One of the greatest junior heavyweights in NJPW history is now officially a member of the NXT roster. Ahead of tonight’s Takeover event, Triple H and William Regal officially welcomed KUSHIDA to NXT.
Triple H posted the following to Twitter earlier:
KUSHIDA announced in early January his plans to leave NJPW. He wrestled his final match for the promotion against Hiroshi Tanahashi on January 29th in Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall.
KUSHIDA Signs With WWE
35-year old Yujiro Kushida is one of the most decorated champions in New Japan’s junior heavyweight division. He is a 6x former IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion, tying him for 2nd most all-time with Tiger Mask. Only Jushin Liger (11) has won the title more times.
Kushida also won the promotion’s Best of the Super Junior tournament in 2015 and 2017.
As 1/2 of the Time Splitters along with Alex Shelly, KUSHIDA is also a former 2x IWGP junior heavyweight tag team champion.
KUSHIDA MMA/Pro-Wrestling Training
While he was still only in junior high school, Kushida began training pro-wrestling and MMA at the Takada Dojo. The academy is run by Nobuhiko Takada, who is perhaps best known for his fights with Rickson Gracie at PRIDE 1 & 4.
Kushida had his first MMA fight just weeks after his 20th birthday. He amassed a 6-0-2 record before he left to pursue a career in pro-wrestling. Kushida would debut in Takada’s Hustle promotion in 2006. He’d eventually sign with New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2010.