WWE has a major event coming up next month that is expected to be amazing. The WWE Cruiserweight Classic is set to hit the WWE Network in July where it will feature some of the best wrestlers in the world, regardless of size. The likes of Tajari, Zack Sabre Jr., Johnny Gargano, TJ Perkins, and various others will work to show that one of them is the best cruiserweight in the world today. Of course, the one man most are itching to see and might very well be the favorite is Japanese star Kota Ibushi.
Ibushi has worked in Japan for years, where he was featured in DDT Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. He is a former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, as well as a former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion with Kenny Omega. In DDT, he won almost every single championship they had from the IMGP Heavyweight Title to the Ironman Heavymetalweight Title, which he won 3 times.
This is not even counting his various accolades from around the world. The 34-year-old star was voted Wrestling Observer’s best highflyer in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. He even won their match of the year in his match with Shinsuke Nakamura last year. It seems Nakamura is trying to win match of the year again this year. Regardless, when we talk about one of the best workers in the world, Kota Ibushi is certainly somewhere at the top. He is the top free agent on the market, but that may not last for long.
According to The Wrestling Observer, WWE is expected to book Kota Ibushi very strong in the Cruiserweight Classic next month. The plan would then be to try and sign him to a nice deal. They very well could have Ibushi win the entire tournament, which no one would really complain about because he certainly will make you believe he deserves the title.
The Cruiserweight Classic is WWE’s answer to New Japan’s Best of the Super Juniors Tournament. Of course, that tournament just ended a couple days ago, and WWE was never going to try and compete with it. However, they certainly want to put on a show that is just as good, if not better. Due to the amazing matches this past year, including one in particular with Ricochet and eventual winner Will Ospreay, it will be tough to outdo the tournament.
Keep in mind, Kota Ibushi has competed in the infamous NJPW tournament, as well, and he was the 2011 winner. That said, he knows how to do well in tournaments like this and will surely give the fans something to talk about.
The most important consideration, however, is what will happen after the tournament ends. If WWE can sign Kota Ibushi, it would be massive. Of course, the recent signings of Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode alone were huge for the company, not to mention the other signings of the last year or two.
However, signing Ibushi will help WWE a great deal. The reason is simple. He adds another layer of excitement when he wrestles. His matches would be fun, and he would surely be a top star with WWE NXT until he eventually moves up to the main roster where he so obviously belongs.
Most importantly, Ibushi will have a positive effect on the look of the WWE. Kenny Omega claims he turned down WWE’s three contract offers last year because he was waiting for Kota Ibushi to return from injury so that they could wrestle again. Ibushi was hurt in 2015, but he returned to the ring earlier this year. He then left both DDT and NJPW to become a free agent.
Ibushi likes being a free agent, who wouldn’t? You’re catered to, and companies offer a lot to bring you back or bring you in. Ibushi’s friend Omega could very well follow him to the WWE when his deal with New Japan ends. This could also be the catalyst for the Young Bucks to come to WWE. All three wrestlers were either negotiating with the WWE in the past or were actually offered a contract.
First and foremost, bringing in Kota Ibushi means that WWE will have a solid talent for years to come. It could also mean that several of his talented friends could follow. With WWE using Nakamura well, they have proven that they know how to book great Japanese talent as of late. They may also book Hideo Itami strong upon his return. This isn’t even counting NXT Women’s Champion, Asuka. Having three major Japanese stars all booked well would certainly make Ibushi feel like he would have a shot to succeed in the WWE.
By using them well, it also makes Americans and Canadians out of New Japan feel like their history in another major company may not hurt them and could even help them when it comes to leaving NJPW for the WWE in the future. The only thing to wonder about now is if Kota Ibushi will sign. While it seems like he will as WWE has done do all they could to satisfy him monetarily, you never know at this stage.
[image via WWE]