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New Japan Pro-Wrestling has confirmed the departure of Kota Ibushi.
“With the conclusion of his contract period on January 31, 2023, Kota Ibushi has departed New Japan Pro-Wrestling,” NJPW announced on Tuesday. “Ibushi had been recovering from injury since October 2021.”
The statement added, “We (apologize) to Ibushi’s fans for the abrupt announcement, and join them in wishing Ibushi the very best in all his future endeavors.”
NJPW’s statement comes after news broke of Ibushi’s in-ring return at Bloodsport and Joey Janela’s Spring Break, as part of GCW’s The Collective. The events during WrestleMania 39 weekend will mark Ibushi’s return to the squared circle for the first time since the G1 Climax 31 tournament when he dislocated his right shoulder in the final against Kazuchika Okada.
In the aftermath of Ibushi’s injury, the 40-year-old veteran wrestler went public with claims that he was being pressured into returning early from his injury by NJPW, and that he had to endure “sexually harassing bosses” and “unreasonable power harassment” during his many years in NJPW. Subsequently, NJPW addressed Ibushi’s concerns via a statement and penalized Ibushi and two NJPW officials with a ten percent pay reduction for three months. Earlier this year, The Wrestling Observer reported that Yuichi Kikuchi, the NJPW official who allegedly pressured Ibushi into returning early from injury, was “quietly moved” to another promotion due to his falling out with the star wrestler. At the time, there was speculation that Ibushi and NJPW had worked through their differences, and that it was a matter of time until the inaugural IWGP World Heavyweight Champion would return to an NJPW ring.
As reported earlier by Fightful Select, “multiple companies” are lining up for the services of free agent Ibushi.
- NJPW Issues Statement On Kota Ibushi’s Exit From The Company
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