Former WWE Star Set For Impact Wrestling Debut

Former WWE NXT star KUSHIDA will make his Impact Wrestling debut at next week's "Derby City Rumble" tapings in Louisville, Kentucky. Impact announced Thursday that KUSHIDA will wrestle during both nights of the tapings, which will be held on July 15 and July 16, but did not name an opponent for the veteran wrestler.

Also announced for the tapings, the Motor City Machine Guns will square off in a singles bout, as Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley go toe-to-toe in a rare match.

KUSHIDA returned to NJPW last month at the New Japan Road event in Korakuen Hall. The former IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion would confront Taiji Ishimori, the current champion, after Ishimori's successful defense against Hiromu Takahashi. During their confrontation, Ishimori told KUSHIDA he needed to win a few matches before earning a title shot. In the aftermath of the confrontation, KUSHIDA prevailed victorious in two out of three multi-man matches on Days 6, 7 and 8 of New Japan Road 2022, teaming up with the likes of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jado and Alex Zayne. However, on Day 7 of the event, KUSHIDA & Tanahashi took a loss to  KENTA & Ishimori in a tag match.

KUSHIDA signed a new contract with NJPW last month but continues to live in the United States.

Back in April, KUSHIDA's WWE profile page was moved to the WWE Alumni roster, which led to speculation over his status with the company. It would be later reported by Fightful Select that his WWE contract had expired, and it was unknown if he was offered a new deal. At least one source told Fightful that the exit was related to budget cuts, but that was never confirmed.