Friction between sub-groups within New Japan’s iconic Bullet Club stable has existed since at least 2018, when The Elite branched off from the OG Biz Cliz. Since then, beef has mostly happened online. But in recent years, we’ve seen some of it play out in the U.S. based promotions where past Club members currently work — especially since guys like Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson wrestle for companies NJPW is actively partnering with like Impact and AEW.
With COVID restrictions loosened and wrestlers able to more freely travel back & forth to Japan, the story can once again play out where it started. We started to see that happen on Sun., May 1 in Fukuoka at Wrestling Dontaku.
After exiled founding member Tama Tonga won the NEVER Openweight title from EVIL (of the BC-aligned House of Torture), Good Brothers Gallows & Anderson made their return to New Japan for the first time since signing with WWE back in 2016. The duo laid out the new champ, along with his Guerrillas of Destiny mates Tanga Loa & Jado. Wearing the familiar Bullet Club logo and posing with the NEVER belt, there was no doubt about Machine Gun’s allegiances or intentions.
That happened in between the Club’s Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens winning the IWGP Tag titles, and Taiji Ishimori defeating El Desperado to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight crown... so you could already tell this was a big night for Bullet Club. It only got bigger after friend-of-the-G.O.D. Hiroshi Tanahashi won the vacant IWGP United championship in a banger with Tomohiro Ishii.
Owens hit the ring to confront the Ace, but it was only a distraction. A masked man took out Tanahashi, then revealed himself as the Club’s newest member — Juice Robinson.
This was surprising for a couple reasons. Mostly it’s because Robinson did a great job selling the idea he was done with New Japan after last month’s Windy City Riot show in Chicago. But it’s also because he & his FinJuice partner David Finlay have been frequent enemies of the Club, most recently in Impact with they feuded with his new teammates Gallows & Anderson.
But that’s not all!
After Kazuchika Okada fought off a challenge for his IWGP World Heavyweight title from old rival Tetsuya Naito, Switchblade Jay White made his first appearance in Japan since last year. He & Gedo beatdown the champ, 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 over White while he posed with the belt above his head and his foot on the Rainmaker’s neck.
WRESTLING DONTAKU 2022 (May 1st, 2022) Backstage comments!— njpwworld (@njpwworld) May 2, 2022
Watch FREE https://t.co/c9KhH8a5nr
5/1(日)『WRESTLING DONTAKU 2022』のBSコメントを #新日本プロレスワールド で無料公開中!@JayWhiteNZ #njpw #njpwworld #njdontaku pic.twitter.com/uP6TLtfNIr
Where is this going? Straight to June 12 at Osaka-jo Hall and Dominion. An Okada/White title bout will headline that show, with Tonga vs. Anderson and Owens & Fale vs. United Empire’s Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb championship matches also on the card.
Four championship matches OFFICIAL for Dominion June 12 in Osaka!— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) May 2, 2022
Kazuchika Okada vs Jay White!
Tama Tonga vs Karl Anderson!
Fale & Owens vs Cobb & O-Khan!#kopw2022
Shingo Takagi vs Taichi!https://t.co/SAxpY3stFD#njdominion #njpw pic.twitter.com/apokKsGle6
That show is, of course, just weeks before AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door in Chicago — a show the Switchblade had a hand in announcing.