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Juice Robinson stripped of IWGP United States title as New Japan gets in on the worked shoot fun (we think)

Juice Robinson has been deep in character this year. It allowed him to work the dirt sheets with a retirement angle that turned his debut as a Bullet Club member and subsequent IWGP United States championship win into big surprises.

But when he missed New Japan’s final Best of the Super Juniors show last week due to appendicitis, that appeared to be legitimate. It seemed like that reality was being used for a storyline when Robinson recorded an angry promo declaring himself out for his scheduled Triple Threat title defense against Will Ospreay and SANADA tomorrow (June 12) at Dominion in Osaka. Especially since NJPW promoted it...

Standard “heel champ avoids putting his belt on the line” angle, right? Probably, but a statement New Japan put out today stripping Juice of the title and accusing him of “reneging” on an agreement to defend at Dominion muddies the water:

On Friday June 9, New Japan Pro-Wrestling was in receipt of a video from Juice Robinson, in which he stated that he would not be present for his IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship three way match at Dominion.

In fact, Robinson had initially agreed to the championship match Sunday in Osaka Jo Hall. Having now reneged on this agreement and refusing to attend in Osaka, NJPW is hereby stripping Robinson of his champion status and is demanding the return of the championship belt currently in his possession.

As a result of the championship vacancy, the previously scheduled IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship three way is now a singles match that will determine a new champion...

New Japan Pro-Wrestling apologises to fans who were looking forward to seeing Juice wrestle, as well as for the confusion and inconvenience caused.

It’s probably kayfabe? But NJPW scripting a dispute with a star over his injury status so shortly after that was an element of their public, by all accounts & indications very real feud with Kota Ibushi is an interesting choice. Why should AEW be the only ones coming into Forbidden Door with a “disgruntled employee”, right?

Let us know what you think. Here’s an updated look at the Dominion card, which has plenty of implications for the June 26 PPV with Tony Khan’s company in Chicago:

  • Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Jay White for the IWGP World Heavyweight championship
  • Will Ospreay vs. SANADA for the IWGP United States Heavyweight title
  • Tama Tonga (c) vs. Karl Anderson for the NEVER Openweight championship
  • Shingo Takagi (c) vs. Taichi for the provisional KOPW 2022 trophy
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto in an AEW World Championship Eliminator Series match; winner faces Jon Moxley for the Interim AEW World title at Forbidden Door
  • Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens) (c) vs. United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb) for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team championship
  • House of Torture (EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi & SHO) (c) vs. Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr., El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) for the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship:
  • Toru Yano vs. Doc Gallows
  • Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI vs. Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo & Ace Austin
  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs. Aaron Henare, TJP & Francesco Akira

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