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WWE Shares Balor Club History, References NJPW and Bullet Club

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The WWE Universe witnessed one of the most highly anticipated faction formations on Raw. Former WWE Universal Champion Finn Balor has formed a union with former Raw Tag Team titleholders Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows.

For wrestling fans who have followed the trio’s careers in the last 6-7 years, it was a joyful site to see the three former members of the Bullet Club standing aside each other and throwing up a too sweet.

Some fans speculate whether or not WWE would acknowledge these three were at one time in the Bullet Club. Anderson and Balor, when he was Prince Devitt, were two of the founding members when the group formed on May 3, 2013 and served as leaders of the faction. Gallows joined the group on Nov. 23 of that year.

Broadcasters have run down Balor’s accolades in New Japan, as well as Anderson’s and Gallows’, but they have never given much air to mentioning Bullet Club, except for when talent did it themselves or social posted a reference to the NJPW stable, and in those instances they were usually edited out.

However, WWE has in fact acknowledged the trio as former Bullet Club members in a video it released on its Youtube page.

The video, “Who are The Bálor Club and how do they know each other?” shares some information about the trio’s days in New Japan Pro Wrestling and founding of the Bullet Club. It also references how the three were on seperate paths when they came to WWE – Balor’s journey from NJPW to NXT and main roster while Gallows and Anderson formed “The Club” with A.J. Styles when they arrived.

The video does not feature any audio narration, but displays still images with text and music. It’s not the usual style of WWE videos and it’s reminiscent of pieces produced from pro wrestling Youtube channels.

The trio teamed up on the Jan. 1 episode of Raw to defeat Elias, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. The next week, they formed the Balor Club and  defeated Raw Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan, and Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns in a 6 man tag team match.

The win against Rollins, Jordan and Reigns was a good way to introduce the group as a new force on Raw. IT also gives Anderson and Gallows something to do, and associates them with a major talent on the roster in Balor.

The Balor Club may not reach the heights that the Bullet Club has, but it is an opportunity for Anderson and Gallows, and especially Balor, for have a fresh start in the WWE and really get over with the crowd. Balor also has a chance to delve back into his heel Prince Devitt persona and try it out in front of a WWE audience. Fans may not see him make gun gestures with his fingers, but they could get some of his personality to shine.

The WWE does not have to limit the Balor to Club to just Balor, Anderson and Gallows. The company could move the stable to Smackdown Live and add A.J. Styles. There is also room for the group to add its first female member, possibly Balor’s Mixed Match Challenge partner Sasha Banks.

That does not mean the Balor Club needs more members to be successful.

Balor, Gallows and Anderson have good chemistry together and when you get wrestlers in a faction who are good friends in real life, it translates well in and out of the ring. Fans have seen this type of chemistry with the current incarnation of the Bullet Club, The Shield and The New Day. If WWE allows the Balor Club to be themselves in front of the camera and in the ring, fans will see how much fun they are having together and how they cool they are and gravitate toward them.

As Balor said during a backstage segment, 2018 is the year of the Balor Club. He may be right.

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WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? April 16, 2019

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The Good

For Raw, they got the best addition from the shakeup to their show, which was AJ Styles. After Styles really made his mark on Smackdown, it seemed like WWE creative was running out of ideas of what to do with Styles on Smackdown. So, having him on Raw is really intriguing now and it should be interesting to see what the future holds for him on Raw.  

For Smackdown, their biggest addition from the shakeup was Roman Reigns and the way they introduced him to the show was entertaining. After Vince McMahon announced that the “biggest addition in Smackdown history” was Elias, Roman Reigns interrupted and ended up clearing out the ring and declaring that Smackdown is his yard now. Reigns needed a change of scenery after being on Raw for few years, so this is something the WWE universe should be excited for.

The Bad

For Raw, while it was great to see an NXT tag team called up, the name they gave him is horrible. Formerly known as the War Raiders, who are the current NXT tag team champions were called up to Monday nights. But, they decided to change their name to the Viking Experience, which is one of the worst name changes in WWE history.

For Smackdown, they had a match between Carmella and Charlotte Flair and this felt like filler. After all the new names that they brought onto Smackdown during the shakeup for the women’s division, they could have had one of them in this match instead of putting them all together in the 8-women tag match that was featured on the show later. 

