Kota Ibushi may not be facing Shingo Takagi for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship after The Golden Star was pulled from NJPW shows due to illness.
Ibushi is hoping to reclaim the title that he originated after he merged the IWGP Heavyweight Title with the IWGP Intercontinental Championship earlier this year. Ibushi then lost the title to Will Ospreay at Sakura Genesis in April before the Englishman had to relinquish the championship due to his own injury issues.
Los Ingobernables De Japon star Shingo Takagi won the vacant title in June defeating the most successful IWGP Heavyweight Champion of all time Kazuchika Okada at Dominion in June. With Wrestle Grand Slam due to take place on July 25th after delays due to the pandemic, Ibushi was due to face Takagi as he sought to reclaim the title.
Unfortunately, that match may not take place after New Japan Pro Wrestling announced they had pulled Ibushi off Summer Struggle events due to aspiration pneumonia, with a decision on the match with Takagi due to take place in the Tokyo Dome still to be made.
The full press statement from NJPW regarding Kota Ibushi read:
“Kota Ibushi has been out of competition since the beginning of the Summer Struggle series due to illness. After careful investigation and thorough assessment, he has been diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia.”
“Ibushi’s illness was originally reported as a result of side effects arising from his COVID-19 vaccination. Aspiration pneumonia has no connection to COVID vaccinations, and Ibushi’s illness is not a result of his inoculation. We apologise for any misunderstanding. Ibushi has also tested negative for COVID-19.”
“In order to give Ibushi more time to make a full in ring recovery, he will be absent from cards on July 22 and 23 in Osaka, as well as July 24 in Nagoya. A final decision on his participation at Wrestle Grand Slam on July 25 will be made after assessing Ibushi’s recovery.”
“As a result changes will be made to the cards in Osaka and Nagoya as outlined below. We apologise to fans who were looking forward to seeing Ibushi wrestle.”
“New Japan Pro-Wrestling deeply apologises for the concern and inconvenience caused by this news. We appreciate your understanding, and hope you join us in wishing Ibushi the very best in his recovery.”