Kota Ibushi (May 21, 1982) is a Japanese professional wrestler. He started his career in Dramatic Dream Team (DDT) in 2004 and over the next eleven years became a three-time KO-D Openweight Champion, five-time KO-D Tag Team Champion and a two-time KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Champion. In 2009, Ibushi started working for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and eventually signed with the promotion in 2013. In NJPW, he is a former three-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and a one-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion. He resigned from both DDT and NJPW in February 2016 and has since been performing in several different organisations including WWE as a freelancer.
Dramatic Dream Team (2004–present)
On July 1, 2004, Ibushi made his professional wrestling debut for Dramatic Dream Team, losing to KUDO. On June 25, 2006, he lost to Danshoku Dino in a match for the GAY World Anal Championship and spent most of 2006 competing in multiple tag team matches. In 2007 Ibushi's fortunes fared better and began to win more matches, including defeating BxB Hulk in a joint promotion event between DDT and Dragon Gate. Also in 2007 Ibushi defeated Madoka to win the vacant Independent World Junior Heavyweight Championship. In February 2008, Ibushi defeated Tanomusaku Toba to retain the Independent World Junior Heavyweight Championship and win the Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship. He would lose the Ironman championship to Danshoku Dino. Ibushi would defeat KUDO in the final of Next KO-D Openweight Championship one day tournament and then lost to the champion Dick Togo a month later.
Ibushi would start teaming up with Kenny Omega as the "Golden☆Lovers" and on January 24, 2009 they defeated HARASHIMA and Toru Owashi to win the KO-D Tag Team Championship and lost them in May to Dick Togo and TAKA Michinoku. In the summer of 2009, Ibushi won King Of DDT 2009 and went on to win KO-D Openweight Championship from HARASHIMA. During his time as champion he also won the Ironman Heavymetal Championship and would lose the Openweight Championship to Shuji Ishikawa. After winning the Best of the Super Juniors in New Japan Pro Wrestling his matches in DDT were mostly tag team matches with his partner Kenny Omega or matches involving IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Ibushi's fortunes in 2011 were better, he teamed up with Danshoki Dino to win the KO-D Tag Team Championship, however after dilocating his shoulder he vacated the title.
Ibushi made his return at a DDT event on May 4, 2012, losing to El Generico. On June 24, Ibushi defeated Yuji Hino to win DDT's KO-D Openweight Championship for the second time. On August 18, Ibushi defeated Kenny Omega in the main event of DDT's 15th anniversary event in Nippon Budokan to retain the KO-D Openweight Championship. On September 30, Ibushi lost the title to El Generico. On October 3, Ibushi won the third annual DDT48 general election and, as a result, earned an immediate rematch with El Generico. Ibushi received his rematch on October 21, but was again defeated by El Generico. On May 26, Ibushi, Gota Ihashi and Kenny Omega defeated the Monster Army (Antonio Honda, Daisuke Sasaki and Yuji Hino) to win the KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Championship. However, their reign lasted only 28 days, before they lost the title back to the Monster Army, now represented by Honda, Hino and Hoshitango. On August 18 at DDT's annual Ryōgoku Peter Pan event, Ibushi faced New Japan representative and reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada in a losing effort in a special non-title match. On January 26, 2014, Ibushi and Kenny Omega defeated Yankee Ni Cho Kenju (Isami Kodaka and Yuko Miyamoto) and Konosuke Takeshita and Tetsuya Endo in a three-way match to win the KO-D Tag Team Championship. On April 12, Ibushi and Omega became double champions in DDT, when they teamed with Daisuke Sasaki to defeat Team Drift (Keisuke Ishii, Shigehiro Irie and Soma Takao) for the KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Championship. Their reign, however, lasted only 22 days, before they lost the title to Shuten-dōji (KUDO, Masa Takanashi and Yukio Sakaguchi) on May 4. On September 28, Ibushi and Omega lost the KO-D Tag Team Championship to Konosuke Takeshita and Tetsuya Endo. On February 15, 2015, Ibushi won the KO-D Openweight Championship for the third time, defeating HARASHIMA.
