In a two-month span loaded with major story after major story, it’s easy to forget about the saga between Kota Ibushi and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Ibushi spent much of May publicly criticizing the promotion, where he’s worked as both a freelancer and as a contracted wrestler for the past five years, for a variety of reasons, so much so that his future with NJPW was called into question. Those questions didn’t go anywhere after NJPW publicly apologized to Ibushi and sanctioned an official he had issues with back in early June.
Since then, things have been quiet regarding Ibushi’s status with NJPW and his feelings towards the promotion — until today. In the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer provided some good news on the Ibushi-NJPW situation, with sources close to both parties stating that the gulf between the two sides has narrowed over the last month. Meltzer also noted that Ibushi is looking to get back into both wrestling training and martial arts training, and is interested in starting a dojo in his hometown of Kagoshima.
There are some obstacles to be overcome before Ibushi can get back into the ring, however. Meltzer reports that Ibushi’s main priority at the moment is caring for his mother, who fans may recall attempted suicide during the height of Ibushi’s issues with New Japan. What happened to his mother was thought to have ended any potential for reconciliation between Ibushi and NJPW for good, especially after Ibushi addressed the situation on social media.
The other hold-up is an injury to Ibushi’s shoulder, which he suffered during the G1 Climax 31 final against Kazuchika Okada. Meltzer noted that Ibushi had tweeted earlier in the week, revealing his injury wasn’t healing and was getting worse. This will likely require Ibushi to get surgery, something he was hoping to avoid in favor of healing his shoulder with rest, setting his timetable back even further. In the same series of tweets, Ibushi also stated his issues with NJPW were not settled.
With Ibushi’s return nowhere in sight, NJPW will nevertheless move forward with the 32nd edition of the G1 Climax. The tournament will kick off tomorrow in Toyohira-ku, Sapporo.
Source: Wrestling Inc.