Backstage News On Kota Ibushi's NJPW Exit & Future

Just as Fandango's life on the free agent market has come to an end, Kota Ibushi has slid in to take his place. The former New Japan star is officially on the market, and it's already been revealed that he'll be appearing at Bloodsport and Joey Janela's Spring Break, as part of GCW's The Collective, this WrestleMania weekend. But what else can fans expect from the newly-christened free agent?

Fightful Select is reporting that, in addition to GCW, there is major interest from multiple companies in Ibushi. That interest extends to a potential full-time deal for the former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion or even one-off appearances. The latter may be closer to what Ibushi wants, as contacts in major companies believe Ibushi would most likely prefer to work as a freelancer, something he did before signing with New Japan in 2019. Those close to Ibushi echo those thoughts, though Ibushi himself hasn't confirmed that. 

As for Ibushi's relationship with New Japan, it was noted that the falling out between the two sides was because the promotion wanted Ibushi to wrestle while dealing with both his injured shoulder, which he hurt in the G1 Climax 31 Final and an undisclosed private matter. In the past, Ibushi had publicly commented on issues with New Japan higher-ups, including one that was later publicly reprimanded by New Japan for his treatment of Ibushi. It was recently reported that said official has since "quietly left" New Japan.

Regarding his GCW appearances, it was reported that a deal between Ibushi and GCW had been in the works since earlier this month. It was also confirmed that Ibushi's match at Joey Janela's Spring Break will be against Janela himself, in what was described as a "big main event" for the show.