After months of speculation as to where his future lies, a match set for New Japan Pro Wrestling's Invasion Attack next month may be the best clue so far as to where Prince Devitt will be taking his talents.
Looks like the Devitt/Taguchi match at Invasion Attack has a "Devitt must leave NJPW is he loses" stip. Must have a deal with WWE.— Voices of Wrestling (@voiceswrestling) March 24, 2014
He will be facing former tag team partner Ryusuke Taguchi on April 6, and based on comments made in the press conference announcing the bout, the loser of the match will leave the company—presumably Devitt as he makes his way to the WWE. Speculation on Twitter certainly seems to be leaning in this direction.
The WWE has been after Devitt for some time, but it seemed that his success in NJPW coupled with the reputation that the WWE has for misusing outside talent might be a sticking point for any deal between the two.
Will we see Devitt in WWE before the end of 2014?
Having said that, there is a real possibility that his achievements in the Japanese promotion have plateaued, which would make it easier for him to accept a deal from WWE. The Irish-born wrestler has held the promotion's Junior Heavyweight Championship three times and won the Best of the Super Juniors tournament twice, but New Japan seems reticent to have him enter the main event and mount a real challenge for the heavyweight title.
Bigger wrestlers have always been seen as a favourite of the WWE, but with weight restrictions being taken more seriously in NJPW, it can be difficult to make the jump from the junior heavyweight division to the heavyweight division proper, particularly for a westerner. Of the four westerners to hold the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, the man with the lowest billed weight was none other than Brock Lesnar.
Of course, it could be that this is nothing but a swerve intended to play off the rumours that Devitt would indeed be moving on from NJPW. He seems to enjoy few things more than riling up fans on his Twitter, constantly making reference to the prospective move.
However, it looks like fans can cautiously begin thinking up the sort of matches that we'll be treated to once he is wrestling for WWE, as an independent source seemed to solidify these rumours over the weekend.
On Saturday, an article posted on The Journal that profiled wrestling in Ireland seemed to offer a fairly conclusive stance on Devitt and the WWE, stating that: "WWE has also signed up Bray’s own Fergal ‘Prince’ Devitt, who spent a number of years as one of the top “gaijin” (foreign wrestlers) in Japan. He is expected to make his debut in the coming weeks."
Whilst the particulars of this statement should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt, it would not be surprising at all if there was also a grain of truth to the signing being made official. It seems now to be a matter of when, not if, Devitt shows his face in the WWE—and how he will be used.
Who are you most excited to see Devitt face in the WWE? Cesaro? Bryan? Neville? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.