Kota Ibushi was the favourite to win the Cruiserweight Classic tournament, earlier this year. However, because he would not sign a full-time deal with the company, he lay down for the eventual tournament winner and first ever Cruiserweight Champion of the new era, TJ Perkins.
Since then, Ibushi has made sporadic NXT appearances, and was even part of the Dusty Rhodes Classic Tag Team Tournament with TJ Perkins; where the team was eventually pinned by the heel stable known as SAnitY.
Many wrestling fans keep asking when Ibushi will sign a full-time deal with WWE. In an interview with proresu-today.com, Ibushi clarified his stance on the matter (translated from Japanese by Chris Charlton):
‘(WWE offered) a 5-year contract. I turned it down. They offered 3, then 2. I was against an exclusive contract from the word go. I’m happy going date by date’.
This will come as a disappointment to WWE fans, many of whom have wanted to see Ibushi sign full time with the world’s largest wrestling promotion. Kota Ibushi further clarified on why he would not sign:
‘It was a significant amount of money they offered. But I want to keep working for Japanese wrestling. I want to be a big deal of course, and if Japanese wrestling enjoys a boom in the process, I couldn’t ask for anything more’.
In the same interview, he was asked about his unique offensive style. Ibushi's hybrid work-style has captivated audiences around the globe, who are left gasping at how good his matches are. Ibushi described his technique as follows:
‘I can’t completely nail down my style going forward, but I think the American Independent Style is my base...a sports like style. Someone like Zack Sabre Jr. as a base with uniquely Ibushi twists’.
At the same time, Kota Ibushi isn’t turning his back to WWE for good. When asked if he would want to be a part of the NXT Osaka show, Ibushi replied in the affirmative. Ibushi had strong words about the form he was in, and why he chooses to work a lighter schedule than others:
‘I’ve wrestled fewer matches this year, but my body has benefitted. I’m in the shape of my career now. Nothing hurts, everything's great.
Ibushi will be part of a DDT event in December, as well as another festival in Makuhari, in addition to a charity show.
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