Katsuyori Shibata is looking to get cleared to step into a ring once again.
According to Dave Meltzer in the latest edition of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Shibata is looking to get medically cleared following his recent appearance on the final night of the G1 Climax tournament.
“Katsuyori Shibata, he hasn’t been cleared, but he will be attempting to get cleared,” Meltzer stated. “He trains with his students, but the issue in question is whether it can ever be healthy for him to take head shots, and if he were to return as Katsuyori Shibata, can they work around that issue within the New Japan style.”
In 2017, Shibata collapsed backstage after a match with Kazuchika Okada at Sakura Genesis. The injury was caused by Shibata’s use of a headbutt, which he had been doing regularly since the prior year. Following his collapse, he was rushed to hopsital, where he was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma, which required emergency surgery. This caused Shibata to experience paralysis on one half of his body, and many to believe he would never wrestle again.
Following his recovery, Shibata was appointed head coach of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s dojo in Los Angeles, CA.
Shibata made a surprise appearance at the finals of the G1 Climax tournament earlier this month. Although he was not medically cleared to compete, he was involved in an angle with The Bullet Club, where he was beatdown.