NJPW's Katsuyori Shibata: I Probably Only Have A Couple Of Matches Per Year Left In Me​

Enjoy Shibata while he's back

It has been made official. Katsuyori Shibata will return to the ring inside the Tokyo Dome at Wrestle Kingdom 16 on January 4, 2022.

The Wrestler made his "major announcement" at today's NJPW World Tag League 2021/Best Of Super Juniors 28 finals event from Sumo Hall and Shibata simply said, "January 4, I've got a match." 

Speaking to KAMINOGE (translation by @golden_kuma) ahead of his announcement, Shibata revealed he probably only has a handful of matches left in him - likely two matches per year - and he will undergo medical testing before and after every match.

"Carefully. I'd like to talk to the doctor and the company about how often I should wrestle. This is just my feeling, but I probably have only a handful of matches left in me if I'm able to wrestle. A couple of matches per year. Just like the pace of MMA fights. I'll have medical tests before and after each match. I think I need to improve my physical conditions while seeking for matches/rules that fit it. So the exhibition match at the G1 finals show was a huge step forward," Shibata said.

The Wrestler had previously been forced to retire in 2017 after he suffered a subdural hematoma following Sakura Genesis. It was believed he would likely never wrestle again but he shockingly competed in a five-minute UWF Rules Exhibition Match against Zack Sabre Jr. in October of this year and Shibata revealed afterwards that he had a plan so he could make a full return. 

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Journalist/Editor-in-Chief of Cultaholic.com Twitter: @theaidangibbons