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NJPW strips Juice Robinson of IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship

A new champion will be crowned at Dominion on Sunday.

NJPW has stripped Juice Robinson of the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship, and a new title holder will be decided Sunday at Dominion. 

NJPW announced on Friday night that Robinson was not coming to Japan to defend the US title as scheduled on Sunday, he would be stripped, and the scheduled Robinson vs. SANADA vs. Will Ospreay three-way at Dominion will now be a SANADA vs. Ospreay singles match, with the winner crowned the new United States Champion. 

NJPW stated that Robinson "reneged on [his] agreement" to defend the title in Osaka on Sunday. Their statement reads:

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.

As a result of the championship vacancy, the previously scheduled IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship three way is now a singles match that will determine a new champion.

The card change is as follows:

9th Match- IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship Three Way

Juice Robinson vs SANADA vs Will Ospreay ->

9th Match- IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship

SANADA vs Will Ospreay

New Japan Pro-Wrestling apologises to fans who were looking forward to seeing Juice wrestle, as well as for the confusion and inconvenience caused. 

With Robinson not making public statements outside of kayfabe promos, it remains unclear how much of this matter is storyline and how much is legitimate.

Robinson missed an NJPW June 3 event where he was scheduled for a non-title match against Tomoaki Honma. It was announced at that show that Robinson was suffering from appendicitis. The manner in which that announcement was made indicated that Robinson's ailment was legitimate. 

On Thursday, Robinson released an in-character promo via NJPW claiming that he would not be at Dominion due to still suffering from appendicitis, but was still advertised for the event for another 24 hours, indicating that perhaps the ailment was storyline.

To further muddy the waters, Robinson appeared on the April 13 Wrestling Observer Live and indicated that his NJPW career had come to an end after his contract had expired. He then returned to the company at Wrestling Dontaku on May 1 and turned heel, joining Bullet Club. That would indicate that his Observer Live appearance was in-character. 

Robinson went on to win the IWGP United States title at Capital Collision in Washington DC on May 14. 

Here is the updated card for Dominion: 

NJPW Dominion, Sunday, June 12, 1 a.m. Eastern time on NJPW World --

  • IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Jay White
  • IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay vs. SANADA
  • NEVER Openweight Championship: Tama Tonga (c) vs. Karl Anderson
  • KOPW 2022: Shingo Takagi (c) vs. Taichi
  • AEW interim World Championship eliminator match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto
  • IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens (c) vs. Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb
  • NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship: EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi & SHO vs. Zack Sabre Jr., El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
  • Toru Yano vs. Doc Gallows
  • Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI vs. Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo & Ace Austin
  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs. Aaron Henare, TJP & Francesco Akira