NJPW has stripped Juice Robinson of the IWGP United States Heavyweight Title.
NJPW announced on Friday night that Robinson was being stripped after he informed them he would not be coming to Japan to defend at Sunday’s NJPW Dominion event in the Triple Threat with Sanada and Will Ospreay. NJPW added that Robinson has “reneged on his agreement,” and that he is still in possession of the title belt.
Due to the vacancy, the match at Dominion will now be a singles match with Ospreay vs. Sanada to crown the new IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion.
The promotion wrote in their statement, “On Friday June 9, New Japan Pro-Wrestling was in receipt of a video from Juice Robinson, in which he stated that he would not be present for his IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship three way match at Dominion. In fact, Robinson had initially agreed to the championship match Sunday in Osaka Jo Hall. Having now reneged on this agreement and refusing to attend in Osaka, NJPW is hereby stripping Robinson of his champion status and is demanding the return of the championship belt currently in his possession.”
NJPW ended their statement by apologizing to fans for any confusion and inconvenience, and to those who wanted to see Robinson in action.
The promotion wrote, “New Japan Pro-Wrestling apologises to fans who were looking forward to seeing Juice wrestle, as well as for the confusion and inconvenience caused.”
Robinson’s only comments have been in storyline promos, and it remains to be seen how much of this situation is storyline or legitimate. Robinson missed the June 3 NJPW Best of the Super Jr. Finals event, where he was scheduled for a non-title bout against Tomoaki Honma, and it was announced that he was dealing with appendicitis. It was indicated that the appendicitis was a legitimate issue Robinson was suffering from.
It was originally reported, but not confirmed, back on June 5 that Robinson would not be able to compete at Dominion as he was not healed from the appendicitis yet.
Robinson then released an in-character promo on Thursday, seen below, where he announced that he would not be attending Dominion due to the appendicitis. The video was put out by the official NJPW YouTube account. NJPW still kept Robinson advertised for Dominion for another 24 hours, which led to speculation on the health issue just being a storyline, but apparently that is not the case.
This all comes after Robinson announced during a mid-April interview that he was leaving NJPW due to his contract expiring. That just led to Robinson returning to the company on May 1, making a surprise heel turn and joining The Bullet Club. Robinson then won the IWGP United States Heavyweight Title from Hiroshi Tanahashi at Capital Collision on May 14 in Washington, DC, by winning a Fatal 4 Way that also included Jon Moxley and Will Ospreay.
Robinson held the title for 28 days in this reign, which was his third.
NJPW Dominion will take place this Sunday, June 12 from Osaka, Japan at the Osaka-jō Hall. Below is the updated card, along with the aforementioned Robinson video:
The United Empire (Aaron Henare, TJP, Francesco Akira) vs. Six or Nine (Ryusuke Taguchi, Master Wato) and Hiroyoshi Tenzan
The Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo, Impact X Division Champion Ace Austin) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japan (Bushi, Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi)
Doc Gallows vs. Toru Yano
NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Titles Match
Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr., El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru) vs. House of Torture (Evil, Sho, Yujiro Takahashi) (c)
IWGP Tag Team Titles Match
The United Empire (Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb) vs. The Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale) (c)
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto
Winner will face Jon Moxley for the Interim AEW World Title at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door.
10-Minute Unlimited Pinfall Scramble for the KOPW 2022 Trophy
Taichi vs. Shingo Takagi (c)
NEVER Openweight Title Match
Karl Anderson vs. Tama Tonga (c)
Vacant IWGP United States Heavyweight Title Match
Will Ospreay vs. Sanada
IWGP World Heavyweight Title Match
Jay White vs. Kazuchika Okada (c)
Stay tuned to WrestlingHeadlines.com for more.