It was officially announced two weeks ago that former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Kota Ibushi would be participating in World Wrestling Entertainment’s inaugural Cruiserweight Classic; which will begin airing on the WWE Network July 13. You can click here for the full list of 32 participants.
Before this announcement, along with former TNA World Champion Bobby Roode, Ibushi appeared at ringside during April’s NXT TakeOver: Dallas event. Since then, Roode has officially signed with NXT while Ibushi’s contract status past the Cruiserweight Classic is still not fully known.
According to The Wrestling Observer, Ibushi claims that he still has unfinished business in Japan he wants to take care of and is not ready to sign with WWE. Due to this, The Wrestling Observer is reporting that Ibushi only signed a part-time deal with WWE to participate in the Cruiserweight Classic. However, a full-time deal may not be totally out of the question as once the Cruiserweight Classic is over, a more official deal will likely be made. Also, it seems like Triple H is eager to lock down a deal that will keep Ibushi with WWE on a full-time basis.
Ibushi was recently interviewed by Pro Wrestling Weekly Magazine. This is according to reliable Japanese source Enuhito. During the interview, Ibushi talked about getting signed to WWE (which if we’re taking The Wrestling Observer’s word, is currently only a part-time deal). Ibuhsi reportedly told Pro Wrestling Weekly Magazine that once he left New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and Dramatic Dream Team (DDT) this past February, former NXT Champion Finn Balor reached out to him. Ibushi said that Balor asked him for his approval to give his phone number to head NXT trainer Matt Bloom. Ibushi agreed, and was contacted by WWE who made him an offer that he turned down due to focusing on another project. That other project was launching his Ibushi Wrestling Research Institute.
Ibushi then received a phone call from an unknown number. That unknown number turned out to be Triple H who greeted Ibushi saying “moshi moshi”, which is a common Japanese greeting when answering a phone. They talked for a while and Ibushi said Triple H was very passionate about getting him on board. They apparently hit it off which lead to Ibushi agreeing to Triple H’s offer.
Mark’s reaction: Although The Wrestling Observer is reporting that Triple H’s offer is currently just a part-time deal, it could be a full-time deal for all we know. That seems to be the eventual plan as it sounds like Triple H and WWE are very interested in having Ibushi be a full-time WWE performer. I got the impression that Ibushi wants to be with WWE full-time as well considering his unfinished business in Japan comments. Once he does what he has to there, I think he’ll join WWE full-time.
Picture used above is courtesy of WWE.com.