"Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it."--George Santayana.
These words came to mind as I watched this past week's Ring of Honor broadcast, as the show ended with Frankie Kazarian becoming the latest member of Bullet Club's ROH branch office. I could not help but think back 20 years, when Eric Bischoff began expanding the nWo's roster because WCW Nitro was whipping Monday Night Raw in the ratings. What Bischoff failed to realize---until it was too late, and after WCW fell behind Raw---was that for every man added to the nWo, the faction's impact was being diluted, such that it wasn't the novelty draw anymore, but another out-of-control heel group, driven more by ego than anything else, given the three veterans at the front of the group, those being Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, & Hulk Hogan.
TNA (now Impact Wrestling) made the same mistake with the Bischoff-Hogan led Immortal faction nearly 15 years later, just another bone-headed mistake by a company that specializes in bone-headed mistakes. It was the nWo all over again, just under a new name because WWE bought the rights to nWo. Considering where they were, this was met with a collective yawn.
Delirious and the folks in charge of ROH have yet to realize, along with their New Japan brethren, that the same mistake is being made again. Bear in mind, too, that New Japan had partnered with WCW during the nWo's peak years, also, which might explain the rise of Bullet Club in Japan first before it inched its way here. Granted, current ROH champ Adam Cole is younger than Hogan by a country mile, but lacks true charisma. He's too smug and arrogant for his own good, too much of a me-first heel champ so prevalent in this generation.
So, why is Kazarian in the Bullet Club, anyway? Either they're teasing a singles feud with his BFF and tag team partner, Christopher Daniels, who faces Cole in Las Vegas on Friday, or Kazarian could be a double agent that could ultimately help Daniels achieve his destiny and win the one ROH prize that has eluded the Fallen Angel, the ROH World title. Personally, I'm banking on the latter being the case, because Bullet Club, despite the popularity of 2-time ROH tag team champs the Young Bucks in certain circles, reek of a stale gimmick threatening to grow moldy even faster than Immortal or the nWo did. If what I've read elsewhere is accurate, they're teasing a feud between Cole and Kenny Omega for leadership of the Bullet Club in New Japan.
In my own opinion, ROH is so bent on making Cole their #1 heel, such that they're having him use Bullet Club's popularity as a means to an end, which would, if my theory is correct, lead to his, and not Omega's, expulsion from the Bullet Club, although Cole and the Bucks are part of a heel stable in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla known as Mount Rushmore, and they're real life pals. Unfortunately, as with the nWo, giving Bullet Club their comeuppance is taking entirely too long. ROH doesn't have the major cable network contract that WCW did or TNA squandered, just a network of stations owned by parent company Sinclair Broadcasting. Sinclair is hardly Time Warner by any stretch. ROH doesn't have a super babyface like a Sting to offset the top heels right now, and the lack of balance in the angle is unsettling and boring.
Consider the Bullet Club, ROH division. Kazarian doesn't fit, in my opinion, and could still be a Trojan horse. Cody Runnels is in only because his late father, Dusty, was in the nWo for about 15 minutes nearly 20 years ago, and didn't really contribute much. Bischoff turned Dusty heel for shock value. There's no shock value with Bullet Club anymore. That went away when AJ Styles was expelled in Japan before joining WWE last year. That should be a sign that the end is near for Bullet Club, but do the NJPW & ROH matchmakers realize this? No, but they should, preferably yesterday.