Karl Anderson To Make History As A WWE Star In NJPW

Reigning NEVER Openweight Champion Karl Anderson to work Wrestle Kingdom 17 as a WWE star.

Karl Anderson

Karl Anderson is expected to become the first WWE-contracted wrestler to ever work Wrestle Kingdom, NJPW's signature event, on 4 January 2023.

Fightful Select reiterated on Monday that Anderson is still lined-up for the Tokyo Dome supershow. This has been the case since August, despite Anderson and long-time tag team partner Luke Gallows returning to WWE as full-time, contracted hires in October.

Anderson jumped to WWE while still holding NJPW's NEVER Openweight Championship. WWE reached out to him and Gallows about a comeback in August, which is when Karl's existing New Japan commitments were seemingly made clear.


Concern was sparked in November, when Anderson was announced for WWE Crown Jewel 2022 on the same day that he was due to defend his NEVER belt against Hikuleo in Osaka, Japan. "Pulled" from the NJPW show, Anderson worked the WWE event, though the situation was an elaborate work - and used as a means of prolonging Karl's ongoing New Japan storyline with Hikuleo.

Anderson has never not been under the impression that he was working Wrestle Kingdom. This has been the plan all along. PWInsider reports that he will have a "strong role" on the card, competing in a singles match.

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Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.