In certainly one of the most feel-good moments of the 2017 G1 Climax, Katsuyori Shibata made his first public New Japan appearance in months.
Shibata appeared at the G1 Climax finals where he addressed the crowd since suffering a during his last match against Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight title
Shibata briefly spoke to crowd at the Sumo Hall in Tokyo, simply saying “I’m alive! That's all.”
During his match with Okada at the April 9 Sakura Genesis show, Shibata hit a brutal headbutt and was rushed to the hospital after the show. He was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma, a pooling of blood outside of the brain resulting from severe head trauma, which is an injury with a high rate of fatality.
It was reported shortly after that he was experiencing paralysis on one side of his body and that his injury was likely a result of the headbutt and dehydration Shibata had during the match.
The 37-year-old Shibata is a three-time NEVER Openweight Champion and won the 2017 New Japan Cup, which set up Shibata’s title match against Okada.