NJPW News: Katsuyori Shibata returns at G1 Climax Finals
What’s the story?
Amidst the excitement of the G1 Climax concluding, the fans at Ry?goku Sumo Hall were ecstatic to see a certain former Never Openweight Champion make his way to ring. Katsuyori Shibata made his return to New Japan Pro Wrestling at the G1 Climax 27 Finals.
In case you didn’t know...
Shibata won the right to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Sakura Genesis 2017 following his victory in the 2017 New Japan Cup.
During his match with the champion, Kazuchika Okada, Shibata hit a stiff headbutt that led to his collapse and he had to be rushed to an emergency room.
It was discovered at the hospital that Shibata suffered from a subdural hematoma and it caused him to experience some paralysis on his right side.
The heart of the matter
Just before the G1 Climax Intermission, Shibata’s music played to the delight of the fans in attendance. He came out not wearing wrestling attire, but got in the ring and took a bump on the mat.
With tears forming in his eyes and the crowd waiting for his first words since being back on NJPW programming, Shibata only spoke two words in Japanese which translated to.
“I am alive. That’s all.”
After sharing those brief words, Shibata bowed before everyone in the Ryogoku Sumo Hall before taking his leave.
The injuries Shibata suffered at Sakura Genesis 2017 were reported by Dave Meltzer as being career-ending, but Shibata may stay involved with NJPW outside of the ring.
NJPW was reportedly looking to sign Shibata as a coach, but there has been no further news on that as of now.
Shibata returning at the G1 Climax surely was a great surprise for the fans. Shibata’s appearance in the G1 tournament had been consistent since his return to the promotion in a few years ago and the fans definitely appreciated the sentiment.