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Kota Ibushi won’t be returning to the ring for New Japan Cup

NJPW World

There were a few exciting things about New Japan’s upcoming 50th Anniversary event and subsequent largest-ever New Japan Cup tournament. One of them was the return of The Golden Star, former IWGP World Heavyweight champ & two-time G1 Climax winner Kota Ibushi.

Ibushi’s been sidelined since the finals of the 2021 G1 last fall, when he separated his shoulder while facing current IWGP World Heavyweight titleholder Kazuchika Okada. The 39 year old had only recently returned for New Japan’s iconic tournament after missing time in the summer due to a bout of aspirational pneumonia. His being listed for a tag match on the Mar. 1 and in the 48 man field for the Cup was another sign NJPW was getting back to full-strength overall.

Unfortunately, the company announced today (Feb. 28) Ibushi needs more time to rehab his injury, and won’t be a part of either event. It was also revealed that Hiroyoshi Tenzan is being pulled from 50th Anniversary and the New Japan Cup.

Kota Ibushi has been diligently preparing for a scheduled return on March 1 at the Nippon Budokan. However, after careful consultation with trainers, medical staff and the NJPW medical committee, and based on the results of a final medical evaluation, the difficult decision has been made to delay Ibushi’s return, and remove him from Wednesday’s Anniversary card. The following change has been made to the event.

4th match

Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Kota Ibushi vs Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb, Great-O-Khan & Aaron Henare ->

Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima, Yuto Nakashima & Kosei Fujita vs Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb, Great-O-Khan & Aaron Henare

Furthermore, after concerns around Ibushi’s condition across several potential singles matches in the New Japan Cup tournament, the decision has been made for him to withdraw. His first round match against Great-O-Khan on March 6 will be considered forfeit, and O-Khan will advance to March 12 in Aichi where he will face Taiji Ishimori.

Additionally, Hiroyoshi Tenzan is still recovering from a knee injury, and will not be taking part in the New Japan Cup. His second round match against the winner of Taichi and Toru Yano on March 9 in Korakuen will be considered forfeit, and either Yano or Taichi will advance to the third round March 16 in Aichi.

Get well soon, sirs.