Karl Anderson Gives Update On Next IWGP NEVER Openweight Title Defense

Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows sent shockwaves through the wrestling industry last month when they made their return to WWE to re-form The O.C. with AJ Styles –- all while Anderson still held New Japan Pro-Wrestling's IWGP NEVER Openweight Championship. Since then, there have been all sorts of questions and uncertainty as to the working relationship between WWE, NJPW and Anderson, especially after the Crown Jewel predicament. It now seems likely, however, that some kind of deal has been struck between all parties. Appearing on Corey Graves' podcast "After the Bell" with Gallows, Anderson elaborated on the situation.


"I'm gonna go back [to New Japan] on my time," Anderson said. "New Japan Pro-Wrestling usually strips their champions when they can't make a show. And they threw a leniency in there, because they announced a match for me when we hadn't totally agreed on what we were going to do ... The dates are coming up." Anderson assured fans that he will make a return to NJPW to defend the championship, but did not reveal any specific date or timetable for that occurring. 

"I've gotten some slanderous tweets," Anderson joked. "I've messaged Rocky Romero, who's a great friend of ours [and is] one of the office brothers at New Japan Pro-Wrestling. I said 'I can't wait to announce this date, because these people are just really, really hating me right now.'" Anderson and Gallows then threatened in jest that they planned on keeping the title "hostage in America" forever.


It would seem that Anderson will defend the IWGP NEVER Openweight Championship early next year at NJPW's Wrestle Kingdom 17 in the Tokyo Dome. That event is scheduled to take place on January 4, 2023, and will consist of only one night of wrestling, as opposed to the two-night event of the last several years.