Kota Ibushi's NJPW Contract Expires, Set To Make GCW Debut

Kota Ibushi reportedly done with NJPW

According to Dark Puroresu Flowsion, Kota Ibushi is officially a free agent after his contract with New Japan Pro-Wrestling expired at midnight JST on February 1. 

Ibushi performed for NJPW over multiple runs from 2004, eventually signing with the promotion in early 2019. He then established himself as one of New Japan's top stars, becoming the inaugural IWGP World Heavyweight Champion in 2021 after he merged the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental titles. 

Ibushi has been out of action since October 2021, having suffered a serious shoulder injury due to a botched Phoenix Splash in the G1 Climax 31 final. There were then personal issues between Ibushi and NJPW in 2022 that were later mostly resolved, and Ibushi has since noted that his shoulder is 90% healed. 

While October 2021 appears to have been his final NJPW match, Ibushi will return to the squared circle later this year.

The minute his New Japan contract expired, Game Changer Wrestling announced The Golden Star would be in action at their WrestleMania 39 weekend shows. Ibushi is set to make his GCW debut at Josh Barnett's Bloodsport on March 30 before competing at Joey Janela's Spring Break on March 31.

Dark Puroresu Flowsion further noted that Ibushi has received interest from all major promotions but he is looking to work as a freelancer. 

"What I have gathered talking with Kota Ibushi multiple times. Is that their is high interest from all major promotions. His preference is to work for every promotion he can more as a freelancer than a fully contracted wrestler. Expect a more brutal & grounded style from him," they tweeted.

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Editor-in-Chief of Cultaholic.com Twitter: @theaidangibbons