So, Cody Rhodes was revealed as the newest member of Bullet Club at the finals of the NJPW Tag League tournament and I’m kinda torn on the whole thing.
On one hand, Bullet Club has a proven record of making/rehabilitating stars to then break out in WWE, first with Fergal Devitt (now, of course better known as Finn Balor) as the founding leader of the group before being signed to WWE and then AJ Styles using his tenure as the groups main guy to solidify his reputation as a great worker and remove some of the stank of TNA’s mixed booking of him.
Furthermore, I quite like the potential for this ‘American Nightmare’ gimmick which plays off Cody’s heritage (Dusty Rhodes being called the ‘American Dream’) and his considerable and growing skills in heelish character work, as evidenced in his runs in Legacy, as ‘Dashing’ Cody Rhodes and as Stardust.
However, Bullet Club is now a tad bloated with fragments in NJPW – where Kenny Omega is currently raising his stock in a similar fashion to Devitt – and Ring of Honor – where the group of Adam Cole & the Young Bucks pretty much ruled the promotion for the second half of this year, but it could easily have been a heel stable by any other name – as well as in CMLL.
Another problem with Bullet Club is that it’s not as hot in North America as it is in Japan. In Japan, the idea of a bunch of gaijin (foreigners) acting like a gang of bad guys is massively over, but in America it’s just another heel stable in a long line of heel stables, lacking the star power and cool factor of the nWo, D-X or even Evolution.
With Cody looking to find himself and rehabilitate his brand on the independent circuit – a feat I believe he’s more than capable of – joining Bullet Club seems to make perfect sense as a path well blazed by Devitt & Styles. However, following a well trodden path isn’t exactly making your own way now, is it?
Plus, in order for it to pay off, he’s going to need to replace Omega and/or Cole as the top player in the group (Omega being the titular leader, but Cole the de facto head honcho in Ring of Honor so it really matters where Cody wants to make the biggest impact) and I’m not really down with either (or both) of those rising stars being sacrificed for his rehabilitation.
Indeed, if there was going to be a battle for control of Bullet Club, I’d be far more interested in Cole vs. Omega essentially feuding for the loyalty of the Young Bucks than Cody riding in on his wave of (rapidly cooling) WWE stardom and taking over.
That said, if I was playing booker with the hand as it’s dealt at the moment, I’d probably go with the American Nightmare gimmick working best in Japan and as such, Cody serving under and eventually supplanting Kenny Omega as the leader of Bullet Club in NJPW – en route to a face run for Omega and ultimate recruitment to WWE.
So, I’ve been a big fan of Cody for a long time, I think he was generally ill served by WWE and I’d love to see him prove his quality on the indies before returning to Stamford and getting the push he deserves. However, I’m far from sure that Bullet Club is the right route to take, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and see where the American Nightmare leads us…