New Japan Pro-Wrestling president Takami Ohbari has claimed to be doing all he can to ensure every match advertised for his company's 5 November Battle August events goes ahead as planned - including Karl Anderson's scheduled NEVER Openweight Title defence against Hikuleo.
Announced by NJPW two weeks ago, the day after Anderson and Luke Gallows returned to WWE, this bout was thrown into question when Anderson was announced for a match at Crown Jewel 2022 on that same date (5 Nov.). It would have been impossible to make it from Osaka, Japan to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in time, so one bout would have to bite the dust.
The situation is almost certainly a work. Anderson and Gallows released a short video last week stating they weren't coming, giving kayfabe reasons, before Ohbari issued a short statement to Tokyo Sports: "I'm angry."
Now, Ohbari has tweeted the following:-
We are doing all we can to ensure every signed match in Osaka on November 5 happens as promised. We expect all wrestlers, especially champions, to honor their advertised commitments.#njautumnAdvertisement— 大張高己/Takami Ohbari (@TAKAMIOHBARI) October 22, 2022
Anderson vs. Hikuleo is still being advertised for the show.
Gallows and Anderson had been working for NJPW without a contract prior to re-signing with WWE. The duo have asserted that they are committed to New Japan through Wrestle Kingdom (4 January 2023). The Flagship Wrestling Podcast reported over the weekend that upon signing with WWE, Gallows and Anderson told the NJPW office of all known WWE dates they were committed to, including 5 November.
New Japan, therefore, were aware of the situation prior to announcing the Hikuleo match. Confirming the bout regardless of this was pitched by somebody internally, with the idea being to turn it into a storyline.