Karl Anderson was originally scheduled to defend his NEVER Openweight championship against Hikuleo on Nov. 5 at NJPW’s Battle Autumn show in Osaka, Japan. But his recent return to WWE has thrown that plan into disarray, because WWE booked Anderson in a six man tag team match on the same date at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia.
Anderson released a video last week saying he won’t be in Osaka on Nov. 5, and he blamed NJPW for the double booking.
NJPW initially responded by saying Karl is expected to honor all advertised commitments. Then last night NJPW issued an ultimatum to Anderson; he either shows up at Battle Autumn to defend his title, or he will be stripped of the gold and has to return their property.
Here is their statement:
Early morning Japan time on October 20, NEVER Openweight Champion Karl Anderson posted a video on social media indicating that he would not be making his advertised commitment on November 5 in Osaka.
NJPW had announced Anderson’s match with Hikuleo for the NEVER Openweight Championship on October 4. Despite comments from Doc Gallows to the contrary in Anderson’s video, the booking was made through the appropriate channels, and with Anderson’s expressed approval.
However, after the match’s announcement, both Gallows and Anderson would appear on the October 10 edition of WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” broadcast. This led to WWE announcing a match featuring both men for their Saudi Arabia event on November 5, in direct conflict with Anderson’s prior commitment.
NJPW has for the past several days attempted to negotiate with Anderson, but has not been met with a response. Should Anderson decide to renege on his scheduled championship match, he will be required to vacate the NEVER Openweight Championship and return the title belt to NJPW immediately.
New Japan Pro-Wrestling holds its champions to the highest standards of professionalism, and sincerely apologises to fans for any disappointment or inconvenience caused by this matter.
Do you expect Anderson to return the belt to NJPW? Let us know in the comments below how you see this one playing out, Cagesiders.