Last week on AEW Dynamite, Impact stars Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson invaded Daily's Place to save Kenny Omega and ambush Jon Moxley.
However, the biggest story of the night wasn't the crossover between both companies—it was the aftermath. After they beat down the former world champion, The Young Bucks joined Omega and The Good Brothers and fulfilled the hopes of their core audience when they seemingly reformed their iteration of Bullet Club.
There is plenty to unpack here. This was such a significant moment because wrestling fans who are familiar with the popular New Japan Pro-Wrestling stable have been clamoring for an angle like this on network television for at least four years.
The circumstances around this reunion add even more intrigue, even though this isn't exactly a true revival of the group of gaijin scoundrels who took NJPW by storm.
What is Bullet Club?
Bullet Club was the brainchild of Prince Devitt, WWE's Finn Balor. The villainous faction—which initially consisted of Devitt, Bad Luck Fale, Anderson, and Tama Tonga—debuted at Wrestling Dontaku on May 3, 2013.
The stable was revolutionary because it introduced western heel tactics to Japanese wrestling. The murderer's row of foreign performers also bore some similarities to Triple H and Shawn Michaels' infamous backstage cabal, The Kliq.
The act eventually propelled its leader into superstardom, and he left Japan to sign with WWE shortly after The Young Bucks joined the stable's ranks.
Later, AJ Styles became the face of the group during his successful stint with NJPW and Ring of Honor. Eventually, "The Cleaner" Kenny Omega became The Phenomenal One's successor, and he and Matt and Nick Jackson helped to make the stable hotter than ever as The Elite.
Since its formation, Bullet Club has become a pop-culture phenomenon. It's impossible to understate just how influential it has been over the last seven years. Its shirts were visible at every live professional wrestling event around the world.
Even more, the group helped to launch or rejuvenate the careers of many notable names such as Adam Cole, "Hangman" Adam Page, Gallows, Cody Rhodes, Jay White and KENTA, who some WWE fans may know as Hideo Itami.
At the height of its popularity, the faction produced what was billed as "The Biggest Independent Wrestling Show Ever" and the birthplace of All Elite Wrestling, All In.
To date, Bullet Club is still relevant to New Japan viewers, and mainstream fans have hoped to see a version of it on network television since Styles debuted with WWE in 2016.
Yes, there was a legitimate American branch with ROH and there were watered down contemporaries like The Club, Balor Club, and The O.C. But they weren't quite as impactful as the possibility of seeing them run roughshod on a larger scale on TNT or USA.
The Highly Anticipated Jump to American Mainstream Wrestling
It's still hard to understand why WWE never cashed in when Balor, Styles and The Good Brothers were all on the main roster, especially when the founder of the group and The Phenomenal One never teamed up in Japan. After all, their tenure with the stable in NJPW more than likely put them on the company's radar in the first place.
Even stranger, Gallows and Anderson confirmed they considered leaving and signing with AEW in 2019 before WWE re-signed them and unceremoniously released them last April. They only stayed to take part in what would become The O.C., which didn't live up to its potential.
Talk of reuniting with Omega and The Young Bucks has been ongoing for two years. So, it's fitting that it would finally come to fruition around the same time that The Best Bout Machine approached the Impact tag team champions in 2019. The Good Brothers also aptly made their AEW debut five years after they famously helped their longtime friends turn on Styles at New Year Dash on a show interestingly titled New Year's Smash.
Still, this isn't exactly Bullet Club because New Japan still owns the right to the name. That's part of the reason The Elite took on a new nom de guerre as they transitioned out of the company.
Additionally, The Good Brothers aren't members of the AEW roster and this is just a part of their crossover with Impact. So, what does this all mean?
AEW vs. Impact Wrestling?
It can't possibly be a long-term storyline unless you want to jump down the rabbit hole and predict this will lead to the fabled partnership between AEW and New Japan. That seems more and more plausible by the day, but it's a separate and complex subject.
It's easier to hypothesize what this could mean for AEW and Impact. Lending Omega, one of its biggest stars, to the smaller promotion undeniably gives them both exposure. Invoking the iconic stable that put him on the map will do so on a larger scale. It won't do anything to entice casual fans to watch either show but it will undoubtedly appeal to hardcore fans.
If nothing else, it brings the last two years of Anderson and Gallows' careers full circle and helps them to continue to build a sustainable brand.
That's kind of the beauty of what The Elite have managed to do, too, isn't it? They have pushed for a new generation of wrestlers with more independence than ever. They may not be able to use the name Bullet Club, but they've created enough equity and name recognition that they can take that anywhere they want to go. It's not hard to see how that concept has helped The Good Brothers and is beneficial for many others.
As far as storytelling goes, that's where this gets trickier. It's abundantly clear The Young Bucks aren't the dirty players they were before they started AEW, and they looked reluctant to join the group "Too Sweet" at the end of Dynamite. They wouldn't turn on their best friend though, right?
It seems more likely Omega is just using the Impact tag team champions for now. So, logic would dictate this is leading to a fallout with Anderson and Gallows and a potential champions vs. champions match between the two teams. It's a safe bet that the original Elite will remain intact when all is said and done.
The Cleaner's quest to collect more gold puts Impact world champion Rich Swann and possibly Moose, the TNA counterpart, in his cross hairs. One could imagine this would work as a way to unify those titles once and for all if Omega has his way.
The company only reintroduced the old TNA belt because the actual world title was off television due to a contractual dispute with Tessa Blanchard last summer. AEW's involvement could be an ingenious way to tie up that loose end.
It's too early to predict how long this crossover will last or what the end goal will be. Nevertheless, it has produced some entertaining shows over the last few weeks, and it's a good sign for the overall health of the industry.
This current storyline has also proved Bullet Club has staying power and its impact (no pun intended) will continue to make history in 2021. Whether that means New Japan's resident troublemakers will make the jump to American soil anytime soon is still in the air, but the mere tease of a grander crossover will keep many fans on the edge of their seats.