With plentiful speculation as to where he'd resurface after being released by WWE in August, the former Bronson Reed made a shock appearance at last night's NJPW Battle in the Valley event.
Now known simply as JONAH, the one-time NXT North American Champion made his presence known after IMPACT World Champion Moose had defeated Juice Robinson in a non-title contest. Teasing a confrontation with Moose, the super heavyweight instead turned his attention to Juice, laying out the former IWGP US Champion with a splash.
Robinson's partner David Finlay hit the ring to make the save, although he too was decimated by JONAH - before the Australian cut a promo proclaiming how the shackles were off and promising to bring violence.
【11.14サンノゼ大会・第6試合後】Advertisement— 新日本プロレスリング株式会社 (@njpw1972) November 14, 2021
'Now the shackles are finally off! Now the real violence begins! New japan Pro-Wrestling- you are looking at your Top Dog!@JONAHISHERE!Advertisement— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) November 14, 2021
Despite working several WWE dark matches in the belief that a move to Raw or SmackDown was on the horizon, JONAH was surprisingly released by Vince McMahon's sports entertainment giant on 6 August. The big man was reportedly due to debut for IMPACT at last month's Bound for Glory, but that ended up not happening. Now, it appears the athletic powerhouse has his fingers in IMPACT and NJPW pies from here on out.
In addition to JONAH making waves at Battle in the Valley, another former WWE name who starred at the PPV was Buddy Matthews, aka Buddy Murphy. He may have ultimately lost the match, but Matthews put in an excellent showing in a 17-minute barnburner against Kazuchika Okada.