NJPW's Katsuyori Shibata Comments On In-ring Return

The Wrestler has returned

NJPW shocked the world last week when Katsuyori Shibata returned to in-ring competition after four years away, wrestling an un-announced UWF rules exhibition match against Zack Sabre Jr. at the G1 Climax 31 Finals.

Following his quick bout, Shibata hinted that he would wrestle again, and has spoken of his in-ring return with Tokyo Sports, saying:

"I wanted to do it at the right time. I wasn’t sure if I'd be able to do it, but I wanted to be able to do it. I also thought it would be nice to provide a bit of hope in this time of COVID.”

Despite being forced into retirement due to a life threatening subdural haematoma in 2017, Shibata has still been very involved with NJPW, working as head trainer at the New Japan LA Dojo, and getting physical with KENTA during the latter’s joining of Bullet Club.

“The ring is a great space. It's a special place. This is the only way for me,” continued Shibata “My desire to make a full-fledged comeback has only grown stronger.

"I'm living my life one step at a time, and each year the ring gets closer and closer. Anyway, if I don't have a goal, I don't really know who I am, so I always keep it there. As Okada said when I was injured, ‘pro wrestlers are superhuman.’

“I know my body better than anyone else. Sometimes it's three steps forward and four or five steps back. But I don't want to give up. It's the only thing I can do. I'm not going to give up. I wouldn't be doing this job if I was a quitter."

Interview originally in Japanese, translated into English with Deepl.

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Written by Jack Atkins

Scripts, news, and features writer. Anything with words, basically.