The Final Verdict

For these being the superstar shakeup episodes, both shows felt a little underwhelming. While we are able to think of the possibility of matchups that we will see in the future because of this shakeup, the introduction of these new names felt like they should have been a bigger deal. Along with that, it seemed like WWE either was confused on how to handle some of these shakeups or they purposely wanted to confuse the fans. A prime example is how Finn Balor went to Smackdown with the Intercontinental championship. Since this was introduced to us on Smackdown, is there no secondary belt now on Raw? Or did Samoa Joe just automatically move to Raw because he currently was holding the original secondary belt on Smackdown? Overall, as to who had the better show, I will have to say that Raw had the better show. The additions of the Miz, the Usos, Rey Mysterio, Andrade, AJ Styles, and Naomi are all new faces that were due for this. In conclusion, while the shakeup could’ve been handled better, the future should be intriguing as WWE prepares to fully move on from Wrestlemania.

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Matt Hardy Responds to John Oliver’s WWE Segment

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John Oliver, host of HBO’s popular ‘Last Week Tonight’, took WWE to task in a recent episode over their lack of healthcare for their performers, bringing a dark element of the treatment of WWE superstars to light.

Since then, wrestlers have spoken out, both in support of Oliver’s segment and coming to the defense of WWE.

One of those coming to WWE’s defense is WWE superstar and future Hall of Famer Matt Hardy, who praised WWE and how far they have come over the years.

“When I first started here [1997/1998] the locker room, everything was like the wild wild west then” Hardy said in an interview with FOX Sports (h/t Wrestling Inc). ”  The change that has happened in those 20-plus years has been unreal. I mean, now the drug testing is very stringent. … You have to be here, and you have to be good and you have to be on top of your game. You have to be a professional. The physicals they do as far as cardiovascular and just checking you over and over — [there have] been several guys they caught that have had serious [health] issues that could have been life threatening if they didn’t catch it here, and just the way they take care of you. “

“Every surgery I ever had, WWE has paid for. They’re very faithful and very good about that. It’s just some of the stuff that the John talked about was kind of passé, kind of outdated because now they really do [take care of wrestlers’ health]. They take care of everything especially stuff that happens in house. As far as the whole health insurance thing, that’s kind of a different argument, because we do a different gig in many many ways. But WWE has never done anything but be great to me.

“They’ve taking care of me in every capacity, every front. And they’ve given me a great life. I mean one of the characters I play is ‘Big Money’ Matt, who’s like this millionaire that’s been around for a long time, and you know there’s a lot of truth to it in some ways, and I wouldn’t have that persona and I wouldn’t have the great life that I have right now if it wasn’t for WWE.”

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WWE Hall of Famer Stevie Ray Talks Not Joining WWE After WCW Buyout

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WWE Hall of Famer Stevie Ray, who was inducted as part of Harlem Heat, alongside his brother Booker 2, in this year’s WWE Hall of Fame, recently discussed why he never joined WWE following his career in WCW.

Stevie Ray recently appeared on an episdoe of ‘Conversations with the Big Guy’ with host, and former WWE superstar, Ryback and talked about his thinking when WWE bought WCW.

Although his brother Booker T went on to WWE, Stevie Ray didn’t want to do the same.

“I didn’t want to go to WWF (WWE). As a matter of fact, the last WCW Nitro, I didn’t even attend and they sent me a ticket. Bu,t I was always in the mindset of this is competition to me. This is NFL vs AFL, or National League versus American League in baseball. WCW vs WWF, to be honest with you, bro, I didn’t want to go out like a bitch.”

The Monday Night Wars were hard to get past for Stevie Ray.

“We had been fighting for the team (WCW). But when I heard Vince McMahon had come in, and stuff like that, which I knew was coming, it’s like, you saw the writing on the wall and you put it in the back of your mind.

But at the end of the day I knew it was going to happen. But I didn’t attend the last show because my brother [Booker T] said that they (WWE) are going to be auditioning people. I told him that he should do it, but I’m done.”

Stevie Ray was concerned that WWE would change to Harlem Heat, stripping them of the elements that made that tag team so special.

“I wanted people to remember Harlem Heat as an ass-kicking tag team of color, you see what I’m saying? I didn’t want us to be something else. I didn’t want us to turn into a “Doink the Clown”. So, I’m not saying that they would have done this with Harlem Heat, but, I didn’t want to lose the edge that we once had as Harlem Heat.”

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