It’s been over five years since Katsuyori Shibata wrestled his final match. He faced Kazuchika Okada in the main event of the first Sakura Genesis event in a match for the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Often considered one of the best matches of all time, Shibata truly left it all in the ring when he launched a headbutt and caused an internal bleed in his skull.
He finished the match, and had to go for surgery. Afterwards, it was determined he would probably never wrestle again. He returned to tell fans “I am still alive! That is all.” at the finals of the G1 Climax in 2017. We’d see him around in 2019 for the G1 Climax where he helped train up both Hirooki Goto & KENTA.
KENTA Betrayed Shibata & Joined Bullet Club, And Still Wants A Match
By the end of the tournament, KENTA would show his true colours when he attacked Shibata and joined up with BULLET CLUB. This would lead to Shibata getting physical with KENTA, hitting the Hesitation Dropkick before being overwhelmed by the villainous faction. This was the last time we’d see Shibata get physical, and KENTA still wants this match.
KENTA would take to Twitter and recall Shibata introducing him into NJPW for the G1 Climax, with the following caption: “Two years ago today. I’m waiting.” While Shibata & KENTA are rivals now, they were once a promising tag team in Pro Wrestling NOAH, even challenging for the GHC Tag Team Championships. If Shibata is to wrestle again, KENTA is someone he can trust in the ring, and they have a perfect storyline.
Katsuyori Shibata Has Become The Main Coach In The LA Dojo
While Shibata hasn’t wrestled in five years, he’s been staying in shape as the head trainer at the LA Dojo. His students include Karl Fredericks, Clark Connors, Alex Coughlin, and even Ren Narita from the Japan Dojo came over to learn from Shibata on excursion. By all accounts, he’s a great trainer, and is creating a new generation of hard hitting wrestlers.
It’s unlikely that Shibata gets back in the ring for another match, but with names like Edge & Daniel Bryan returning from retirement, anything feels possible. Do you hope to see Shibata once again hit the ring? Would he defeat KENTA? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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