Kota Ibushi last performed in October 2021 for New Japan Pro-Wrestling, losing to Kazuchika Okada in the G1 Climax 31 final at Nippon Budoken in Tokyo. During the inaugural IWGP World Heavyweight Champion’s absence, he caused shock amongst fans in May by criticizing NJPW on social media. This brought into question whether Ibushi would be fired by the promotion’s parent company, Bushiroad. In the end, however, the company apologized to Ibushi — despite issuing him with a fine — for the issues he brought to light and sanctioned an official who he directed a lot of his frustrations towards. With wounds been given time to heal, can we expect to see Ibushi back in a NJPW ring anytime soon?
It sounds like NJPW talent believe that Ibushi is not coming back, according to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter. While nothing is concrete, the Observer did point out that they haven’t heard anything from the Ibushi camp, so cannot say what the future truly holds for him.
It was reported in July that Ibushi was looking to get back into wrestling and mixed martial arts training, with the 40-year-old thinking about opening a dojo in his hometown of Kagoshima. Nevertheless, his attention have been required outside the ring — caring for his mother, who attempted suicide in the midst of the NJPW saga, and focusing on recovering from a shoulder injury that he sustained in the final of the G1 Climax 31. At this time, no further updates have been provided on the status of his mother or his nagging injury.
Ibushi began his career in 2004 and has won a handful of championships in NJPW, which includes being the final IWGP Heavyweight Champion and IWGP Intercontinental Champion before the titles were merged into the current IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
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