This year’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament looks set to be a return to form for the annual New Japan event, with external talent being present for the first time since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The lineup features notable names from across the wrestling world, including IMPACT, AEW, CMLL, and GLEAT, although one name many expected to be present was notably absent from the reveal.
Former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Kushida departed WWE on April 18th of this year, and many expect the former NJPW star to return to his former home. Whilst discussing the potential match quality of the tournament however, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter provided an interesting update regarding the reason behind Kushida’s absence.
“The tournament looks to be very strong for match quality, but it’s doubtful it can touch years past when Ospreay and Takagi were the top junior stars. It’s also notable no Kushida in the tournament. Kushida didn’t want top return and be classified as a junior heavyweight.”-WON
Kushida’s WWE departure came as a result of the expiry of his contract, and thus the former New Japan star is not bound to a no-compete clause, and thus can appear wherever he pleases as soon as the time is right.
It is still very much expected that Kushida will return to New Japan Pro Wrestling, and the potential for him to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Will Ospreay & Shingo Takagi in transitioning from the junior division to the heavyweight division is certainly one that provides a variety of dream matches for Kushida upon his return.