Former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and NXT Cruiserweight Champion, KUSHIDA, has returned to New Japan Pro Wrestling
Last night, New Japan Pro Wrestling aired a show called New Japan Road. The event featured a title match for the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Tag Team Championships between the defending champions, Master Wato and Ryusuke Taguchi, and the challengers Francesco Akira and TJP.
The main event saw the 2022 Best of Super Juniors tournament winner, Hiromu Takahashi, challenge the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Taiji Ishimori. Unfortunately for Hiromu, championship gold eluded him this time around. After the match, a new yet familiar opponent came out to confront the champion.
KUSHIDA Comes Home
It’s been over 3 years since KUSHIDA competed in an NJPW ring. During his previous tenure, he came one of the most decorated junior heavyweights in company history: he’s a 6-time IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion, a 2-time IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion (alongside Alex Shelley) and a 2-time winner of the BOSJ tournament.
The Time Splitter’s Future
KUSHIDA announced to the NJPW faithful that he wasn’t just back in New Japan, but he is there to stay. He told the fans that he just signed a contract to spend the rest of his wrestling career in NJPW.
During a backstage interview, KUSHIDA elaborated further, saying:
I literally just signed my NJPW contract. Right now I’m still living in Orlando, Florida, but I’ll be moving to Los Angeles to make it easier to travel back and forth between there and Japan. I want to use the benefit of my experience and put the rest of my efforts and pro-wrestling life into furthering NJPW around the world.
KUSHIDA’s decision to stay in America could make him a great envoy for NJPW’s rival competitors whenever they choose to open the infamous forbidden door. However, only time will tell if KUSHIDA will be able to conquer the junior division as he did in the past.
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