The recent WWE return of Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows sparked tension with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), as disclosed by a pivotal figure involved in the process. Anderson and Gallows returned on the October 10th episode of Raw after a two-year absence, assisting AJ Styles and reuniting The OC group.
"Michin" Mia Yim joined the group later. Anderson and Gallows were absent from television for four months as AJ Styles recovered from a broken ankle. The group made a joint return during the WWE Draft, now joining Smackdown.
Following their WWE stint, Anderson and Gallows spent two years with Impact Wrestling, frequently appearing in NJPW and even on AEW television. While signing his WWE contract, Anderson held the IWGP NEVER Openweight Championship in NJPW, raising questions about the title's future.
Karl Anderson's Title Loss Causes Friction
In January, at Wrestle Kingdom 17, Tama Tonga ended Anderson's 206-day reign as the NEVER Openweight Champion. NJPW wrestler and office representative Rocky Romero discussed the tension on the Comedy Store Wrestling Podcast.
Romero stated, "Yeah, (there was) a lot of tension. Knowing where everybody stood and trying to stay true to our partners (at) AEW. Their major competitor is WWE, right?" He added, "So I'm trying to navigate the waters and stay neutral in some position, also knowing it was important to get the Good Brothers, especially Karl Anderson, back to New Japan so he could defend the title…It was super stressful in the beginning." Romero also revealed having conversations with high-ranking WWE personnel for the first time, explicitly praising Triple H's handling of the situation.
Regarding Anderson's title drop to Tonga, Romero noted that it didn't have to happen that way and credited WWE's Chief Content Officer Triple H for allowing it. He said, "He didn't have to do that, and I don't think the Good Brothers had anything in writing that they necessarily had to do that." Romero continued, "I think Triple H, just kinda respecting what New Japan is and having respect for the culture, and having respect for the wrestling business in general, was open to working it out."