When the Bullet Club announced that Cody (Rhodes) would be facing off against Kenny Omega at Ring of Honor’s show of the year, Supercard, they immediately set a sales record. With tickets for their show of shows shortly about to sell out, it’s with little doubt that you can say the Bullet Club are the biggest thing happening in wrestling. Their ability in the ring is often times unmatched, and their out of the ring “Being the Elite” videos blur the work/shoot line wonderfully. However as the leadership and fate of the Bullet Club hangs in the balance, I really don’t care where it goes from here.
Bullet Club will celebrate it’s five year anniversary in May. Staying relevant for a few months in wrestling is hard, sustaining success as members come and go is down right impossible. Somehow Bullet Club has maintained a high success rate by adding the right members at the right time, and by choosing the right leadership when talent had to move on. Each new era seemed to build upon the previous one. That’s why, as Bullet Club currently stands, their future feels more ambiguous and unexciting. Despite being more popular than ever, Bullet Club feels less like a force making their will known to the wrestling world, and more like a collection of good indie wrestlers.
Bullet Club has been fully integrated into NJPW’s faction system. It no longer feels like an avenue to tell good stories or have good matches. Instead it’s just a shirt you wear as you face another faction in another match on another wrestling show. The Club’s goal seems more like a constant opportunity to get another one of their friends in the spotlight and over. Hangman Page, a decent wrestler who’s still young and new, suddenly has shirts in Hot Topic and fans all around the world. Cody Rhodes’ feels less like a smart pick and more long a notable name that would get attention from American fans. It’s become clear the Bullet Club have more goals outside of the ring for the group and its members than they do inside. The Club doesn’t feel aligned toward one goal anymore other than merchandise sales.
Even the current storyline, as Cody continues his coup against Kenny, feels hollow. It’s tough to accept the joking nature of their videos with potentially serious subject of a Bullet Club rift. It’s tough to have Omega and Ibushi emotionally reunite and follow it up with a goofy addendum about Cody’s skiing vacation. Wrestling should try and strike the right tone and with the Golden Lovers reunion it really feels like something special is happening in NJPW. But if the Club continue to waffle and waiver to add any sort of seriousness to their story it’ll always feel like another excuse to put on another match.
It ain’t easy to constantly bridge story to story, match to match, event to event. Novelists and writers spend ages putting together a single book’s worth of characters and drama. Wrestlers have to do it nearly every night all while trying to make a living. Bullet Club has become a bastion for talented and popular wrestlers to avoid WWE and make a real name for themselves. The faction is now one of the best reasons to be a wrestling fan today. But as the group and its members only become more popular I hope the faction can find a solid footing. The last thing I want to see is a group once known for being the alternative to bland, plain wrestling turn into a merchandise only machine.