Kota Ibushi Reveals Why He Chose NJPW Over AEW

Earlier this month at NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka, Kota Ibushi announced he would be staying exclusively with the promotion until 2021. Although he appeared regularly for NJPW over the last couple years, Ibushi was still very much a freelance wrestler, until now.

Ibushi will also be participating in this year's New Japan Cup, starting on March 8 with the winner getting IWGP Heavyweight Champion Jay White at ROH / NJPW G1 Supercard on April 6 at Madison Square Garden.

In regards to his contract, AEW had obvious interest in the Japanese Superstar, but in an interview with ShuPro (translated by NJPW Announcer, Chris Charlton), Ibushi spoke about the factors that kept him out of AEW.

"The second I went, that would be the end of my wrestling career, I thought," Ibushi began. "What I realized [talking to AEW] was I really don't care about money. ... AEW said they just want me in their ring in some form. The ideal for them was for me to move to America and be there full-time. I turned them down just after Wrestle Kingdom. ... If I went it would be the end of my career. There wouldn't be anywhere else to go after that. No step up, nothing left to do. That would be the last step to make, and after that things would just go down. Great money, but I want to keep developing."

Getting back to NJPW, Ibushi noted he still feels the best place to change the world is in NJPW where his top three desired opponents, Jay White, Kazuchika Okada, and Shingo Takagi reside. Ibushi also said NJPW would be where he ends his wrestling career.

"Kenny [Omega] wants to change the world with wrestling. I think to change the world with wrestling, New Japan is the best place to do that," Ibushi said. "That's where he and I differ. I can do all that here. [Of] all the places I've been, NJPW is the highest level. I really wanted to lay my cards out and shut down the 'What about Ibushi?' talk. Osaka was that chance. The Ibushi institute is on hold, I'm exclusive [to NJPW]. ... This is the last decision I will make in my career. I'll end my wrestling career in NJPW."