At NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17, current WWE star Karl Anderson entered the Forbidden Door to defend the NEVER Openweight Championship against his former Bullet Club ally Tama Tonga. A new report has now revealed that another WWE star was also considered to accompany him to New Japan’s biggest show of the year.
Anderson originally won the Openweight Title at Dominion on June 12th by defeating Tonga. Over the following months, he continued to compete in both New Japan and IMPACT Wrestling until his contract with the latter expired in August.
On October 10th, Anderson and Luke Gallows made their shock return to WWE, leaving the future of the NEVER Openweight Championship up in the air. When the pair signed their new contract, Anderson was already scheduled to defend the title against Tama Tonga’s brother, Hikuleo, at NJPW Battle Autumn on November 5th. However, the defence didn’t go ahead as planned due to Anderson being booked for WWE’s Crown Jewel show the same day.
On December 14th, at NJPW’s World Tag League/Super Jr. Tag League Final event, the match finally took place. Contrary to expectations, Anderson overcame Hikuleo to retain the title.
This led to Anderson being booked for one more match in Japan, defending his title against Tama Tonga at Wrestle Kingdom 17.
When the event came around, Anderson surprisingly entered with no support from Bullet Club, with even Luke Gallows being absent. The match itself saw Anderson and Tonga fighting all over the arena. Once they were back in the ring, Tama Tonga ended things with a Supreme Flow followed by a Gunstun to recapture the title.
AJ Styles pushed to make Wrestle Kingdom 17 appearance
It has previously been reported by Fightful that AJ Styles – who was a pivotal member of Bullet Club during his time in NJPW – was discussed for the event, but it became a moot point after he suffered a broken ankle at a WWE Live Event on December 29th.
Now, in an interview on the Wrestling Perspective podcast, New Japan’s Rocky Romero has revealed that the Phenomenal One was pushing to go to the show to support his OC teammate as he thought “it would be cool”.
“As for AJ, I mean there were some talks about AJ possibly coming, but only because AJ himself thought it would be cool if he showed up. I think if it was up to AJ and if he didn’t get hurt, maybe he would have shown up, but there was nothing official I would say.”
H/T to Fightful for the above transcription.