Backstage News On Kota Ibushi's Recovery And NJPW Contract

Given that 2022 has seen one major wrestling story after another breaking everything everywhere, you're forgiven for the saga of Kota Ibushi and New Japan Pro-Wrestling slipping through the cracks. Ibushi hasn't wrestled for the promotion in over a year, as he recovers from a shoulder injury. But it is the injury, NJPW's handling of it, and a dispute between Ibushi and NJPW officials that have led to serious questions about the former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion's future with the promotion.


There are, however, promising signs for Ibushi's recovery. Ibushi has begun light training in preparation for an in-ring return, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. And though it's too early to tell, it was noted that Ibushi's shoulder, which was injured in the 2021 G1 Climax Finals against Kazuchika Okada, has held up during the training — a good sign for his eventual return.

As for that being with New Japan, Ibushi's contract runs through the end of January, and, with all the issues above between the two parties, it's up in the air as to whether Ibushi would even be open to re-signing with NJPW, or if the two sides will indeed part ways, as has been expected for many months.

Many will recall that Ibushi has a number of connections with AEW, most notably Kenny Omega, who has served as both Ibushi's occasional rival and long-time tag partner; the duo wrestled as the Golden Lovers for many years. Ibushi himself has expressed interest in wrestling in AEW one day, telling a fan earlier in 2022 that he would love the opportunity to step into the ring with former AEW World Champion "Hangman" Adam Page.