Top 10 Best Recent Heel Turns in New Japan Pro Wrestling

7. Tetsuya Naito – June 2015

Despite the current success and popularity Tetsuya Naito amongst fans, this has not always been the case for the leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon.

When Naito graduated from the New Japan Dojo, there was so much promise for the star with a series of huge victories leading to winning several titles and tournaments.

However, this wasn’t enough.

Viewers soon became bored and almost indifferent to the man who had given his heart and soul to New Japan Pro Wrestling. Many believe that the breaking point was in the lead up to Wrestle Kingdom 8. By winning the G1 in 2013, Naito had earned a main event IWGP Heavyweight title opportunity against then-champion Kazuchika Okada. However, a crowd vote ruined this and replaced his match with the Intercontinental title match between Shinsuke Nakamura and Hiroshi Tanahashi. It was a huge sign about the lack of investment fans had in Naito.

So, after a tour of Mexico and North America teaming with the CMLL faction Los Ingobernables, Naito returned to New Japan in June 2015 with a very different attitude. Unlike the high spirited and passionate wrestler that was bordering average, this Naito was the opposite of what New Japan Pro Wrestling stood for. He was the epitome of apathy and lacked any regard for the fans who had previously booed him.

Like many heel turns, this period was a pivotal moment for Naito. It paved the way for New Japan’s future with Los Ingobernables de Japon and the popularity he gained in the following years and still has to this day.

6. Yujiro Takahashi – May 2014

After the team of Yujiro Takahashi and Tetsuya Naito (No Limit) joined the Chaos faction, the duo seemed to find a new home with their new faction. Even after Yujiro turned on Naito, Chaos was still the perfect fit for Yujiro who continued to get closer to the faction members and settling disputes with his former tag.

However, during this time, Yujiro found himself pushed to the background of the faction. The breaking point was finding himself left off the Wrestle Kingdom 8, Invasion Attack and Wrestling Dontaku Tour. Rifts were starting to show as Yujiro began walking on his partners either during or after matches and had a lot more of an annoyed character making the turn seem inevitable.

However, many did not expect it to happen in such a dramatic faction.

In an IWGP Heavyweight title match on May 3rd 2014, between champion and Chaos member Kazuchika Okada and Bullet Club leader AJ Styles, Yujiro decided to make the switch. Jumping into the ring in and attacking Okada while the referee was distracted. Yujiro hit a lariat on the Rainmaker, showcasing his new Bullet Club t-shirt. This allowed Styles to hit his patented Styles Clash to win the championship.

Although this is one of the most underrated heel turns in New Japan Pro Wrestling history and one people forget about, it was extremely significant. Each faction hopes to hold as many titles as possible. Yujiro costing the title for fellow Chaos member Okada cemented that his loyalty had changed. It also changed the complexion of the Bullet Club in general. Previously, the faction prided itself on being a Gaijin (foreigner) stable. However, Yujiro’s admittance changed this and set a precedent for the future of the faction over the years.

5. Guerrillas of Destiny – July 2018

If anyone ever mentions Bullet Club, many global fans will think of the members of The Elite. However, New Japan fans will always associate the faction with the team Guerrillas of Destiny consisting of brothers Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa. Although the brothers have always been more of the bad guys, it was their heel turn 2018 that will always be remembered by fans.

Since the addition of new members to Bullet Club, such as Marty Scurll, Adam Page and Cody Rhodes aka The Elite, cracks started to show within the different sections of the faction. Not only were the differences in ideology between The Elite and the other members evident, but there were internal rifts in The Elite. To the brothers, this tension was taking away from the core values Bullet Club was meant to stand for.

The attack on The Elite seemed inevitable.

During the G1 Special in San Francisco on July 7th, the Guerillas of Destiny picked their moment to make a statement. During Omega’s post-match comments after his title bout against Cody, G.O.D were joined by their dad King Haku who had a match earlier on the card. At first, it seemed like they were congratulating their leader. However, they then attacked the members of the Elite and even attacked fellow members Chase Owens and Yujiro.

From then, there was a long-standing feud between the newly named B.C. Firing Squad and The Elite. They were joined by the trio of Jay White, Gedo and Jado and were later rejoined by Owens and Yujiro to complete the new and, in some fans eyes, improved Bullet Club.

4. Gedo – October 2018

Although Gedo was originally part of a series of heel factions during his career, including Great Bash Heel, his later years were associated with his role as manager for Kazuchika Okada. During this time, he proved to be vital to the success of the Rainmaker who was winning titles and tournaments left, right and centre. Even when Okada announced during the G1 Climax 28 that he was no longer going to be relying on Gedo, the two seemed to part on respectful terms.

This is what made fans even more surprised when Gedo joined fellow Chaos member Jay White in joining Bullet Club during the Destruction Tour in September 2018.

After Jay attacked Okada during one of the shows, people weren’t surprised. With Jay, it was always a matter of when he would turn on Chaos rather than if. Also, he had always been connected to the Bullet Club whether it was through Prince Devitt and Bad Luck Fale bringing him to the company or his ideology when it came to wrestling. However, when Gedo seemingly came out to save Okada and then proceeded to hit him with a chair, you could see that people were shocked.

Some could say that Gedo’s heel turn by abandoning Chaos and Okada was key to the success of Jay White. Since joining the Switchblade, it has led to IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championship reigns for White. He allowed New Japan to become the Cut Throat Era and betrayed all the values he had with Okada.

4 years ago by Sonal Lad



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