Anderson is the reigning NEVER Openweight Champion, and he was scheduled to defend the gold against Hikuleo at NJPW Battle Autumn on November 5. After Gallows and Anderson returned to WWE on the October 10 episode of RAW, the match was still advertised, but it was later canceled after Anderson was booked for WWE Crown Jewel on the same day. He later stated that he’d return to NJPW on his term.
In an Instagram post on November 22, Anderson and Gallows announced that “Machine Gun” will defend the gold at NJPW’s December 14 event.
“It is damn nice to be on a tour bus again. It’s private, not full of a bunch of marks. But on behalf of Machine Gun Enterprises, on behalf of Bullet Club, on behalf of, let’s be honest, we’re full-blown WWE guys now, on behalf of Monday Night RAW’s O.C., as promised, will be delivered,” Gallows said. “I’m gonna give it to you right now. Let me tell you something. December 14, ‘Machine Gun’ Karl Anderson along with his heater ‘Big LG’, we’re coming to Japan. He will defend live and in person, you don’t wanna miss it, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, NEVER Openweight Championship.
Anderson responded by noting that he’s free, so the date works for him. He then asked “Unc”, his O.C. stablemate AJ Styles if it was cool with him. Styles said it was “too sweet”, and the trio did the Bullet Club’s signature gesture.
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Update: NJPW confirmed that Anderson will defend the title against Hikuleo, the man he was supposed to face at Battle Autumn, at the show.
The announcement, courtesy of NJPW’s official website, is as follows:
December 14 in Sendai, Karl Anderson will defend the NEVER Openweight Championship at the combined Super Junior and World Tag League finals against Hikuleo.
After defending the NEVER Championship against Hiroshi Tanahashi on September 25 in Kobe, Hikuleo moved to be next in line. The match seemed set for November 5 at battle Autumn Osaka, but Anderson and partner Doc Gallows would suddenly appear on WWE Raw, before finding themselves ‘double booked’.
As the match had been made through the proper channels and advertised, NJPW moved to strip Anderson of the NEVER Openweight Championship, but Hikuleo refused to let the move happen, demanding that he fight Anderson for the title in an NJPW ring. On November 23 Japan time), Anderson posted a message on social media indicating that he and Gallows would be in Sendai on December 14, and the match has now been made official.
Will Anderson continue to hold NEVER gold hostage, or can Hikuleo bring the title home and to Hontai? Find out December 14!