Karl Anderson will be stripped of the NEVER Openweight Championship as a solution to a scheduling conflict brought about by The Good Brothers' surprising recent return to WWE.
This is according to New Japan Pro-Wrestling, who issued the following statement to try and clear up the fact that titleholder Anderson was booked to work Crown Jewel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and NJPW's Battle Autumn in Osaka, Japan on the same night.
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.
Anderson and Luke Gallows had spoke about the situation last week, which - while mostly in character - ultimately ended with the message that he would only work a show when it suited his "Bright Lights" schedule.