A new report has shed light on the situation surrounding Kota Ibushi’s New Japan Pro Wrestling contract with the possibility of him leaving a very real one.
Kota Ibushi last set foot in an NJPW ring back in the final of the 2021 G1 Climax tournament where he faced off with Kazuchika Okada. That match had to be stopped with Okada declared the winner due to a serious shoulder injury.
Since then the 40-year-old’s relationship with the company has been very publicly strained with Ibushi airing his grievances with NJPW president Takami Ohbari and a talent relations official named Kikuchi. That led to all three men being fined ten percent of their salaries for three months.
Writing in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer has appeared to confirm that Kota Ibushi’s NJPW contract will be coming to an end in early 2023, although nothing has been confirmed as to whether he’ll stay or leave:
“Kota Ibushi has been in light training in the ring of late and thus far the shoulder has held up well so that’s a good sign. His New Japan contract expires at the end of January and he made a tweet hinting at that. There was a lot of bad feelings over the past year but nothing is definite regarding staying or leaving at that point past he brought it up in a cryptic way about being a free agent in two months.”
Ibushi is well known for his relationship with AEW star Kenny Omega with the two men partnering as the Golden Lovers for many years in Japan.