New Japan Pro Wrestling star Katsuyori Shibata may not be legitimately injured, after all.
Earlier this week, NJPW issued a statement reporting on Shibata's injury and subsequent surgery, which would keep him off the company's upcoming tour that ends with major events on April 29 and May 3. Shibata was reported to have a subdural hematoma, which caused him to pass out after the conclusion of his battle with IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada in the main event of New Japan's Sakua Genesis event on April 9. However, The Wrestling Observer recently reported that Shibata's injury and surgery may all be an elaborate work.
"As best as I can tell, it's an angle," Dave Meltzer said on an episode of Wrestling Observer Radio earlier this week.
The Observer cited unnamed sources close to the situation, who said the Shibata injury was an intricate angle. Shibata also has been working with nagging injuries for the past while, so time off would allow him to rest. The Observer also reported that NJPW personnel were divided on whether the angle was real or not.
Shibata won this year's New Japan Cup tournament. He also is a former IWGP Tag Champion and a three-time NEVER Openweight Champion. He also is a former professional MMA fighter.
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