Former WWE star Taka Michinoku has discussed Kota Ibushi’s actions that led to the huge problems that ultimately ended with him leaving NJPW.
Kota Ibushi’s time with New Japan Pro Wrestling came to an end at the end of January 2023, following an acrimonious spell between the two camps. The former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion has not competed in the ring since the G1 Climax final in October 2021 that had to be stopped when Ibushi suffered a bad injury, allowing Kazuchika Okada to pick up the win.
Problems then became public between Ibushi and NJPW’s office with accusations being thrown both ways but New Japan was said to be very unhappy that Ibushi appeared live at a JTO event promoted by Taka Michinoku.
Michinoku has posted his side of the story now that Kota Ibushi is a free agent with a translation of events provided by Super J Cast, in which the former Suzuki-gun member claims he had no idea Ibushi was going to appear and tried to stop him:
“And last March JUST TAP OUT Korakuen Tournament. An unexpected event happened here.
“Unusually, I got a message from Ibushi, “What are you doing?” I gave him the usual invite, “Are you coming to Korakuen today?” His reply was “I wonder if I’ll see professional wrestling after a long time!” I thought that as usual, he wouldn’t come.
“But Ibushi really came! It was the first time I saw Ibushi in a long time and he was very healthy and talked a lot. I wonder if he wanted to vent his pent up issues. We talked so much. But I had a match in the first match of the show. The show was the JTO Tournament, a 1-day tournament In order to win the tournament, you have to win three matches in a day. Ibushi kept talking until my match was about to begin.
“Well, my match is next, so see you later!” I said. Ibushi stood up with a grin. “bushi! I think you know, but you definitely can’t come out! Even so, Ibushi followed me to the entrance. I told him again, “You! Don’t you follow me!!” Ibushi kept grinning.
“Well, I thought he wouldn’t follow me. Then my song started playing and I made my entrance. Ibushi came out following behind me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!? What was he doing!? But I couldn’t stop or turn back, so I entered and wrestled my match as usual. For the fans, it was nothing? It might sound like an excuse but because I wrestled like this, I lost in the first round…
“I went back to the locker room and whispered, “Why did you come out!!?” But Ibushi said, “It’s okay! See you later!” Then he left. In this day and age, information circulates quickly. I was contacted by concerned parties within an hour. I thought “Oh, I’m f*cked.” I’m not signed with New Japan Pro-Wrestling but I was in a position where I’d be screwed if I caused a problem.
“I’d been brought back for the first time in two years, but I thought I was back out the door in just a few months. From that day, I was contacted by various people for a while and explained the facts. Are you coming to Korakuen? said. But I couldn’t even expect him to follow me out. I should have predicted that this could happen with Ibushi. I don’t know for sure, but there may have been some things going on with him during that long absence.
“In any case, I gave him the opportunity to do what he did. I’m really sorry about that. It just didn’t end with this. Ibushi started raging on LINE as if this was the beginning of his meltdown. The stuff he said on there was so shocking that it can’t be shared in public.”
“And in the end, he set his sights on me. “You’ll be finished too.” After that I sent him several messages on LINE but they were never marked read so I guess he blocked me. At the same time, he also stopped following me on Twitter. After that, I didn’t have any interaction with him. This is all the interaction with Ibushi that I was involved in.”