WWE Star Karl Anderson Recalls Time With Bullet Club, Figuring Out The Name

Though he's now back in WWE, Karl Anderson was once an instrumental figure in the formation of New Japan Pro-Wrestling's popular Bullet Club faction. Appearing on a recent edition of "Busted Open Radio," Anderson recalled that period of his career, explaining how the group's first leader came up with the name shortly after NJPW put them all together.


"Finn Balor goes, 'They asked me what [we] think the name should be. What do you think?' I said, 'I don't care, Ferg. Tell me,'" Anderson said. "He said, 'I think Bullet Club.' I said, 'Beautiful. I love the sound of it.' That was it."

Though Anderson said he views himself as a creative individual, he also knew that Balor was someone who "likes to be in control of things." With Anderson already sporting the nickname "Machine Gun" in the promotion, the Bullet Club name sounded immediately like the right fit, so Anderson offered his support. With their name settled on, it wasn't long before the faction began raising the stock of all its members in NJPW.

Known as Prince Devitt at the time, Balor became the first leader of Bullet Club, with Anderson, recent WWE signing Tama Tonga, and Bad Luck Fale rounding out the original lineup. Over time, dozens more members would make their way in and out of the faction, and Anderson departed in 2016 upon joining WWE. He would later rejoin the group for a brief period before eventually returning to WWE once again.


Creative Freedom and Bullet Club Expansion

Looking back on his time with Bullet Club, the thing Anderson most remembers enjoying was the creative freedom. During this period of his career, Anderson would cut promos off the top of his head without having to follow any kind of script.


"[We were] able to just be who we are, and talk crap, and say anything we wanted," Anderson continued. "I remember I got a DM from Bray Wyatt, messaging me like, 'This Bullet Club stuff is crazy. You guys look like you're having the greatest time of your lives.' And it's like yeah, we were. We were having a lot of fun, but we wanted to make a lot more money. We wanted to come to WWE at some point."

Balor (AKA Devitt) was the first Bullet Club member to leave NJPW for WWE, with AJ Styles replacing Balor as the leader of Bullet Club. Around the same time, the group brought in future AEW stars Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks. According to Anderson, this is when Bullet Club really began to take off.


"That's when the new shirt came out and — bam. This thing exploded," Anderson said. "All of a sudden, all of us just started to feel like this is kind of crazy."

Though Anderson has been back with WWE for some time, Bullet Club still exists in NJPW and AEW with an entirely different lineup. The group's current leader is David Finlay, son of WWE producer Fit Finlay, with "Switchblade" Jay White leading the AEW branch of the faction.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit "Busted Open Radio" with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.