaking country. That’s an incredible cultural contrast to where we came from. We were literally best friends. The opportunity arose for me to create a faction in New Japan, and the office said, “Would you be willing to start a faction with your buddies?” I said, “Absolutely. 100%. I would love to.” They said, “Come up with a name next week.” I came up with a name, and it kind of all happened from there.
WWE.COM: Nakamura was never in The Bullet Club, but you two have battled. What’s your relationship with him like?
BÁLOR: We didn’t clash so much in the ring. But outside of the ring, I can honestly say he was one of my one, true Japanese friends I made in the eight years I was in Japan. I spent a lot of time with him outside of the ring just living life. He’s a very cultured guy, and he thinks outside the box. I think we hit it off with our appreciation for just trying to be different.
WWE.COM: What does this mean for WWE to be potentially receiving this influx of talent?
BÁLOR: A year and a half ago, myself, Kevin Owens and Hideo Itami all came in together. And there was kind of a buzz that helped create a special time in NXT. I think, potentially, what is going to happen over the next couple of months if these four names come in is going to be even bigger. I think the growth of NXT in the last year and a half and the growth Bullet Club has made in the last year and a half since I left means this would be a huge coup for WWE. Nakamura, being one of the most charismatic wrestlers on the planet, is an absolute game-changer unlike anyone that is out there right now. Gallows & Machine Gun [Anderson] are one of the world’s most established tag teams. Machine Gun, in my opinion, is the most underrated wrestler on the planet. For years. The fact that he’s getting so much media attention right now makes me happy, but I’m slightly disappointed it’s only happening now and didn’t happen 10 years ago when I first met him. AJ Styles’ reputation speaks for itself. He’s one of the best in-ring performers on the planet, ever. To say this would be a coup is an understatement. I think the next couple of months could change the way pro wrestling is viewed for the next 10 years.
WWE.COM: You’ve gone on record as saying you’re happy to help mold the future of NXT instead of rushing your way to the main roster, but if The Bullet Club shows up on Raw are you going to be with them?
BÁLOR: Well, I am happy in NXT. And I am proud to be the champion and proud to be the standard-bearer at the Performance Center and proud of the growth that NXT has experienced in the last year. But make no mistake about it: I am very ambitious. And I want to be in the place that is causing the most controversy and getting the most media attention and getting the most focus put on it. I did that in New Japan, I did that in NXT. And perhaps, in the future, if Bullet Club were to arrive on Monday Night Raw, there would be no better way for Finn Bálor to make his debut than with his best friends by his side.