Former WWE Champion Reportedly Leaves Company

A former WWE Champion is leaving the company. According to Fightful Select, Kushida left WWE after his contract expired. The full details of the situation and not clear at the time of this writing, but it is believed Kushida is a victim of a "budget cut release." 

According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (per Wreslting Inc.), Kushida will be competing in New Japan Pro Wrestling at some point in June. He was part of the promotion from 2010 to 2019 and had his share of success, winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship six times and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship twice. 

In 2019, Kushida joined WWE becoming a member of the NXT brand. In April 2021, Kushida became the NXT Cruiserweight Champion after being Santos Escobar at the NXT. He held onto the title for 161 days before losing the belt to Roderick Strong. The title is now unified with the NXT North American Championship. 

In June 2021, Kushida competed in a memorable match with Kyle O'Reilly. And after the match, Kushida explained why the match meant so much to him. "In 2017, around this time, I was considering retirement after every match," Kushida wrote on Twitter, per Cageside Seats. "I was concerned about my mental and physical health after every match. I wrestled back and forth between Japan and the United States twice a month.

"During that time, I sometimes suffered from severe abdominal pain after matches. I crouched on the floor with a cold sweat and had no choice but to wait for the pain to pass. I had to insert a gastro camera down my throat at the hospital to examine my stomach. But the doctors couldn't find anything wrong. The doctor's diagnosis was that my autonomic nerves must have been disturbed. My level of this abdominal pain wasn't normal. And, if it continued, I couldn't wrestle anymore. I knew it wasn't an exaggeration. And I knew that my wrestling career could be over at any time."


Along with competing in New Japan Pro Wrestling and WWE, Kushida spent time in Ring of Honor and won the World Television Championship in 2017. The 38-year-old pro wrestler also spent time in All Japan Pro Wrestling, Osaka Pro Wrestling and was a mixed martial artist who posted a 6-0-2 record.