When Kenny Omega announced that he was leaving New Japan Pro Wrestling, it was a tough hit for the promotion but then KUSHIDA also announced he was leaving as well and he is headed for WWE NXT.
While Omega leaving was expected due to the WWE really pushing hard to sign him and his buddies in the Elite starting their own promotion in AEW wrestling, KUSHIDA was a surprise.
Why did KUSHIDA leave NJPW for the WWE?
The KUSHIDA departure from New Japan Pro Wrestling was done very differently than the Kenny Omega announcement. Omega told reporters he was leaving but KUSHIDA had a major press conference organized by New Japan.
While NJPW officials learned Omega had made his decision through the media, KUSHIDA told them personally.
However, it now turns out that KUSHIDA left New Japan for the WWE because he was not happy with his status in the company.
According to Dave Meltzer, KUSHIDA specifically asked New Japan to turn him heel and booker Gedo did not approve his request.
KUSHIDA wanted to become a bad guy and join the Bullet Club but Gedo felt that KUSHIDA was needed more on the side of New Japan in the junior heavyweight division.
KUSHIDA wasn’t happy and decided he would rather leave and work somewhere else to try to get more experience, especially since he is in his mid-30s and he has more of his career behind him than in front of him.
KUSHIDA and his WWE future
With all that said, KUSHIDA conducted his entire departure in a professional manner. He went through the proper channels to let them know he was leaving and now he gets one last big match in NJPW before he leaves.
KUSHIDA will battle Hiroshi Tanahashi for the first time on January 29, a reward for his professionalism in leaving the company.
It is an interesting time for New Japan. They are losing Kenny Omega, who has been their top main event star for the last two years.
They will lose Chris Jericho once he starts his work with AEW full-time. They refused to turn KUSHIDA heel to keep him as a face and now they will lose him as well.
Meanwhile, KUSHIDA will start up with WWE NXT immediately after he leaves New Japan at the end of January.
Likely, the WWE will introduce him in the audience at a TakeOver event before he starts wrestling for the company, as they do with all their major indie signings.