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New Japan Battle Autumn to have FTR, new title semi-finals, but no Karl Anderson

Dax Harwood’s Twitter

Much of the talk about New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Nov. 5 Battle Autumn event has focused on who won’t be there — WWE Superstar & NEVER Openweight champion Karl Anderson.

In finalizing the card for Saturday’s show in Osaka, NJPW is confirming Machine Gun won’t be there. But unlike when Juice Robinson skipped a title defense earlier this year (and despite reports indicating this situation is just as much of a work as that one was), New Japan isn’t stripping Anderson of his belt:

Despite extensive efforts by New Japan Pro-Wrestling to negotiate with Karl Anderson regarding his scheduled match in Osaka at Battle Autumn on November 5, NJPW officials have still been met with no response, and have been left with no other option but to cancel the planned NEVER Openweight Championship match.

We apologise to fans who had been looking forward to watching Anderson wrestle.

After a challenge from Yujiro Takahashi, and at the direct request of Hikuleo, Osaka will now see a non-title special singles match between Yujiro Takahashi and Hikuleo.

NJPW holds its champions to the highest standard of professionalism. We deeply apologise for the inconvenience and disappointment caused by this matter.

Battle Autumn will feature gaijin champs, however. IWGP Heavyweight Tag titleholders FTR announced they be making their Japanese debut last week, issuing an open challenge for their second defense of the belts they won at Forbidden Door back in June. That’s been answered by the team that entered that PPV as champs, Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb. That United Empire duo has a good argument for a title shot, seeing as they didn’t factor into the decision in Chicago (Roppongi Vice took the fall in the Triple Threat).

The show will also feature the semi-finals of the tournament to crown the first ever IWGP Television champion, and a tag match building to the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 17 — G1 winner Kazuchika Okada vs. IWGP World Heavyweight champ Jay White.

Here’s the full line-up for Nov. 5’s Battle Autumn:

• Will Ospreay (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP United States Heavyweight championship

FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) (c) vs. United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb) for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles

• Kazuchika Okada & Tama Tonga vs. Jay White & KENTA

• Master Wato, Taiji Ishimori, El Desperado & Hiromu Takahashi (Parejas Increibles; pairings TBA)

• Zack Sabre Jr. vs. EVIL in the semi-finals of the IWGP World Television Championship Tournament

• SANADA vs. Ren Narita in the semi-finals of the IWGP World Television Championship Tournament

• Hikuleo vs. Yujiro Takahashi

• Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano, David Finlay & Alex Zayne vs. United Empire (Aaron Henare, Gideon Gray, Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher)

TJP & Francesco Akira (c) vs. BUSHI & Titan for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team titles

Sound like a good way to start a busy wrestling Saturday?

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