wrestling / News

NJPW Says Kota Ibushi Is Still Under Contract, Addresses His Recent Complaints

May 27, 2022 | Posted by Joseph Lee
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 Kota Ibushi

As previously reported, Kota Ibushi has been very vocal about his issues with NJPW, even going as far as to accuse them of sexual harassment and dealing with the Yakuza. In a press conference, New Japan President Takami Obari spoke about the situation, claiming that Ibushi breached his contract at one point.

He said (via Fightful): “I would now like to take a moment to explain the series of events that led up to the aforementioned posts to the extent of our current understanding. Kota Ibushi is a wrestler exclusively contracted to New Japan Pro-Wrestling. As such, it is understood that in order to devote full attention to NJPW matches and associated events, he is required to inform, and receive express permission from NJPW before outside appearances. On March 4, in breach of the terms of his contract, Mr. Ibushi made an appearance seconding wrestlers at a Just Tap Out event. The aforementioned Official is responsible for contacting various wrestlers contracted to New Japan Pro-Wrestling, but also has a long personal history with Mr. Ibushi that extends far before him becoming an exclusively contracted talent. The Official contacted Mr. Ibushi in the belief that Mr, Ibushi’s actions in breach of his contract were taken deliberately to persuade NJPW to terminate its agreement with him. Perceiving this as a betrayal of personal trust established over a number of years. His messages were sent in an emotional state as a result.

After receiving Mr. Ibushi’s explanation, I reprimanded him, reminding him that this was a breach of his contract with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, as well as a breach of licensing agreements we hold with other companies. Mr. Ibushi sincerely apologized for his actions. Mr. Ibushi’s penalty for his breach was limited to a reprimand as, on hearing with Mr. Ibushi, it was clear there was no intention to breach the terms of his contract, nor did he believe a breach had taken place because he had not participated in a match.

As a result, there has been no formal announcement from the company on this matter until this time. However yesterday, myself and the company owner Mr. Takaaki Kidani were able to meet with Mr. Ibushi, and discuss this statement to you here as well as our opinions on the matter. Before proceeding I would like once again to sincerely apologize to fans for the concern caused by this series of events. However, the words of the Official in his text conversation were inexcusable, especially in their direction to a wrestler who risks his life in order to fulfil his role as a professional. It is this mindset that directly led to Mr. Ibushi posting his critical tweets about the company. For the thoughtless content of these messages, we fully and unreservedly apologize to Mr. Ibushi. Despite the Official’s lengthy relationship with Mr. Ibushi, the lack of consideration shown to him and by extension our wrestlers at large should also be met with an appropriate penalty.”

Representative director of Bushiroad Takaaki Kidani added: “First let me express my sincerest personal gratitude to Kota Ibushi for his contributions to New Japan Pro-Wrestling and his thrilling matches in the ring. It is my sincerest hope that he continues to be connected to NJPW moving forward. However, his utmost priority at this time must be to the care of his mother, as well as full recovery from his injury. It should go without saying that he will remain under contract for as long as that process takes.

New Japan also released a statement on the situation. It reads: “Kota Ibushi is, and will remain a key member of the New Japan Pro-Wrestling roster. This kind of severe disagreement between company and talent should not happen again; in order to prevent any such instances in the future, and ensure the best possible working environment for talent, we will be actively engaged in discussion with Mr. Ibushi about improving company policy and implementing proper procedure. We again would like to apologize to fans, wrestlers and personnel for the concern and the disruption caused in the middle of the Best of the Super Jr. tour.

However the story doesn’t end there. Ibushi himself watched the press conference and took to Twitter to comment on it.

He wrote (translation via golden_kuma): “Don’t leave out the part you don’t want to talk about, the true story from May 8th. I’ll address in detail. My mother sensing my concern, asked me if there are any problems on May 8th. As a result of the story that I told her, on May 9th, she attempted suicide and broke her hip bone. That was 95% of my tweet. Why did you leave it out? I told you yesterday that I would address if it (their explanation on the press conference) was not correct.

NJPW says they held a ‘countermeasure meeting including legal personnel’ to discuss Ibushi’s tweets and his mother attempting suicide.

article topics :

Kota Ibushi, NJPW, Joseph Lee