Other promotions (2004–2006)
Ibushi competed in Wrestling Marvelous Future teaming with Onryo and lost to Garuda and Masa Takanashi. He would go on to compete for New Japan Pro Wrestling and Big Japan Pro Wrestling for a few months. Ibushi teamed with KUDO to take on KENTA and Naomichi Marufuji in the first round of Differ Cup 2005 and lost. At Dragondoor Project, Ibushi teamed with Taiji Ishimori and reached the final of Aquamarine Cup tag tournament and lost to Shuji Kondo and Yasushi Tsujimoto. Ibushi would go on to become Hustle Kamen Orange for HUSTLE, teaming with Hustle Kamen Red and the rest of the stable. Ibushi went on to team up with Fuka to win his first accomplishment in professionally wrestling, Dragon Mixture Tournament, by defeating Shinjitsu Nohashi and Yoshitsune in the final.
El Dorado Wrestling (2006–2008)
Ibushi made his El Dorado Wrestling debut on April 24, 2006 teamed with JKO and Taiji Ishimori and losing to Pineapple Hanai, Shuji Kondo and YASSHI. In late 2006, Ibushi teamed with Milano Collection AT to take part in Treasure Hunters Tag Tournament 2006 and reached the finals before being knocked out by Dick Togo and Shuji Kondo. Ibushi and KAGETORA won a number one condership match for the UWA World Tag Team Championship and went on to win the championships by defeating MAZADA and NOSAWA Rongai and would later vacate the championships due to inactivity. Ibushi gained a total of four points in Greatest Golden League 2008 which was not enough to progress out of block A and to the semi final.
American promotions (2008–2009)
It was announced on January 26, 2008, that Ibushi would be competing for Ring of Honor in the United States. On April 11, 2008, in Boston he made his debut in a match against Davey Richards, a match in which he was cheered as a winner despite losing. During his brief tour of ROH, he wrestled against Claudio Castagnoli and teamed with Austin Aries against The Briscoes only to come up on the losing end. His last appearance of his U.S. tour of ROH ended with a singles victory over El Generico. Ibushi competed for ROH during the promotion's second tour of Japan, teaming with KENTA against Naomichi Marufuji and Katsuhiko Nakajima in a tag team match. It was announced on April 6, 2008, that Ibushi would be competing for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla in Burbank, CA. However, Ibushi would end up injured before his scheduled appearance, and was forced to miss the PWG event. On March 27, 2009, Ibushi made his debut for Philadelphia-based Chikara at the promotions annual King of Trios tournament where he formed a team with KUDO and Michael Nakazawa. After his team was eliminated in the first round by Equinox, Lince Dorado and Helios, he went on to wrestle in the Rey de Voladores tournament over the next two days. On March 29, Ibushi defeated Player Dos to win the tournament and become the 2009 Rey de Voladores.
On January 16, 2010, Ibushi participated in Evolve's first show, losing to Davey Richards in the main event.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (2009–2016)
In May and June 2009 Ibushi participated in the Best of the Super Juniors Tournament held by New Japan Pro Wrestling. Ibushi fought the likes of Koji Kanemoto, Taichi Ishikari and Jushin Thunder Liger, before losing in the semi-finals to Prince Devitt. Ibushi was a participant in Pro Wrestling Noah's NTV Cup with tag team partner Atsushi Aoki and advanced to the finals before losing to Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Kotaro Suzuki.
Ibushi in June 2011 after defeating Prince Devitt to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
On June 1, 2010, Ibushi entered his second Best of the Super Juniors tournament. After winning his block with six victories out of seven matches, Ibushi defeated Ryusuke Taguchi to advance to the semifinals of the tournament, where he was once again defeated by Prince Devitt. On October 11, 2010, Ibushi returned to New Japan at Destruction '10 and teamed with his regular DDT partner Kenny Omega to defeat Apollo 55 (Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi) for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, after Ibushi pinned Devitt. As a result of the pinfall victory, Ibushi was granted a shot at Devitt's IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship at New Japan's biggest event of the year, Wrestle Kingdom V in Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2011. At the event Ibushi was unsuccessful in his attempt to win the title. On January 23 at Fantasticamania 2011, a New Japan and Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre co–promoted event in Tokyo, Ibushi and Omega lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship back to Devitt and Taguchi. On May 26, Ibushi entered New Japan's 2011 Best of the Super Juniors tournament. After losing his first two-round robin stage matches, Ibushi came back with a six match win streak to finish first in his block and advance to the semifinals of the tournament. On June 10, Ibushi first defeated Davey Richards in the semifinals and then Ryusuke Taguchi in the finals to win the 2011 Best of the Super Juniors tournament and earn a shot at Prince Devitt's IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. On June 18 at Dominion 6.18, Ibushi defeated Prince Devitt to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the first time. Ibushi made his first defense of the title on July 24, defeating Devitt in a rematch at a DDT event, and his second on August 1, defeating Devitt's tag team partner Ryusuke Taguchi. Ibushi then attempted to repeat Devitt's feat of holding both of New Japan's Junior Heavyweight Championships simultaneously, but on August 14, the Golden☆Lovers failed in their attempt to regain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship from Apollo 55. On September 12, Ibushi was stripped of both the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship and the KO-D Tag Team Championship, after he was sidelined with a dislocated left shoulder.
