Rocky Romero: Everyone Had Good Intentions In Karl Anderson Working For NJPW; Thank You, WWE

Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows returned to WWE in October despite Anderson being the NEVER Openweight Champion and advertised to defend his title against Hikuleo on November 5. Anderson ended up missing the November 5 date for New Japan Pro-Wrestling as he was booked by WWE to compete at WWE Crown Jewel.

Though fans were concerned over Anderson's status with NJPW and the state of the NEVER Openweight Championship, "Machine Gun" came to Japan to successfully defend the title against Hikuleo on December 14.

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Anderson will now defend the title against Tama Tonga at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17.

Speaking to Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful, Rocky Romero detailed NJPW's relationship with WWE and how Anderson was able to fulfill his commitments.

"The whole thing was shaky, in some kind of way. Not that WWE was going to go against what they had originally promised Karl, but it’s a big company, they’re super busy, and right off the bat, it got a little scary because he was announced for Osaka to defend the title against Hikuleo and it also happened to be the same day as the Saudi show. It was like, ‘Oh, they just invested a bunch of money back into these guys and they just brought them back on TV, are they going to let Karl go to Japan? Of course not.’ I understand, on the New Japan side, if it was flipped, it would have went that way as well. Kudos to WWE for letting him finish out the dates. He defended the title against Hikuleo in Japan in December and now it’s road to the Tokyo Dome, it’s him and Tama Tonga, a year in the making almost, I’m pumped. Thank you, WWE, for letting it happen," said Rocky.

When asked about the stress that came with the situation, Rocky said, "So much stress. The whole ride was very bumpy. I think everybody’s intentions were good. Karl’s intentions were good, Gallows' intentions were good, and to make good on everything they had already promised to appear on some these shows. Obviously, Karl is a champion. Everyone’s intentions were good, it was just, how do we get there? That’s always the sketchy part with professional wrestling because there are so many moving parts. WWE is a huge company, and with the regime change, you don’t know what was going to happen. Anything could happen. Vince (McMahon) could come back in power, nobody knows. Obviously, Triple H now being in charge, we can see Shinsuke Nakamura going to NOAH to work against Great Muta and Anderson working New Japan, it does seem like there is a complete change in how they feel about working with other companies or letting talent go and do really cool stuff outside of WWE. It all helps the product. In Japan, New Japan is the market. Everywhere else in the world, WWE has very strong business. It doesn’t hurt WWE by letting Karl Anderson or Shinsuke come over to this market where they are not as strong and letting them’s like free advertising for WWE."

Anderson and Tonga have a long history with both men being part of the original Bullet Club alongside Finn Balor and Bad Luck Fale.

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 will be headlined by Kazuchika Okada challenging Jay White for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. The event will air on NJPW World on January 4. Fans can check out the current lineup by clicking here.

Fightful will have coverage of NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 on January 4.

Watch the full interview with Rocky in the video above.

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