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Kushida reportedly returning to New Japan following WWE exit

njpw1972.com

While confirming last night’s report that Kushida has left WWE, Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer discussed what happened, and what’s next for the 38 year old:

“He is done. His contract expired, it was not a secret that he wasn’t going to stay. I know in WWE the belief is that he starts with New Japan in June. That’s what they believe and it’s probably the case.”

Even for the black-and-gold era, there were questions about Kushida’s WWE prospects. But he’d accomplished everything a cruiserweight/junior heavyweight could in New Japan — six-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion, 2015 & 2017 Best of the Super Juniors & 2016 Super J-Cup winner, and two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag champ with his Time Splitters partner Alex Shelley as the Time Splitters, with whom he also won the Super Junior Tag Tournament in 2012.

He took his shot at working for the biggest company in the world, and hit the same ceiling. Kushida was the NXT Cruiserweight champ when the 2.0 rebrand happened. Since then, the belt’s been retired, and now Kushida’s the latest former titleholder to leave WWE. Looks like he’s headed back to NJPW, where he’ll almost certainly return to the junior heavyweight ranks.

But at least that division still exists.