Katsuyori Shibata discusses his return.
At the G1 Climax 31 Finals, fans got a big surprise as Katsuyori Shibata returned to competition. Shibata battled Zack Sabre Jr in a five-minute exhibition that ended in a draw. After the exhibition, Shibata promised that the next match would be for real before taking a back bump.
"I wanted to do it at the right time. I didn't want to be asked a lot of questions about my condition, so I just said, 'Seeing is believing,' and expressed that this is where I am now. I also thought it would be nice if I could see a little bit of hope in this time of Corona," he said. "It was a great space. It's a special place. This is the only way for me. My desire to make a full-fledged comeback seems to have grown stronger. I'm living my life one step at a time, and year by year, the ring is getting closer and closer. Anyway, if I don't have a goal, I really don't know who I am, so I always keep it there. As Okada said when I was injured, pro wrestlers are superhuman. Three steps forward, two steps back. Sometimes I take three steps forward and four or five steps back. But I don't want to give up. This is all I can do. I'm not going to give up. If I didn't, I wouldn't be doing this job.”
Shibata hasn't wrestled since April 2017 due to a subdural hematoma. He was involved in an angle with KENTA in 2019, but a match never came to fruition. He helps train the young lions at the NJPW LA Dojo.
Speaking about ZSK as the opponent, Shibata said, "He has been eager to fight for some time. I think I can maximize what he can express right now, and he's been saying that for a long time. I thought that after the bout with Zack, I'd be able to see where I was going. On the contrary, I was thinking of no one but Zack."
Shibata and ZSJ famously battled over the RevPro British Heavyweight Title when Shibata was active.
It is unknown when Shibata will make an official return to the ring.