Ibushi returned to New Japan on June 16 at Dominion 6.16, when he, Daisuke Sasaki and Kenny Omega defeated BUSHI, KUSHIDA and Prince Devitt in a six-man tag team match. Later in the event, Ibushi challenged Low Ki to a match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. On July 29, Ibushi defeated Low Ki to also win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the second time. Ibushi made his first successful title defense on September 7, defeating KUSHIDA. Ibushi followed up by also successfully defending the title against Ryusuke Taguchi on September 23 at Destruction. On October 8 at King of Pro-Wrestling, Ibushi lost the title back to Low Ki. On January 4, 2013, at Wrestle Kingdom 7 in Tokyo Dome, Ibushi unsuccessfully challenged Prince Devitt for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in a three-way match, which also included Low Ki. On July 5, Ibushi was announced as a surprise participant in the 2013 G1 Climax. He increased his weight from 84 kg (185 lb) to 88 kg (194 lb) to prepare himself for the heavyweight-level tournament. Ibushi finished the tournament with four wins and five losses, failing to advance from his block. On October 7, Ibushi, along with Naoki Sugabayashi and Sanshiro Takagi, representatives of both DDT and New Japan, held a press conference to announce that he had signed a dual contract with both promotions; three years with DDT and one year with New Japan, making him the first wrestler to have such a contract and officially have two home promotions. Ibushi wrestled his first match under a New Japan contract on October 14 at King of Pro-Wrestling, where he, Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma were defeated in a six-man tag team match by Bullet Club (Prince Devitt, Bad Luck Fale and Karl Anderson). Returning to the junior heavyweight division, Ibushi then began chasing Devitt for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. On January 4, 2014, at Wrestle Kingdom 8 in Tokyo Dome, Ibushi defeated Devitt to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the third time. Ibushi made his first successful title defense against El Desperado on February 11 at The New Beginning in Osaka. On March 6, Ibushi main evented New Japan's 42nd anniversary event, losing to Kazuchika Okada in the annual non-title match between the IWGP Junior Heavyweight and IWGP Heavyweight champions. On April 3, Ibushi made his second successful defense of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against Nick Jackson. Three days later at Invasion Attack 2014, Ibushi and El Desperado unsuccessfully challenged Nick and his brother Matt, The Young Bucks, for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Ibushi's third defense of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship took place on May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2014, where he defeated Ryusuke Taguchi. On May 25 at Back to the Yokohama Arena, Ibushi unsuccessfully challenged Tomohiro Ishii for the NEVER Openweight Championship. On June 21 at Dominion 6.21, Ibushi successfully defended the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against the winner of the 2014 Best of the Super Juniors, Ricochet. On July 4, Ibushi lost the title to KUSHIDA in his fifth defense. During the match, Ibushi suffered a concussion, which forced him to pull out of the 2014 G1 Climax. On October 3, it was announced that Ibushi, now billed as a permanent heavyweight wrestler, had signed a one-year extension to his NJPW contract. Ibushi would make his return after the G1 and at Power Struggle on November 8, attacked Shinsuke Nakamura after his match, issuing a challenge for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Ibushi received his shot at the title on January 4, 2015, at Wrestle Kingdom 9 in Tokyo Dome, but was defeated by Nakamura. On March 5, Ibushi entered the 2015 New Japan Cup, defeating IWGP Tag Team Champion Doc Gallows in his first round match. After defeating Toru Yano in the second round on March 8, Ibushi first defeated Tetsuya Naito in the semifinals and then Hirooki Goto in the finals on March 15 to win the tournament and earn the right to challenge for the singles heavyweight title of his choosing. Following the final match, Ibushi announced he had decided to challenge A.J. Styles for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. The match took place on April 5 at Invasion Attack 2015 and saw Styles retain his title. From July 20 to August 14, Ibushi took part in the 2015 G1 Climax. He failed to advance from his block with a record of four wins and five losses, scoring big wins over former IWGP Heavyweight Champion A.J. Styles and reigning NEVER Openweight Champion Togi Makabe. As a result, Ibushi received a shot at the NEVER Openweight Championship on September 23 at Destruction in Okayama, but was defeated by Makabe. On November 2, NJPW announced that Ibushi was sidelined indefinitely due to cervical disc herniation. In February 2016, Ibushi announced his resignation from NJPW.
