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Kota Ibushi’s return to wrestling is booked for WrestleMania week

Photo by Itsu Hara/Getty Images

Kota Ibushi suffered a shoulder injury while facing Kazuchika Okada in the finals of New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax 31. He has not wrestled since the October 2021 match, and during his absence got into a nasty public fight with NJPW over his availability and other issues he had with management.

Recent reports indicate that former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Ibushi was one of Japan’s newest stars whose contracts expired at the end of January. This announcement of his first booking in over a year seems to confirm that.

There was a lot of speculation that Ibushi might reunite with his Golden Lovers partner Kenny Omega in AEW. This may happen in the future, but Kota’s return will not be on a show reserved for Tony Khan. Instead, it will be for Game Changer Wrestling.

The competitors for Ibushi’s two matches during the annual WrestleMania week event, The Collective, have yet to be announced. However, they will showcase both sides of his wrestling personality.

Bloodsport Josh Barnett They are mixed martial arts shows, where there are no ropes around the ring and victory comes only by knockout or submission. It’s a perfect place for Ibushi to show off his karate background, and the powerhouse style of action New Japan is known for. Spring Break by Joey Janela, on the other hand, celebrates the comedic aspects of professional wrestling (such as the main event featured “Clusterfuck”, a battle royal known for its comedy spots). Here Kouta can show off the skills he has honed in DDT, the most popular sports entertainment show among Japan’s major promotions.

It should be a great re-introduction, in front of an audience of die-hard wrestling fans living in Los Angeles, and on screens all over the world.

What’s next for the 40-year-old Ibushi next? Stay tuned.

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