Kota Ibushi is officially a free agent.
The Golden Star left New Japan Pro Wrestling after his contract expired on January 31, 2023. NJPW confirmed that Ibushi was no longer under contract in a statement. The company noted that had been recovering from injury since October 2021.
Read the full statement from the promotion below.
With the conclusion of his contract period on January 31 2023, Kota Ibushi has departed New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Ibushi had been recovering from injury since October 2021.
We apologise to Ibushi’s fans for the abrupt announcement, and join them in wishing Ibushi the very best in all his future endeavours.
Kota Ibushi first showed up in NJPW in 2009, when he participated in the Best of the Super Juniors Tournament. He would capture the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship on three different occasions before moving to the heavyweight division in 2014. Ibusi left NJPW before returning to the company full-time in 2016.
The Golden Star would feud with top stars including Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, and Will Ospreay following his return. Ibushi would also win the grueling G1 Climax in 2019 and 2020. Ibushi pinned Tetsuya Naito in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 15 to win the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships.
NJPW unified the two titles at their 49th anniversary show to create the new IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, making Ibushi the inaugural champion in company history.
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