On February 21, 2016, Ibushi announced that while he had been cleared to return to the ring from his herniated cervical disc, he had decided to resign from both DDT and NJPW and continue his career as a freelancer due to feeling he could not handle the burden of working two schedules. As a freelancer, he was billed as a representative of Ibushi Puroresu Kenkyujo ("Ibushi Pro Wrestling Research Institute"). He wrestled his return match and his first match as a freelancer at DDT's 19th anniversary event on March 21, where he and Gota Ihashi defeated Jun Kasai and Sanshiro Takagi, and Kenso and Michael Nakazawa in a three-way tag team match. In April, Ibushi returned to the United States to take part in events held by Evolve and Kaiju Big Battel, while also appearing in the audience at WWE NXT's TakeOver: Dallas event. On May 29, Ibushi made his debut for Inoki Genome Federation (IGF), defeating Tanomusaku Toba. On August 11, Ibushi made his debut for Wrestle-1, defeating Jiro Kuroshio.
On June 13, 2016, Ibushi was announced as a participant in WWE's Cruiserweight Classic tournament. The tournament kicked off on June 23 with Ibushi defeating Sean Maluta in his first round match. On July 13, Ibushi made his NXT in-ring debut, defeating Buddy Murphy at NXT tapings. The following day, Ibushi defeated Cedric Alexander in his second round match in the Cruiserweight Classic. On July 15, it was reported that Ibushi had signed an NXT contract with WWE. In an interview published July 25, Ibushi admitted he had been offered a contract, but denied having signed it. On August 26, Ibushi defeated Brian Kendrick to advance to the semifinals of the Cruiserweight Classic. On September 14, Ibushi was eliminated from the tournament in the semifinals by eventual winner T.J. Perkins. Afterwards, Pro Wrestling Torch went back on their earlier report and stated that Ibushi had not agreed to a WWE contract beyond the tournament, which was a factor in him losing the semifinal match. On September 29, WWE announced that Ibushi would be teaming up with NXT's Hideo Itami in the upcoming Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. When Itami was injured, Ibushi was paired up with T.J. Perkins. The two entered the tournament on October 13, defeating Lince Dorado and Mustafa Ali in their first round match. Later that same day, they were eliminated from the tournament in the second round by Sanity (Alexander Wolfe and Sawyer Fulton).
Return to NJPW
Tiger Mask W (2016–2017)
On October 10, 2016, Ibushi returned to NJPW, taking part in a dark match prior to the King of Pro-Wrestling event. Ibushi wrestled the match as the masked character "Tiger Mask W", based on the anime series of the same name, defeating Red Death Mask. The following day, NJPW announced that Tiger Mask W would return to the promotion in January 2017. Tiger Mask W returned on January 4, 2017, defeating Tiger the Dark at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome. On February 5, after successfully defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Minoru Suzuki, Kazuchika Okada brought up Tiger Mask W as his next possible opponent, leading to a program between the two heading into NJPW's 45th anniversary show. On March 1, Tiger Mask W teamed with Tiger Mask to defeat Okada and Gedo in a tag team match. On March 6 at the 45th anniversary show, Tiger Mask W was defeated by Okada in a non-title main event.
Return as Kota Ibushi (2017–present)
On June 20, NJPW announced Ibushi, under his real name, as a participant in the 2017 G1 Climax. NJPW billed this as Ibushi's return to the company after two and a half years, not acknowledging his stint as Tiger Mask W. Ibushi finished the tournament on August 11 with a record of five wins and four losses, failing to advance from his block. On November 5 at Power Struggle, Ibushi unsuccessfully challenged Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. On January 4, 2018, Kota Ibushi defeated Cody at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Kota Ibushi was then attacked by Cody at New Year Bash after losing a match to the Bullet Club, where Kenny Omega saves Kota Ibushi from Cody. Returning the favor, Kota Ibushi reunited with Kenny Omega at The New Beginning at Sapporo 2018 after saving Kenny, who was involved in an altercation with other Bullet Club members Cody and Hangman Page. At Honor Rising: Japan Night 2 on February 28th, the Golden☆Lovers won their return match as a team against Cody and Marty Scurll. After the match, Ibushi and Omega were confronted by The Young Bucks and challenged to a match at Strong Style Evolved on March 25th, which the Golden☆Lovers won.At CEO×NJPW show which was scheduled in 29th June 2018 where he and Omega defeated Tetsuya Naito and Hiromu Takahashi.
