A situation between Kota Ibushi and New Japan Pro Wrestling appears to be boiling over after Ibushi unleashed several surprising tweets on Tuesday.
Things began when the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion tweeted early Tuesday morning (late afternoon in Japan), vowing to expose what he described as “Cheaters-gun” and “sexually harassing bosses.” The tweet, in Japanese, was translated by Twitter user @golden_kuma.
“I’ll expose all about the former cheaters-gun (already returned) and the sexually harassing bosses, from the company president’s lies to his unreasonable power harassment this time,” Ibushi tweeted. “Get prepared for this! ToSpo (Tokyo Sports) and TV Asahi too. I don’t care.”
Four hours later, Kota Ibushi posted another tweet, posting a screenshot of a line chat Ibushi had with a New Japan higher up only known as Kikuchi. In the discussion, Kikuchi suggests ending New Japan’s contract with Ibushi, leading to the following exchange.
“If I’m told so from the NJPW side, I can’t complain,” Ibushi said. “I’ll get things settled. It’s fine if you just fire me.”
“I don’t want to do that,” Kikuchi replied. “What happened to you?”
“There’s no reason whatsoever,” said Ibushi. “I have no excuse either and don’t know why but I can’t align with the company’s rules. If this atmosphere is too weird, then it can be quick, so you can cut me with no remorse.”
Responding to a fan a short time later asking about the situation, Kota Ibushi responded by saying “what’s black is black.” In Japan, referring to a company as black suggests they are exploitative.
“As we discussed, it turned out that what’s black is still black,” Ibushi tweeted. “I’m not a robot. Kikuchi stinked since he wanted me to return before Wrestle Kingdom if I was healed up. I endured it though.”
Many will note that Kota Ibushi suffered a significant shoulder injury against Kazuchika Okada in the G1 Climax Final this past summer. As of today, Ibushi has still not wrestled since the G1 and was recently said to be at 80% in his recovery. After that exchange, Ibushi continued in a response to another fan.
“You know what is going on behind the scenes if you’ve been in the business for no less than 18 years,” Ibushi said. “I don’t think it is a negative thing, I take it rather positively. I’m very very calm. Thanks for your concern.”
Finally, Kota Ibushi would post one more tweet, another line chat between him and Kikuchi, where the two argued over an unnamed appearance.
“Don’t you think it’s wrong to make an appearance (without permission)?” Kikuchi asked. “Maybe we should talk in the office.”
“You came at me to end the contract so I thought that was it,” responded Ibushi. “I’d accept it. I don’t think it changes if we talked.”
“It looks like you can’t have that conversation, so you cause problems and make it the other guys’ fault in order to leave the company,” Kikuchi stated. “I mean, you do have extra reasons or issues other than that, don’t you?”
“Nothing at all!” Ibushi responded.
“Because if you think you’ve done nothing wrong, and if suddenly a LINE message about ending your contract comes, wouldn’t you ask ‘did I do anything wrong?’” Kikuchi asked.
“I didn’t,” Ibushi responded. “I didn’t think it was a problem so sorry about that. I’ll talk to the higher-ups.”
It should be noted that no date is given for the conversations between Ibushi and Kikuchi, so it is unclear when exactly they took place. While several Japanese wrestlers, including Shuji Ishikawa of All Japan-Pro Wrestling, Yukio Sakaguchi of DDT, and Great O’Khan of New Japan have commented or alluded to Kota Ibushi’s tweets, it doesn’t appear anyone from New Japan has commented on the situation at this time.
Another Twitter user, @thefeelite, provided more potential information regarding the situation in a long Twitter thread Tuesday afternoon, hinting that the issues between New Japan and Ibushi have long been simmering. The Twitter user notes that Kota Ibushi was announced for the New Japan Cup in March this past February, only to later be removed after a conversation between Ibushi and New Japan.
In subsequent tweets, Ibushi alluded to wanting to say something regarding an unknown situation, before deciding not to.
The thread goes on to point out that Ibushi appeared at a JTO (Just Tap Out) event on March 5; JTO is run by former WWE star and current New Japan talent TAKA Michinoku. It’s possible but unclear, this is the event Kikuchi was referring to Ibushi appearing at in their line chat. It was also noted there was some speculation at the time New Japan was upset with Ibushi over the appearance, and Ibushi would note on Twitter on March 5 his disappointment towards how a certain promotion was run.
After noting interesting responses to tweets from both O’Khan and New Japan star Taichi over the next several weeks, there was an April 2 tweet from Ibushi, who talks about feeling new excitement after attending a kickboxing event before stating how wrestling needs that. This would lead to an interaction between Ibushi and TAKA, where Ibushi would allude to a cheating scandal involving TAKA years ago.
The thread notes Ibushi tweeted days later about cutting someone out of his life, and that he recorded his usual New Japan podcast on April 14, which went normal.
Kota Ibushi signed a three-year deal with New Japan in 2019, indicating his contract is up sometime this year. He is well known for being the long-time tag team partner and close friend of AEW star Kenny Omega; it’s unclear if Ibushi would join AEW if he left New Japan, or how this would impact the ongoing AEW/NJPW working relationship.
The two promotions are holding the supershow, Forbidden Door, on June 26 from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
You can read Kota Ibushi’s tweets, as translated by @golden_kuma, below.
Source: Wrestling Inc.