AEW President Tony Khan is constantly on the hunt for new talent, evaluating the top free agents from across the globe.
With news that Kota Ibushi’s contract with NJPW expired at the end of January, all eyes are on the star as to whether he’ll sign a contract with another top promotion. The star hasn’t been seen inside a wrestling ring since since the finals of the G1 Climax in 2021. On that occasion, he suffered a serious shoulder injury that put him out of action. During his hiatus, the relationship between Ibushi and NJPW soured considerably, largely due to them wanting him to work through his injury.
AEW President Tony Khan has been open about his desire to sign Ibushi, describing him as a “great talent.” There are already links between the two parties due to his existing relationship with The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. Ibushi famously teamed with Omega in Japan with the pair known as the Golden Lovers. The two wrestled together from 2009 until 2014, and again in 2018.
Now, speaking in a new interview with the In the Kliq podcast, Tony Khan was asked about the possibility of signing Ibushi to an AEW contract, and he had this to say:
“I would love to have Kota Ibushi here. Kota Ibushi has wrestled in Ring of Honor in the past and has a great history wrestling in Japan and in America and is a top free agent and that’s somebody we would love to have here if the deal is right and the timing is right.” (h/t F4WOnline)
Tony Khan Isn’t The Only One Interested In Kota Ibushi
Despite Ibushi’s ties with Omega and The Young Bucks, speculation also abounds that he could be headed to the rival WWE. During a recent interview with Dark Puroresu Flowsion, Ibushi addressed the possibility of signing with the sports entertainment giant, saying that while he has high interest in becoming All Elite, he’s definitely considering signing with their rival.
“Of course, I’m interested in it. I’m good at producing players & I’ve created stars, so I don’t think there’s anyone who can control me even in that frame. I live so freely.”
In a follow-up tweet, Dark Puroresu Flowsion indicated that Ibushi would be willing to sign with WWE as long as he’s able to help create the next generation of superstars.
“Kota Ibushi has told me. If the WWE allowed him to also train & create the next generation of wrestlers at the performance center. Among having some high profile matches. He would most certainly work with WWE.”
Kota Ibushi has told me. If the WWE allowed him to also train & create the next generation of wrestlers at the performance center. Among having some high profile matches. He would most certainly work with WWE. pic.twitter.com/TxhtQVgq3W
— Dark Puroresu Flowsion (@PuroresuFlow) February 17, 2023
Ibushi has worked for the sports entertainment giant once before, participating in the 2016 Cruiserweight Classic. He advanced to the finals of the tournament before being defeated by TJP, who was crowned the company’s first Cruiserweight Champion after the title’s revival.