Jon Moxley Had To Vacate New Japan’s IWGP United States Championship After Travel Delays

Jon Moxley was set to return to New Japan Pro Wrestling to defend his U.S. Championship at King of Pro Wrestling on October 14, but nature intervened. After travel delays prevented Moxley from making it to the show, the title was vacated and a new champion was crowned.

Moxley’s scheduled challenger was Juice Robinson, who the AEW star beat for the title at the Best of the Super Junior final in June. After Robinson defeated him in the G1 Climax, earning a shot a Moxley’s title, the former Dean Ambrose suggested an extra stipulation to the defense: make it No DQ.

Moxley vs. Robinson III, now with no disqualifications, had months of storyline buildup but was derailed by real-world events. A couple of hours before the KOPW start time, New Japan announced that Moxley wouldn’t be able to make his scheduled defense due to travel delays caused by Typhoon Hagibis. He had to vacate his title because of a New Japan policy that champions who can’t make scheduled title defenses must relinquish them. (Commentary brought up Togi Makabe losing the NEVER Openweight Championship in 2015 when he had the flu as a recent example of this rule in action.)

The absence of Moxley – and Zack Sabre Jr., who was due to wrestle in a six-man tag on the show – due to travel delays caused some changes to the King of Pro Wrestling card. The most dramatic of these was that Juice Robinson would now wrestle Lance Archer in a match for the vacant IWGP United States Championship. And, spoiler alert, this match didn’t end with Robinson regaining the U.S. title, but with the American Psycho winning it for the first time.

Moxley’s contract with NJPW isn’t up until after Wrestle Kingdom 14, so while he might come back to finish his feud with Robinson, there’s now also a chance he comes back to try and defeat the dreaded EBD Claw. Whatever he ends up doing, though he was stripped of an IWGP title, it’s still safe to expect to see Mox back in New Japan again later this year.