CHAOS began life in the mid-2000's as Great Bash Heel under the guidance of Toru Yano, Tomoaki Honma, and Togi Makabe, who rankled against NJPW's style of wrestling at the time and gathered likeminded individuals such as Jadō & Gedō, and Tomohiro Ishii to help them carve out a place for themselves in the New Japan ring though brute force and brutal pack tactics. Meanwhile, a young Shinsuke Nakamura was building a force of his own of hungry, talented wrestlers called RISE, such as Hirooki Goto, Giant Bernard, Prince Devitt, and Low Ki to carve out a place among themselves. Naturally, both began clashing over the course of 2008 and well into 2009, where the matches were frequently bloody, and full of emotional, brutal conflicts between the various wrestlers. Much of Nakamura's force switched sides as a result of Makabe's cunning, and the young Nakamura never forgot nor forgave him for such treachery, and swore revenge on him.
And at Resolution '09, Nakamura got just that. Nakamura and Makabe had an all-out, no-holds barred brawl that no referee could possibly contain, that ended in dramatic fashion when Toru Yano suckered Makabe into giving him the chair he was going to use to put Nakamura out of commission, and turned on him, blasting him with a chair and powerbombing him for good measure before walking out with Nakamura. By the end of the month, Yano revealed that he had in fact recruited every single member of G.B.H.except for a new, vicious stable centered around a revival of Strong style, and a deep seated need for vengeance against those who had wronged the "King of Strong Style". CHAOS was truly born.
The Nakamura Years (2009-2016)
And then...some chaos hit CHAOS.
Yujiro Takahashi betrayed Okada in 2014, and defected to the newly reinvigorated Bullet Club, who would go on to take quite a few of CHAOS' entrenched positions in each division (including the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, taken from Okada by AJ Styles the night of Yujiro's betrayal). Yano, a founding member and one of its biggest wild cards, had entered a protracted feud with the sadistic veteran Minoru Suzuki, who lured away his tag team partner Takashi Iizuka to his own group: Suzuki-Gun. Finally, Okada and Nakamura would have to meet in the G1 Climax finals to see who would again take on the Once in a Century talent known as Tanahashi, and had an absolutely spectacular finish, that ended with Okada coming away with the win, but coming up short at Wrestle Kingdom, leaving the arena in tears while Nakamura walked away triumphant in his IC title match. This rift between the two was furthered by Okada losing to Nakamura in the G1 Climax Tournament the following year, and Nakamura coming up similarly short against Tanahashi, which signaled the end of his time in NJPW. After surrendering the IC championship, Nakamura, Okada, and Ishii took on Tanahashi, Goto, and Ishii's NEVER Openweight Championship rival Katsuyori Shibata in an emotional finale at the end of January 2016, where Shinsuke finally entrusted the group to his long-time professional rival and closest ally, Kazuchika Okada.
The Okada Years (2016 - Present)
This presented a problem. Jay White had made it clear he was more motivated to be a champion than he was to be a team player, but the now full of himself Okada took no notice at the time. Then he got pinned twice at the July 9 Dominion pay per view in Osaka for the belt by none other than the Bullet Club's Kenny Omega after 720 days, which seemed to take him so far off his game his fellow CHAOS stablemates wondered if he'd gone crazy...and that's when White struck in the G1 Climax tournament, brawling with Okada and taking him out in the first round, announcing that CHAOS was now "his", and Okada would not be either champion or G1 Climax winner for the first time since 2012. Per his mid-career crisis, Okada amicably split with Gedo as his hype man...or so he thought, as shortly after the tournament Gedo revealed he'd joined up with the Switchblade, and later revealed they had both along with Jado had jumped ship to the Bullet Club. White took Okada's dismissive comments about him being a "Tokyo Dome-level opponent" very personally, and beat him up at every opportunity, until at long last Tanahashi came out to help his former rival, and aligned CHAOS with the New Japan Main Army, effectively making them both the biggest stable in the company, and by far the biggest threat to Bullet Club. The Dream Team of Tanahashi and Okada was short-lived, however, as neither were truly entirely on the same page, which after six consecutive losses at White's hands, forced Okada to finally break down his funk and take White seriously. He would eventually get his wins back, as well as slowly break CHAOS away from the main army once again. Okada also began listening to Rocky Romero for further ideas on who to bring into the fold, allowing Ospreay to appeal to Robbie Eagles' sense of honor and lure him to defect from Bullet Club as well as recruiting Mikey Nicholls.
