Japanese star Kota Ibushi made his long-anticipated AEW debut when he joined his Golden Lovers tag partner Kenny Omega on The Elite’s team for Blood & Guts on the July 19, 2023 edition of Dynamite.
Since then, he’s wrestled two PPV Trios matches for the company, and the door’s certainly seemed open for more AEW appearances.
We probably shouldn’t expect a “Kota Ibushi is All Elite” post on X any time soon, however. The Golden Star explained there were several conditions AEW had to make before he’d agree to the deal (it sounds like his Blood & Guts booking was done without a written contract):
“But during the discussion, they asked me how we could come to a deal. I said unless it has this and this and this, unless it has these conditions, I don’t want to sign a contract. I said if we’re just going to sign a contract, let’s do it today. That was the hardcore match, double ring, cage [Blood & Guts], on that day.
“That’s the day we signed the contract. We had a verbal agreement. It has to be this way for me. I’m based in Japan, and I will travel for the matches. Basically, I’m in Japan, I work in Japan. I will be active. I’ll be free to do that do.
There are other things that make the contract even more flexible. Like if I could appear for another promotion. That kind of thing is normal, like can I compete in another match? We talked about all those kinds of details. I still got the OK. Tell us anything you want. We’ll listen to whatever you say. Reduce the number of matches a little bit more. Because if I go too many times, my activities in Japan will be limited, so reduce the number of matches a little bit more.
“When I said that, that is OK too. It’s the best deal.”
He later replied to coverage of the story, clarifying that while he may have the flexibility to wrestle in Japan and elsewhere, that’s not his focus:
Even if it's not full time, my life is dedicated to AEW. I don't play matches in Japan, I'm here to attend gym and school. That's why pro wrestling is all about AEW.— 飯伏 幸太 (@ibushi_kota) October 13, 2023
It does sound like a good deal for Ibushi. Now we’ll wait to see when the next of those reduced dates in AEW is.