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Karl Anderson isn’t done in New Japan, sets date for Wrestle Kingdom

It was an eventful Wednesday in Sendai, which also say the crowning of two tournament winners and the dissolution of a long-running stable as the card for next month’s Tokyo Dome show continues to take shape.

WWE’s Karl Anderson worked the New Japan Pro-Wrestling show in Miyagi today (Dec. 14), and word was it wouldn’t be his last. Sure enough, after Anderson successfully defended his NEVER Openweight championship against Hikuleo an angle made it clear he’d be back for next month’s Wrestle Kingdom 17 — the biggest event on New Japan’s schedule.

After he countered a Hikuleo chokeslam into Gun Stun to win a match that saw some Bullet Club-style interference (by Gedo, not Luke Gallows), Machine Gun got on the mic to declare himself the greatest NEVER champ ever, promising to hold the belt forever. That brought out his old teammate Tama Tonga, who traded punches with Anderson before he too came up on the wrong end of Gun Stun counter. Karl knelt over his rival and told him they have a date for the Tokyo Dome next month.

NJPW hasn’t made that official as of this writing. But they have a lot on their plate after an newsworthy night. Today’s show also featured the finals of both the World Tag and Super Junior Tag League tournaments.

In the latter, Lio Rush & YOH dashed the hopes of Impact Wrestling fans everywhere when they beat that promotion’s Bullet Club contingent, Ace Austin & Chris Bey. YOH pinned Austin after hitting his Direct Drive finisher, then celebrated his third Super Junior Tag League win (he won it with his former Roppongi 3K SHO in 2018 & 2019). It was Rush’s first, and a big moment after his latest comeback earlier this year.

Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI, collectively known as Bishamon, won World Tag League for the second year in a row. Aussie Open’s Mark Fletcher took both of his opponents’ tandem finishers before YOSHI-HASHI pinned him. It’s Goto’s fourth time winning this tournament (two with Y-H, and once each with Katsuyori Shibata & Karl Anderson).

Both teams get title shots at Wrestle Kingdom. Rush & YOH will challenge TJP & Francesco Akira for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag belts, while Bishamon faces IWGP Heavyweight Tag champs FTR.

Earlier in Wednesday’s show from Sendai Sunplaza Hall, Minoru Suzuki announced that his Suzuki-gun stable will disband at the end of the year. Each of the group’s current members (DOUKI, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr., Taka Michinoku, El Desperado & AEW’s Lance Archer) will go their separate ways. Suzuki-gun has been around since 2011, and famously invaded Pro Wrestling NOAH in 2015 for a storyline that lasted two years.

Here’s all the results from today’s show:

El Lindaman & Alex Zayne def. Kosei Fujita & Ryohei Oiwa

TMDK (Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls) def. Kevin Knight & KUSHIDA

United Empire (TJP, Francesco Akira, Great-O-Khan & Aaron Henare) def. Gabriel Kidd, Alex Coughlin, Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask

Suzuki-Gun (DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki) def. HOUSE OF TORTURE (EVIL, SHO, Dick Togo & Yujiro Takahashi)

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, Titan & BUSHI) def. Clark Connors, Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano & Hiroshi Tanahashi

Bullet Club (Gedo, Taiji Ishimori & Jay White) def. Master Wato, Tama Tonga & Kazuchika Okada

Karl Anderson def. Hikuleo to retain the NEVER Openweight championship

Lio Rush & YOH def. Ace Austin & Chris Bey to win Super Junior Tag League

Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) def. Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) to win World Tag League

On to the Tokyo Dome.

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