Bringing A Switchblade to a Gun Fight: Jay White and Bullet Club

The wrestling world and fans of New Japan Pro Wrestling have been a-buzz since Monday’s King of Pro Wrestling event, when Bullet Club OG – the Bullet Club side with Tama Tonga, Bad Luck Fale, Hikuleo, Tanga Loa and “Bone Soldier” Taiji Ishimorifinally pulled the trigger on their recruitment plans. In an effort to bring the fear back to the name Bullet Club and even the bodies against The Elite side, of Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, Hangman Page, Marty Scurll, Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi, the OG’s originally slid in their first announcement via Twitter, when Ishimori revealed the new member would be his tag team partner in the 2018 NJPW Super Junior Tag League and it was none other than Australian indie superstar Robbie Eagles.

But it didn’t stop there. Following a crack in the top of CHAOS a week earlier, where Jay White turned on his leader Kazuchika Okada, and was aided and abetted by Okada’s former manager Gedo and Gedo’s long time tag partner, Jado, things took a turn following Jay White’s loss to Hiroshi Tanahashi at King of Pro Wrestling, when Okada came to the ring to save White’s beat down on his victor. The OGs emerged from the back and encircled the ring, then lured Okada into a fall sense of security. Tama then attacked Okada and they proceeded to join White, Gedo and Jado in beating down Okada, joining forces with the OGs in the energized new Bullet Club OG.

Photo: NJPW

Jay White joining Bullet Club was a notion once before. Since his return from his Ring of Honor excursion and returning to NJPW last year as “Switchblade”, he’s had his eyes of Kenny Omega. After an impressive run upon his full time return, Kenny Omega offered Jay White a spot in Bullet Club. White seemed to initially agree, but soon turned on Omega and delivered him the Bladerunner in the middle of the ring. The next day he joined Okada in CHAOS.

But perhaps it wasn’t the invitation that turned off Jay White so much as it was the messenger. As Chris Charlton mentioned on commentary during the broadcast on Monday, White wanted no part of “Omega’s Bullet Club”. That Bullet Club was falling apart at the seams internally, with Cody and Omega fighting for leadership, with the others taking sides. As White had predicted earlier, as soon as “Switchblade” defeated Omega for the IWGP United States Championship at The New Beginning in Sapporo in January, Bullet Club’s internal strife began and the cracks began to manifest quicker than they were repaired.

Following White’s turn on Omega, Omega’s team mate Tama Tonga laughed off the attack on Omega, suggesting that perhaps it wasn’t that White wanted no part of the Bullet Club, but maybe they had “the wrong guy try to recruit him.” Bullet Club would get into it with White again during this summer’s G1 Climax Series, with Bad Luck Fale manhandling him every chance he got. At one point, he questioned what White was thinking, trying to tame his wild ambition within the confines of Okada’s CHAOS. “Whose team are you on anyway?” Fale asked White in a post-match interview. “You don’t seem to be helping your team mates…your team mates don’t seem to be helping you. Why don’t you just f**king join us then?”

And Fale’s words must have struck a chord. For it was two months later when White finally turned on Okada and left him laying in the ring at NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleased in Long Beach, California. And then this past Monday, he finally joined Bullet Club. But the Tongans side. The next day, Bad Luck provided the final piece of the mystery – it was a plan in motion for four years.

In 2014, then Bullet Club leader Prince Devitt (now WWE Superstar Finn Balor) was also still an indie superstar in the emerging UK indie scene. While working in the UK, he encountered a young prodigy who had banked everything on moving to England to progress his wrestling career, betting on himself to make a mark. His spirit caught Devitt’s attention and soon “The Demon King” became Jay White’s mentor. Devitt hooked White up with his bodyguard, “The Underboss” Bad Luck Fale, to get Jay White into the New Japan Dojo (where Fale was a trainer at the time), which began his tenure as a New Japan Young Lion.

In the above interview with Ring of Honor, White said about getting into Japan that “it’s probably, in terms of places to get into, it’s gotta be the hardest. There’s so many people that email myself and others asking about, ‘Hey, how do I get a tryout or how do I get in this.’ A lot of it comes down to who you know, basically,” he said. “I got in through Prince Devitt — or Finn Bálor — however you want to refer to him. I met him in England, and he was impressed with my work ethic. He went back and put a word in, and then from there, Bad Luck Fale, being a fellow New Zealander, got in touch with me.”

Soon after, Devitt would depart Bullet Club and NJPW for NXT and ultimately the WWE, but his progeny would live on in New Japan. And now it appears that after four long years, the Prince’s chosen heir to the throne has finally taken his place in the kingdom of where he was destined to run – wearing the black and white at the top of his game.