According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Kota Ibushi has signed an exclusive, multi-year contract with New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
Ibushi returned to the promotion on Monday’s New Beginning in Osaka event, for the first time since suffering a concussion during the incredible match with Will Ospreay at Wrestle Kingdom 13. He announced that he would be competing in the upcoming New Japan Cup and that he had no plans on leaving NJPW, which garnered a huge reaction from the live audience at the Edion Arena.
This comes as a big surprise, as just last week Kenny Omega did an in-depth interview with Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio where he said fans could expect Ibushi in All Elite Wrestling in the “near future”, although he did clarify that Ibushi would not be working Double or Nothing.
This is also somewhat surprising because, up until now, Ibushi has been working for NJPW on a per-appearance basis ever since returning for the 2017 G1 Climax.
It’s not a lock that he won’t be able to work dates for All Elite Wrestling in the future, but that will come down to whether or not the two promotions can come to an agreement to work together. The situation is different for Kenny Omega, it is assumed, because Omega had it written into his AEW contract that he could accept any dates he wanted with NJPW without going through the company.