Katsuyori Shibata: Emotion Has Been Missing From NJPW
Criticism from Shibata
Katsuyori Shibata has been critical of recent New Japan Pro-Wrestling matches in an interview on the promotion's website.
The Wrestler returned to the squared circle in October in a UWF Rules Exhibition Match against Zack Sabre Jr. and he claimed his five-minute encounter was "the antithesis of recent NJPW" due to the emotion of the match.
"I think there's a will and an emotion that's been missing in a lot of NJPW matches in Japan of late. You might say what you saw in that five minutes was the antithesis of recent NJPW," Shibata began.
"Look, I'm not throwing anybody under the bus at all. Every single one of the wrestlers are busting their asses every night and I absolutely understand that. But there's an essence, something very important about NJPW that's been chipped away at. I can't really put it into words, but I think there are fans that feel without this X factor, it isn't quite NJPW, or isn't quite the NJPW that resonates with them, and that's been really hampered in this COVID era."
NJPW has been difficult to watch for many during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly as fans in Japan haven't been able to chant and have been restricted to just clapping. There is hope fans will be able to chant again in 2022, though.