NJPW recently held its biggest show of the year, Wrestle Kingdom 17, earlier this month. One of the biggest talking points heading into the show was Karl Anderson and the Never Openweight Championship. When Karl Anderson returned to WWE along with Luke Gallows couple of months ago, he was still the IWGP Never Openweight Champion. It was also reported at the time that he had a few NJPW dates booked and WWE would allow him to work those dates. Hence, it was announced that Karl Anderson would defend the Never Openweight Championship against Tama Tonga at Wrestle Kingdom 17.

Heading into the show, there was a lot of rumors about who would accompany Karl Anderson to the ring or whether The Machine Gun will head into the Tokyo Dome alone. Many fans believed that Anderson would be at least accompanied by his tag team partner Luke Gallows.

However, Karl Anderson appeared at Wrestle Kingdom 17 alone to defend his championship, which raised a lot of eyebrows as people expected him to have someone in his corner. Naturally, AJ Styles would have been a treat for the NJPW fans.

Fightful Select is now reporting that Luke Gallows didn’t make the trip because it was NJPW’s call not to have him on the show. Regarding AJ Styles, there were talks of the former Bullet Club member coming over to Japan.


Rocky Romero informed Fightful that Styles himself thought it would be a cool idea for him to go to Japan and if it were up to the latter, he would’ve been there. However, Rocky Romero mentioned that there were never any official plans for it to happen.

It ended up being a moot point since AJ Styles broke his ankle a week before Wrestle Kingdom. He has been unable to travel due to the severity of the injury. He hasn’t even been seen on WWE television since.

“AJ Styles has been sidelined with a broken ankle, but there were rumors prior to his injury that he could have appeared at Wrestle Kingdom 17 with Karl Anderson.

Styles was not present, but Doc Gallows also didn’t make the trip, which we’ve been told was a New Japan Pro Wrestling call. However, there were some talks about AJ Styles coming over. Rocky Romero tells Fightful’s Wrestling Perspective Podcast that AJ Styles himself thought it would be a cool idea. Romero said he believed if it were up to Styles, he might have been there.

It ended up being a moot point, as Styles broke his ankle the week before and hasn’t traveled or been on WWE TV. That ended all the possibilities. Romero made sure to specify that there were never any official plans for it to happen,” per Fightful Select.

Karl Anderson was defeated by Tama Tonga at Wrestle Kingdom 17, ending his 206-day reign as Never Openweight Champion. Based on the outcome of the match, it doesn’t look like Anderson will work any more NJPW dates. Stay tuned to Ringside News as we bring you similar stories.

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Sunil Joseph

Passionate pro wrestling fan. Sunil has been writing WWE content writing for over the last five years. Sunil still gets excited when he gets to tell people that he gets paid to watch pro wrestling.

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