Chris Charlton, wrestling author and part-time commentary team member with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) revealed on Twitter on Monday that two members of NJPW’s roster had finished up with the company this past weekend. Former IWGP Intercontinental Champion Michael Elgin‘s contract expired at the end of March and chose not to re-sign with the company, while a Young Lion prospect in Teruaki Kanemitsu has decided to depart the promotion.
Young Lion Teruaki Kanemitsu has left NJPW. Michael Elgin didn’t have his contract renewed and finished at the end of March.
— chris charlton (@reasonjp) April 2, 2019
It’s been a rough past year for former Ring of Honor World Champion Michael Elgin, who has been part of a lawsuit from a former friend over allegations of mishandling a sexual assault case from a former student. While the case is still ongoing, Elgin has found himself being kept away from many major indie promotions in North America. A 16-year pro, Elgin began his career in his native Canadian indies before working with IWA Mid South and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) in the mid-2000s. He joined ROH in 2011, becoming ROH World Heavyweight Champion in 2014, but left ROH at the end of 2016. He signed with NJPW in early 2017 where he became a strong presence on the roster, winning the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, NEVER 6-Man Tag Team Champion and NEVER Openweight Champion during his last two years, but after being left out of the G1 Climax this year, it became apparent that New Japan has exhausted their plans for Elgin. It’s believed the parting was mutual.
Teruaki Kanemitsu joined New Japan in 2016 as part of the Young Lion program, training alongside the likes of Jay White, David Finlay, Juice Robinson, and others. He frequently worked live events and tours in his first year, teaming with the likes of Ryusuke Taguchi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and his Young Lion dojo mates. In November of 2016, he suffered a serious injury that kept him out of the ring for all of 2017 and 2018. He made his return in December of last year, but after working on getting back into ring shape, he made the decision to leave New Japan and learn elsewhere. He released a statement via New Japan’s website, where he said he had “nothing but gratitude to the New Japan fans who gave me so much support. I’m disappointed that things have ended this way, and I’m truly sorry.”
“From here on out I will walk a different path,” he continued. “I feel like I will be going on an indefinite learning excursion, and I will dedicate myself to living up to the NJPW standard. I hope you continue to support me in the future.”