New Japan Pro Wrestling recently revealed the full list of participants in this year’s Best of the Super Juniors, one of the promotion’s most prestigious tournaments that rewards the winner with a future opportunity at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title, currently held by Bullet Club’s Taiji Ishimori.
One name who was noticeably absent from that list was KUSHIDA, who became a free agent earlier this year following his release from WWE’s NXT brand on April 18th. While there has been no confirmation or official announcement, speculation is that the former multi-time Junior champion will return to NJPW at some point. However, a new report has surfaced explaining why he KUSHIDA’s name was off the list.
According to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, KUSHIDA did not want to return to NJPW and compete in the junior division, something he did extensively for the company during his first run between 2010-2019. The full quote from the report reads.
KUSHIDA hopes to follow the same path as former IWGP world champion’s Shingo Takagi and Will Ospreay, two top stars who worked there way through the juniors and onto the heavyweight division. This year’s tournament is set to begin on May 15th and run through the summer.