After years of giving his body, he will now be able to pass on his knowledge.
Katsuyori Shibata, who has spent 16 years in the sport of pro wrestling has now been presented with a gracious opportunity. Shibata, while a part of NJPW, would hold the NEVER Openweight Championship three times, won the New Japan Cup, as well as being known as one of the stiffest strikers in the sport. As mentioned, Shibata won the New Japan cup, which presents a major opportunity to said winner; in that they will be able to have the choice to challenge for either the IWGP Heavyweight, NEVER Openweight, or IWGP Intercontinental Titles. Shibata would select to go one-on-one with the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada.
Following Shibata's loss to Okada at 'Sakaura Genesis' last year, he was immediately rushed to the hospital as it would later be discovered that he had a subdural hematoma; which was caused by a brutal headbutt among many other factors. There were reports last year that claimed Shibata would never be able to wrestle again and he still has not as of yet. The last time that he was seen in a ring was when he appeared at the G1 Climax tournament for a surprise segment, which drew tears from the Japan crowd.
Now, it appears that Shibata will be getting back into the ring, but in a different role, as New Japan announced via Twitter that Shibata has been named the head coach of their dojo in Los Angeles.
Shibata is thrilled about his new position, as he would have the following to say, in great detail, about his new role:
“With rehab and training, I’ve been sensing it’s time to move past the struggle of finding what I am capable of doing. These days, I’ve had a burning desire to take on a new challenge… What can I do in my current state? I thought a change of pace was needed and the next thing I knew, I found myself in Los Angeles. By some twist of fate, my thoughts happened around the time the new NJPW dojo was being set up in LA. While getting the dojo ready, I had the chance to assemble the ring with some of the young wrestlers and train with them and I found myself doing wrestling moves I haven’t been able to do before. These days have been full of discovery and as I teach them things, I am learning too. Los Angeles’ weather is great, and it would be difficult to find an environment with better conditions. As I continue with my rehabilitation and training, I have a desire to pass down the fundamentals; the know-how and techniques and the philosophy that I have built up through my own experience in pro-wrestling to the younger generation here in Los Angeles.This is the best thing “I can do” right now and I believe it will benefit the young wrestlers of the next generation and the wrestling world as a whole. The good, classic Japanese pro-wrestling is starting to disappear from the current wrestling world, but we must never lose that fighting attitude and spirit of traditional Japanese pro-wrestling. I have accepted the mission to open the gates and transcend the cultural differences to pass down our knowledge to the younger generation. As the NJPW dojo opens in Los Angeles mid-March, I wanted to share my thoughts as I announce that I, Katsuyori Shibata, will lead the LA dojo as the head coach. That’s all I got to say."
Also announced as the assistant coach at the L.A. dojo, is former WrestleCircus Sideshow Champion, Scorpio Sky. The New Japan dojo in L.A. will open its doors on March 19th and those who enter, will be under the tutelage of one, Katsuyori Shibata.