wrestling / News

UPDATED: NJPW Confirms Kota Ibushi’s Contract Expiration

January 31, 2023 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Kota Ibushi NJPW G1 Climax Image Credit: NJPW

UPDATED: NJPW has confirmed that Kota Ibushi is now a free agent. The company announced Ibushi’s departure, writing in a press release:

Kota Ibushi leaves New Japan Pro-Wrestling
With the conclusion of his contract period on January 31 2023, Kota Ibushi has departed New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Ibushi had been recovering from injury since October 2021.

We apologise to Ibushi’s fans for the abrupt announcement, and join them in wishing Ibushi the very best in all his future endeavours.

ORIGINAL: Kota Ibushi’s NJPW contract is complete, and he is now a free agent according to a new report. It was announced today that Ibushi is set to compete for several GCW shows at The Collective over WrestleMania weekend, and Fightful Select has confirmed that Ibushi’s contract with NJPW expired at midnight Tokyo time.

Ibushi was out of action for much of the past year due to injuries, and had some well-publicized issues with NJPW after he revealed that talent relations member Kikuchi had threatened to end his NJPW conttract over an unapproved appearance in March, while also alleging that several bosses in the company have been involved in sexual harassment as well as dealing with the Yakuza. The issues calmed down after NJPW stepped in and issued penalties to Kikuchi, NJPW president Takami Ohbari, and Ibushi over their actions in the whole situation.

Fightful notes that there is “major interest” from a number of companies for everything from full-time deals to one-off appearances. Contacts in every major compeny believe that Ibushi will want to remain a free agent and sources close to the star said he was happy doing that before he signed with NJPW, which was apparently a “live and learn” experience. Ibushi himself has not confirmed such, though.

The report also cites an unspecified “significant private matter” that Ibushi was dealing with which did not help his relationship with NJPW, who wanted him to work through the situation.

article topics :

Kota Ibushi, Jeremy Thomas