NJPW Official 'Quietly Moved' To Another Promotion After Kota Ibushi Dispute

Following an extremely public falling out with Kota Ibushi last summer, official Yuichi Kikuchi has subtly been transferred from his role in New Japan Pro-Wrestling to a new position with Pro Wrestling NOAH, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Kikuchi was formerly the right-hand man for Gedo when it came to NJPW's booking. Ibushi — the promotion's inaugural IWGP World Heavyweight Champion – publicly accused the assistant last summer of having threatened to end his NJPW contract over an unapproved outside appearance. Things escalated even further when Ibushi shared screenshots of arguments he had with Kikuchi over the issue while accusing NJPW officials of sexual harassment. Ibushi later gave an emotional update and said the fallout with NJPW ultimately led his mother to attempt suicide, blaming Kikuchi and company president Takami Ohbari for pushing his family to the brink. The controversy led NJPW to hold a press conference, announcing Ibushi, Kikuchi, and Ohbari would all be penalized with a 10% pay reduction for three months. 

Ibushi has not wrestled a match since being sidelined with a shoulder injury in the finals of the 2021 G1 Climax tournament. His NJPW deal is set to expire at the end of the month, and the Japanese star recently addressed rumblings that AEW was interested in signing him. "My plan for the future is to have my own promotion and do a lot of volunteering. There are really big offers from AEW and all over the world, but I would like to make a contribution, rather than visiting nursing homes and so on."