- Finishing moves
- As Kota Ibushi
- Corkscrew 630° senton - 2005
- Golden Star Powerbomb (Elevated Sitout Powerbomb – 2012–present)
- Golden Star Press (No-handed springboard corkscrew 450° splash) - 2005-2007
- Golden Star Press 2007 (Springboard corkscrew 450° splash, with theatrics) - 2007
- Kamigoye (Double wrist-lock knee strike to a kneeling opponent) - 2017-present
- Moonsault Press
- Phoenix-Plex (Bridging package fallaway powerbomb, sometimes from the top rope) – 2009–present
- Phoenix Splash (Corkscrew 450° splash)
- As Tiger Mask W
- Tiger Driver-Style Golden Star Powerbomb (Double underhook elevated sitout powerbomb)
- As Kota Ibushi
- Signature moves
- 450° splash
- Ankle lock
- Cartwheel into a standing corkscrew 450° splash
- Multiple kick variations
- Bridging evasion followed into a roundhouse
- Dash Middle (Multiple shoot to the opponent's chest)
- Handspring backflip
- Multiple moonsault variations
- Golden Triangle Moonsault (Over the corner slingshot into a springboard to the outside)
- Moonsault Moonsault (Feint followed by a standing)
- Standing corkscrew
- Multiple powerbomb variations
- 24 Sai (Vertical suplex ganso)
- Golden Star Bomb (Sitout)
- Reverse Yari Otoshi (High-angle crucifix)
- Multiple suplex variations
- Bridging dragon
- Deadlift German
- Northern Lights
- Three-quarter nelson
- Reverse frankensteiner
- Shooting star press
- Standing shooting star press
- Super spike piledriver
- With Kenny Omega
- Double-team finishing moves
- Golden Shower (Simultaneous 450° splashes from the same turnbuckle)
- Golden Trigger (Simultaneous wrist-locks into knee strikes)
- Double-team finishing moves
- "Golden Star"
- "Independent Genius"
- "Hard Hit Prince"
- Tag teams and stables
- Theme music
- "27" by Breaking Point
- "Golden Star" by Yonosuke Kitamura (NJPW)
Championships and accomplishments
- Rey de Voladores (2009)
- Dramatic Dream Team
- IMGP World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Independent Junior Heavyweight Champion (1 time)
- Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship (3 times)
- DDT KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Gota Ihashi and Kenny Omega (1) and Daisuke Sasaki and Kenny Omega (1)
- KO-D Openweight Champion (3 times)
- KO-D Tag Team Champion (5 times) - with Daichi Kakimoto (1), Kenny Omega (2), Danshoku Dino (1) & Daisuke Sasaki
- Go-1 Climax (2014)
- KO-D Openweight Championship Contendership Tournament (2008, 2009)
- KO-D Tag League (2005) – with Daichi Kakimoto
- DDT48 / Dramatic Sousenkyo (2012, 2014)
- Best Match Award (2012) vs. Kenny Omega on August 18
- Japan Indie Awards
- Best Bout Award (2008) vs. Kenny Omega on August 6
- Best Bout Award (2011) vs. Dick Togo on March 27
- Best Bout Award (2012) vs. Kenny Omega on August 18
- Best Bout Award (2014) with Kenny Omega vs. Konosuke Takeshita and Tetsuya Endo on October 28
- MVP Award (2007, 2009)
- Kaientai Dojo
- Kaiju Big Battel
- KBB Hashtag Championship (1 time)
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #40 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2015
- Tokyo Sports
- Toryumon Mexico
- Young Dragons Cup (2006)
- Último Dragón Fiesta
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- 5 Star Match (2015) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura on January 4
- 5 Star Match (2018) with Kenny Omega vs. The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) on March 25
- Best Flying Wrestler (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013)
- Pro Wrestling Match of the Year (2015) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura on January 4