Karl Anderson is officially out of a New Japan Pro-Wrestling show he was unlikely to ever make in the first place.
NJPW announced today that its reigning NEVER Openweight Champion, who returned to WWE earlier this month, will not be at Saturday, 5 November's Battle Autumn show in Osaka. Anderson had initially been advertised for a title defence against Hikuleo, though WWE announced him for its Crown Jewel 2022 show in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on the same date a few days after the NJPW booking came to light.
In its official statement, New Japan claimed its attempts at negotiating with Anderson had not been responded to:-
Despite extensive efforts by New Japan Pro-Wrestling to negotiate with Karl Anderson regarding his scheduled match in Osaka at Battle Autumn on November 5, NJPW officials have still been met with no response, and have been left with no other option but to cancel the planned NEVER Openweight Championship match.
We apologise to fans who had been looking forward to watching Anderson wrestle.
After a challenge from Yujiro Takahashi, and at the direct request of Hikuleo, Osaka will now see a non-title special singles match between Yujiro Takahashi and Hikuleo.
NJPW holds its champions to the highest standard of professionalism. We deeply apologise for the inconvenience and disappointment caused by this matter.
That Anderson and tag team partner Luke Gallows would fulfil existing NJPW obligations through 4 January's Wrestle Kingdom supershow despite returning to WWE on 10 October was reported following their Raw comebacks. When the scheduling conflict materialised, Anderson claimed NJPW had booked him for 5 November without asking him, kayfabing his response.
The Flagship Wrestling Podcast later reported that upon re-signing with WWE, Gallows and Anderson told NJPW of all known WWE dates they were committed to. This included 5 November. An unknown person pitched advertising Anderson vs. Hikuleo despite knowing the bout wouldn't go ahead, turning it into a storyline.
And so the work continues.