Jon Moxley may be far and away the longest-reigning IWGP United States Champion but that all could have been very different according to a new report.
Ahead of Moxley’s return to the ring for the first time since the birth of his daughter, the AEW star is set to put his IWGP US Championship on the line against Karl Anderson. That match will take place on night one of Fyter Fest in what will be AEW’s first show outside of Florida in over a year as they head to Cedar Park, Texas.
According to Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the showdown between Anderson and Moxley for the title was due to happen well over a year ago. The two men were reportedly set to go one-on-one at WrestleKingdom in January 2020 where Anderson was due to defeat Moxley for the title.
Karl Anderson and tag team partner Doc Gallows had reportedly agreed a deal to return to New Japan Pro Wrestling as well as a deal to join AEW. Those plans however were nixed when Gallows and Anderson had their contract offer massively increased to $750,000 a year for five years, Meltzer noted. Anderson and Gallows stayed with WWE until they were released from their contracts in April 2020 after last appearing during the WrestleMania 36 Boneyard Match between AJ Styles and The Undertaker.
Plans changed drastically for the IWGP US Title as far back as the King Of Pro Wrestling show held in Ryogoku Sumo Hall in October 2019. Typhoon Hagibis left travel in and out of Japan in jeopardy and as such Jon Moxley could not make it into the country to defend his title. As a result, he was stripped of the championship and a new champion was crowned as Lance Archer defeated Moxley’s original challenger Juice Robinson for the vacant belt. Moxley made it to WrestleKingdom in 2020 where he defeated Archer to reclaim his crown in a brutal Texas Death Match.
Moxley’s match with Anderson will not be the only title match taking place at Fyter Fest. Brian Cage puts his FTW Championship on the line against Ricky Starks as Team Taz looks set to implode. Elsewhere on the night one card Yuka Sakazaki returns to AEW television against Penelope Ford, Matt Hardy meets long-time rival Christian Cage one-on-one, and Darby Allin looks to deflate Ethan Page’s ego as they meet in a coffin match.