In 2020, Okada and Ospreay faced off in the final day of G1 Climax group matches. Ospreay betrayed his mentor and faction leader and left the faction, making his own (The Empire) with his real life girlfriend Bea Priestly and the returning Great O'Khan.
CHAOS is one of the most decorated Units in NJPW, with 6 IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championship reigns, 5 Junior Heavyweight Championship reigns, and a mind-boggling 12 runs with Jr. Heavyweight tag titles and the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship.
CHAOS as a group contains examples of:
- Arch-Enemy: Throughout the Nakamura years, Togi Makabe and former RISE stars were firmly the target of the founding members of CHAOS. During the Okada years, CHAOS' ongoing war against the Bullet Club and Suzuki-Gun is well documented, with Los Ingobernables de Japon joining in as well, turning NJPW into a full-on Mob War between the units.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: 2018 had Okada, Goto, White, Ospreay, and Roppongi 3k be champions by February.
- Ospreay, on twitter: Who runs the wrestling world? CHAOS.
- Also of note is the team of Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI and Tomohiro Ishii winning the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship on August 9, 2020. After the belts were vacated due to EVIL turning on LIJ and defecting to Bullet Club, there was an eight team tournament taking place during the Summer Struggle tour, culminating in an all CHAOS final where Goto, HASHI, and Ishii took on the team of Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, and SHO in the main event. Making this moment even more special is the fact YOSHI-HASHI finally won his first championship of his career after 12 years in the business.
- Bash Brothers: Rocky Romero has had a lot of these. First Davey Richards as No Remorse Corps, then Alex Koslov as Forever Hooligansm, then Beretta as Roppongi Vice, and now SHO and YOH as Roppongi 3K (he's their Eccentric Mentor). On the heavyweight side Ishii and Yano are this to each other, and were both this to Nakamura during his tenure, while Okada is this with Yoshi-Hashi.
- Big Bad: Nakamura during CHAOS' first four years. By 2013 they were no longer purely heel, so being The Leader no longer coincided with this.
- Bishounen: SHO, YOH, and Okada are very attractive young men.
- Broken Pedestal: Gedo, for years, was the voice of Okada and The Rainmaker's most trusted advisor. Extolling his praises, warning his opponents that they had no chance, spreading his messages for him, and generally just guiding his agenda along the proper path to the top, Okada saw Gedo as one of if not his best friend. This gradually died down as Okada became more comfortable speaking for himself, until he finally decided to separate from Gedo as manager and client, while still affirming their partnership as members of CHAOS. Gedo seemed to take it gracefully, but was actually furious enough to betray Okada post-haste at Jay White's urging, as he and Jado joined White in defecting from CHAOS to Bullet Club. Since then, Okada has been unable to resist an opportunity to punch Gedo in the face, being more heated at Gedo than at The Switchblade himself.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Outside of pro wrestling, CHAOS might strike one as merely a bunch of athletic goofballs, only interested in making each other laugh and having fun. Inside the ring, they are a force to be reckoned with.
- Co-Dragons: Yano, as Nakamura's co-conspirator and closest confidant, and Okada, as his ultimate successor, were both this during the early portion of his leading run where CHAOS were solidly heels. Yano was a more straightforward example of The Dragon, while Okada was more of a Dragon-in-Chief, to the point of even having his own underlings in Mouth of Sauron Gedo and Number Two co-conspirator and frequent tag partner Yoshi-Hashi.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: While the group never exactly sticks to a theme, the official colors of Red and Gold have steadily creeped into each member's gear throughout the years.
