Kota Ibushi climbed to the top of the NJPW mountain at Wrestle Kingdom 15 when he defeated Tetsuya Naito and Jay White on back-to-back nights to capture and retain the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships.
With Kenny Omega dubbing himself "the belt collector" and the history between Omega and Ibushi, fans began wondering if a possible showdown between the two was in the works.
Speaking to Alex McCarthy of TalkSPORT, Omega's best friend and business partner Don Callis, speaking in-character, gave an answer.
“What makes Kenny great isn’t just the athleticism, it’s his next level thinking. Kota Ibushi thinks in the IWGP bubble. It’s all he knows and all he’s ever known. In order for Kota Ibushi to truly evolve into the Kota Ibushi he can be, he Kota needs to get on an airplane and he needs to come from Japan and defend that title around the world like Kenny Omega does," said Callis. “The problem with Kota Ibushi has never been a lack of ability, it’s been a lack of imagination. But Kota is very much like the wrestling fans we spoke about, he has a limited world view. And while he has been a great friend of Kenny’s in the past, the reality is, sometimes as we move through our lives we have to shed friends like we shed dead skin cells. What once worked in a friendship or relationship no longer works for us, so we move on. A lot of people would love to see Kenny and Kota Ibushi reunite, but that’s very small-minded thinking and it is what it is – people get excited about their dream matches."
Ibushi did get mentioned on AEW Dynamite with Excalibur bringing up his IWGP Double Title victory and Omega's history with his Golden Lover partner.
Omega has it in his contract to work NJPW dates, but has not returned to the promotion since Wrestle Kingdom 13 and the start of AEW.
If you missed anything from AEW New Year's Smash night one, check out Fightful's full report on the show by clicking here.