Kota Ibushi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan Pulled From NJPW New Japan Cup
No Ibushi return just yet
New Japan Pro-Wrestling's 50th Anniversary show and upcoming New Japan Cup tournament were too early for Kota Ibushi to return.
The inaugural IWGP World Heavyweight Champion has been out of action since the G1 Climax 31 Final when he suffered a right anterior dislocation of the shoulder and joint lip damage following a botched Phoenix Splash.
NJPW initially only expected Ibushi to be out of action for two months and while that initial deadline of late December has passed, the promotion announced Ibushi would be back for the March 1st 50th Anniversary show and the New Japan Cup.
New Japan have since announced, though, that following a final medical evaluation, Ibushi's return has been postponed. His 50th Anniversary show match has been changed and his first-round New Japan Cup match against Great-O-Khan is considered forfeit. O-Khan will advance to the second round to face Taiji Ishimori.
Furthermore, Hiroyoshi Tenzan has been pulled from the anniversary show and the New Japan Cup as he is still recovering from a knee injury. The four-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion has been absent from all NJPW shows since February 15.
As a result, Tenzan's second-round New Japan Cup match is considered forfeit and the winner of Taichi vs. Toru Yano will advance to the third round.
Tenzan and Ibushi were scheduled to team together with Satoshi Kojima and Yuji Nagata against The United Empire at the 50th Anniversary Show. Kojima and Nagata will now team with young lions Yuto Nakashima and Kosei Fujita against Will Ospreay's faction.
The New Japan Cup will get underway on March 2 and last until the final on March 27. 48 competitors will take part in the upcoming tournament.