Today, New Japan Pro Wrestling has announced the departures of two wrestlers from the company. The first departure announced was Takashi Iizuka. Iizuka began his journey in NJPW in May of 1985, and debuted on November 1986. Iizuka’s retirement match has been set for February 21st, 2019 during the “New Japan Road” tour. Takashi Iizuka is known as the Suzuki-gun’s “Hatred Monk” but he wasn’t always the uncontrollable maniac that bites everyone and is held back on a leash.
This quote is from the New Japan website:
He was active in the NJPW stable for a long time as an orthodox wrestler and spent time training in Sambo in the former Soviet Union (Now Russia) before turning his back on his former tag-team partner Hiroyoshi Tenzan and joining GBH. Since then, his looks and matches have morphed into a darker, more villainous style.
He has since been active as an insane heel wrestler within the New Japan ring. His retirement has been announced for the 21st February 2019. What sort of craziness can we expect at his farewell match?
New Japan Pro Wrestling has also announced that KUSHIDA will be retiring from the company at the end of January 2019, when his contract has expired. KUSHIDA commented in a meeting about this:
“As mentioned previously by Mr. Sugabayashi, I will leave New Japan Pro-Wrestling at the end of January. Regarding this choice and decision, it was one made with the full co-operation and understanding of Mr. Kidani, Mr. Meij and Mr. Sugabayashi. It was a very big decision in my life and I’m thankful they understood. As for the future, I would like to see the wide world of professional wrestling with my own eyes, from one end of the earth to the other.
I’ve been in NJPW for 8 years now. When I first joined, I was surprised at the scale of this company. This company has allowed me to become a professional wrestler and more than anything I feel that the warm reception and words from the fans has made me who I am today. I really appreciate it. Thank you very much.
So many people are involved in the world of wrestling, from the ring staff to fans, from friends in the locker room to rivals. All these people have helped me to grow as a person and a wrestler. I have so many thoughts and feeling running around my head and I hope to express them in full during the Q&A session.
KUSHIDA took part in a Q&A session in the New Japan Pro Wrestling headquarters, in which he emotionally answered. You can read the full Q&A session HERE.
Kota Ibushi Update
“He will miss the next series due to a concussion sustained in the match against Will Osprey at the Tokyo Dome on January 4. The timing of the return is undetermined.”
This update comes as rumours are ripe on the future of Kota Ibushi Golden Lovers tag partner, Kenny Omega. On January 5th, in Tokyo, a meeting was held between NJPW, Ring Of Honor and All Elite Wrestling to see if a working agreement between the three companies. I don’t know the results or outcomes of this meeting but I can only assume that AEW and ROH are, in some way competitors to each other, making a working relationship difficult. So far, The Young Bucks, Cody and Hangman Page are set to leave New Japan to embark on their own journey as heads of All Elite Wrestling, but it is not clear where Kenny Omega will go. Kenny lives in Japan and has done for a while, he also has shown that he is not done with New Japan but that could all change very quickly. The options are open for Kenny Omega as rumours of extremely high offers from WWE are circulating. As most New Japan Contracts conclude at the end of January, it shouldn’t be long until we get an answer.
As mentioned above, The Young Bucks, Cody and Adam “Hangman” Page have left New Japan Pro Wrestling to undertake a new venture in All Elite Wrestling, they tweeted the following after Wrestlekingdom on January 5th.
Kenny Omega did an Interview With Tokyo Sports in which he claimed “The game was like a battle to decide the main character” when talking about his Wrestlekingdom main event against Hiroshi Tanahashi. When talking about his concerns with the future, Omega said “”There is no place to put in now and it is better not to be in New Japan. The new Japan also became the era of Tanahashi.” Kenny went on to say, “I would like to do if there’s a rematch, but for now it is better not to stay in the ring for a while, it’ s not just New Japan, thinking a little rest and making a different strategy Told.”
Kenny Omega’s future may be up in the air for now, but what is clear is the Best Bout Machine is talking some time away from the ring. Keep your eyes peeled as there is no telling where, or when Omega will show up next.
The latest episode of Being The Elite is also available now, entitled “After Wrestle Kingdom”