In a move that all but confirms the Karl Anderson "double booking" situation as a work, given New Japan Pro-Wrestling's fondness for using the outlet in such ways, Tokyo Sports has published an article claiming the puroresu promotion's president is "angry" with the WWE star.
Anderson returned to WWE alongside long-time tag partner Luke Gallows on last week's Raw. It was reported that Anderson and Gallows would fulfil existing NJPW obligations through January's Wrestle Kingdom show, with Karl reigning as NEVER Openweight Champion. NJPW then announced Anderson would have a title defence against Hikuleo at the Battle Autumn show on 5 November. Days later, WWE booked Anderson, Gallows, and AJ Styles against The Judgment Day for Crown Jewel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for the same date.
Travelling to both shows would've been impossible. Yesterday, Anderson confirmed he wouldn't be at the NJPW date, blaming New Japan for not running it by him and Gallows.
Tokyo Sports notes that Anderson has "transferred the responsibility of double booking with WWE to New Japan" after "unilaterally announcing his withdrawal" from the NJPW show, which takes place in Osaka. Citing Brock Lesnar's infamous 2006 pull-out and subsequent stripping of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship as a comparison point, Tokyo Sports states that NJPW president Takami Ohbari responded simply when asked for comment: "I'm angry."
Anderson and Gallows had previously claimed they were committed to NJPW dates through January. The duo had been back in New Japan since May, when they returned to Japanese shores for the first time since 2016.