Jay White lost the IWGP Heavyweight Championship to Kauchika Okada in the main event of NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17. At New Year’s Dash, White took out his frustrations on Hikuleo by unleashing a brutal assault and challenging him to a ‘Loser Leaves Japan’ match. It wasn’t made clear when this match would take place. Soon after, it was reported that White had interest from AEW and Tony Khan had already attempted to speak to Switchblade about joining. WWE was also reported to have White on their radar and the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion White wishes to compete in the United States for now.
White was rumored to be a surprise entrant for the 2023 Royal Rumble. Since the Royal Rumble is synonymous with surprise entrants, returns, and debuts, White’s name has been considered a possibility.
Fightful Select reports that White is still under contract with NJPW as of Saturday’s Royal Rumble.
“For those asking about Switchblade Jay White’s status, NJPW sources claim he’s still under contract to them as of the Royal Rumble.”
While Hikuleo is also very much an NJPW talent as of now, reigning NEVER Openweight Champion Tama Tonga is set to become a free agent soon.
“Hikuleo was also said to still be under contract, but Tama Tonga’s was supposed to be up ‘sometime soon.'”
At NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17, Tama Tonga defeated Karl Anderson to win the NEVER Openweight Title for the second time in his career. The event marked the first time a WWE-contracted talent wrestled for NJPW.
Following a brief stint at the NJPW dojo, Hikuleo rejoined the NJPW roster in 2017. Higher-ups in WWE have expressed interest internally in Hikuleo, and things had been that way for several months now. It’s likely that NJPW is saving the Loser Leaves Japan match as a way to write Hikuleo or Jay White off television depending on whoever leaves the company by then.
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