- Combat Pragmatist: While ostensibly the group's goal was to revive strong style, the reality is a bit different, as they're more than happy to both break the rules and resort to cheap tricks to win, but will hold to an "honorable" style of pro wrestling for as long as possible.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: At New Beginning 2012, Hiroshi Tanahashi thought he would be defending his championship against Kazuchika Okada, an unimpressive arrogant lower-midcard rich boy who was in over his head and floundered on the main stage against new CHAOS member* Yoshi-Hashi. Instead, Tanahashi faced new CHAOS member* Kazuchika Okada, a talented upstart scouted by Gedo who had everything it takes to be the future of the company. The result? The Rainmaker Shock, Okada's unbelievable victory over Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Title, which captured headlines all over Japan and the wrestling world in general, catapulting a new flagbearer for NJPW for years to come.
- Darkest Hour: 2018 and early 2019 were firmly not great years for CHAOS after years of dominance, as members began dropping or defecting left and right, Okada was going through either a nervous breakdown or a break from reality, and the unit as a whole was generally directionless, forcing them to align with the main unit in an initially fruitless attempt to stave off the advance of the Cutthroat Era Bullet Club. When Okada returned to his old gear and attitude, the group's fortunes began to make roads towards changing for the better.
- Defeat Equals Friendship: A major theme of CHAOS recruitments since Okada's time has largely been Okada, Romero, or in one storied case Ospreay running into talents during matches, becoming impressed with them, and eventually asking them to join or luring them away from other groups.
- Enemy Mine: Have had this with the NJPW Main Unit/Taguchi Japan members since late 2018, when Jay White's cold defection to Bullet Club along with Gedo and Jado, coupled with their "Firing Squad" mentality spearheaded by the Guerrillas of Destiny and Bad Luck Fale, made BC more dangerous than ever and forced both groups to react accordingly. Okada and Romero started taking steps to phase this out as 2020 proceeded.
- Friendly Rivalry: Okada and Nakamura had this as The Ace and The Leader respectively, each constantly pushing to be better than the other but never coming to blows outside of scheduled matches or threatening the stable's well-being trying to get at one another. When it came time for Nakamura to leave Japan, he willingly entrusted the stable to Okada without any controversy and Okada shed Manly Tears for his friend's departure while carrying him away on his shoulders.
- HeelFace Turn: They used to be the only heel faction in the entire company, largely put upon by the arrogance and flamboyance of their members and their willingness to take liberties in the ring, but more focused threats like Suzuki-Gun and the Bullet Club forced them to change tactics and began enjoying the crowd's attention increasingly more as time went on.
- Lost in Translation: The group's "CHAOS ZANMAI!" pose is a local reference to Sushizanmai, a popular 24-hour sushi chain in Tokyo whose high roller owner poses with the tuna he buys at exorbitant prices in exactly the same way the group does when they end a combination sequence with a senton or similar maneuver. A foreign viewer of course, will have absolutely no idea what that is other than a quirk of their tag team matches that the crowd seems to love.
- Orcus on His Throne: Okada received a load of criticism for how he handled his 2017 and 2018, especially when it came to both Jay White and Gedo. In fairness, he was going through some things.
- Spiritual Successor: Roppongi 3k is Rocky Romero's baby, who brought it together to be, in his words, "3000 times better than Rappongi Vice".
- True Companions:
- Zig-zagged. While Nakamura, Okada, Ishii, Yano, and Romero happily consider each other family, CHAOS as a unit tends to be pretty big of self-sufficiency, and don't make a habit of saving each other from beatdowns unless they're already in or around the ring at the time. The occasional exception is particularly noticeable, although in YOSHI-HASHI's case perhaps for the wrong reasons.note