Kota Ibushi Returns At Josh Barnett's Bloodsport 9

Kota Ibushi wrestled his first match in nearly 18 months at Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 9

It seems you can’t keep Kota Ibushi down, and despite a last-minute injury worry, the first-ever IWGP World Heavyweight Champion made his return to a wrestling ring for the first time since October 2021 at Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 9.

Ibushi took on ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey at the hybrid wrestling event, hours after reports surfaced claiming Ibushi had re-injured his shoulder. With his return match hanging on by a thread, fans feared the worst for Ibushi, but all fears were alleviated at bell time.

An emotional Ibushi made his entrance to a raucous reaction, with Bailey himself paying his respects to the generational talent. Loud ‘IBUSHI’ chants echoed around the venue, with Ibushi getting the victory with a Regalplex and a Kamigoye Knee in a little under seven minutes.

This was Ibushi’s first match since injuring his shoulder against Kazuchika Okada in the 2021 G1 Climal final. After leaving NJPW in February 2023, Ibushi’s next move has been the subject of much speculation.

Full results - Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 9:

  • Timothy Thatcher def. Josh Barnett
  • Jon Moxley def. Alex Coughlin
  • Johnny Bloodsport def. Royce Isaacs
  • Harry Smith def. JR Kratos
  • Bad Dude Tito def. Yuya Uemura
  • Kota Ibushi def. Mike Bailey
  • Marina Shafir def. Killer Kelly
  • Erik Hammer def. Calvin Tankman
  • Jeff Cobb def. Calder McColl

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Written by Jack Atkins

Scripts, news, and features writer. Anything with words, basically.