When Major League Wrestling announced a new alliance with Japan’s Pro Wrestling NOAH earlier this year, many wondered what that meant for IMPACT Wrestling. IMPACT had been in alliance with NOAH since 2017 when Anthem assumed ownership, with such NOAH stars as Naomichi Marufuji and Taiji Ishimori appearing on episodes of IMPACT and appearing at Slammiversary XV in 2017. That same year, Eddie Edwards worked for NOAH as well as IMPACT, even capturing the GHC Heavyweight Championship for 118 days. But Edwards began to work with NOAH again earlier this year, and now on Thursday night, IMPACT has revealed in a huge way that the NOAH alliance is still very much active, announcing that 3x GHC Heavyweight Champion and NOAH/Japan legend Naomichi Marufuji is returning to IMPACT Wrestling for this year’s Bound For Glory.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) September 5, 2019
Naomichi Marufuji is one of the most respected Japanese wrestlers of the past two decades, a mentor and rival to KENTA (Hideo Itami), a former 3x GHC Heavyweight Champion, 6x GHC Tag Team Champion, and GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion, who has spent the past 19 years as NOAH’s Ace. He began his career in All Japan Pro Wrestling in 1998, after being trained by Mitsuharu Misawa, following his mentor to NOAH upon Misawa’s founding of the promotion in 2000. He’s also worked freelance with NJPW, competing in the 2009 Super J Cup and both the 2012 and 2016 G1 Climax tournaments. He’s also a former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, defeating Tiger Mask IV for the belt at Wrestle Kingdom IV in 2010.
Naomichi Marufuji’s last match with IMPACT Wrestling was on the pre-taped August 10, 2017 episode of the show, teaming with recent WWE signee El Hijo del Fantasma against recent NXT debuted Garza Jr. (now Angel Garza) and Laredo Kid. His last match in the United States was at Glory Pro‘s Glory War of the New Age event in Belleville, Illinois against Donovan Dijak (now Dominik Dijakovic in NXT) on July 9, 2017.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. Catch IMPACT Wrestling on Friday nights at 10pm on Pursuit Channel or their Twitch Channel. IMPACT Wrestling: Bound For Glory airs live on Fite.tv on Sunday, October 20, 2019, from the Odeum Expo Center in Chicago, Illinois.