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NJPW has issued a statement about Karl Anderson and the NEVER Openweight Title, which states that Anderson must defend the title on November 5 or he will be stripped of the championship.

NJPW booked a title match between Anderson and Hikuleo that was made back on October 4 for the upcoming event, but on October 10th, Anderson and Luke Gallows returned to WWE on Raw, aiding AJ Styles against The Judgment Day. WWE later booked a six-man tag match that includes Anderson was made for WWE Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia on November 5th, the same day as NJPW’s Battle Autumn event in Osaka.

Anderson later released a video saying New Japan Pro Wrestling never booked the match with Luke Gallows. Anderson said they would return to Japan on their time to defend the NEVER title.

NJPW wrote the match was made “through the appropriate channels” and Anderson had expressed approval. You can check out the statement below:

“Thank you for supporting New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

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“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.”