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The Grapevine (1/5/16): The New Exodus?




Good morning everyone, and welcome to the Grapevine! This is our daily post rounding up all the interesting rumors from the wild, wild world of pro wrestling that you may have missed over the evening.

Despite a strong Wrestle Kingdom 10 last night, there's news of an impending New Japan exodus:



  • A number of big NJPW stars have reportedly given their notice to the company. According to two different sources, these include AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, and Shinsuke Nakamura himself. Wrestling Observer Radio says that WWE has targeted all of the above-mentioned wrestlers, with Nakamura possibly leaving later than the others due to him still being IWGP Intercontinental Champion. Styles has apparently been working for NJPW without a contract lately. Both him and Anderson have both stated on separate occasions that they would be open to coming over to America with the right offer. (Source: MLW Radio, Wrestling Observer Radio)

We say: We always knew this in the back of our heads, but we didn't expect news of this to come right after NJPW's biggest annual show. While we're totally excited, we're trying not to get our hopes up just yet (especially when all of us here at the Smark Henry offices are pegging 2016 to be the year Swagsuke finally makes it to the WWE). What is interesting to glean from this, however, is that a mass exodus might be hinting toward trouble in paradise over in the Land of the Rising Sun. What's going on with NJPW? Are the talents starting to become unhappy? Can they survive losing some of the biggest stars that held them up in the past couple of years? There's always an influx of hungry new talent, but only time will tell.


  • James Storm is apparently heading back to TNA. The former World Heavyweight Champion is rumored to work tomorrow's live premiere on Pop TV, as well as this week's set of Impact Wrestling tapings. Storm made a couple of appearances on NXT in the summer of 2015, but he had apparently not finalized any sort of deal with WWE. However, Storm had this to say on Twitter just now: We'll keep you updated on this story as it develops. (Source: WrestlingInc) 

We say: While we support any wrestler going anywhere as long as it'll be the best situation for him or her, we really wanted to see how Storm in NXT would pan out. As it stands, though, it won't be too huge of a loss for the WWE, with the amount of talent it has in its very deep pool. If Storm is truly coming back to TNA, we wish they can handle him well.




We say: It's long overdue, but we honestly hope Vader didn't steal his own thunder here. It's pretty much the season for HoF announcements, so he wouldn't have had to wait long. Or he's trying to campaign for a HoF spot he doesn't have yet; in which case, aren't these things decided well in advance?

What do you think? Who from NJPW do you want to see over in the WWE? Do you think NJPW is having some problems? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Photo from Top Rope Press

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