Credit: NJPW/TV Asahi

Katsuyori Shibata Announces Return Match At Wrestle Kingdom 16

An emotional moment in Ryogoku Sumo Hall, as Katsuyori Shibata announced that he will return to action at Wrestle Kingdom 16 on January 4th, 2022. After a devastating injury in April of 2017 robbed Shibata of his in-ring career, Shibata returned at various points throughout nearly-5 years, updating fans on his slowly-but-surely improving condition.

After a surprise grappling exhibition against Zack Sabre Jr. at this year’s G1 Climax Finals, fans were buzzing with anticipation after Shibata announced that he would have an announcement at this year’s joint Best of Super Juniors/World Tag League finals. Like all of his updates, it was a brief announcement. “I have a match on January 4th, that is all,” The Wrestler fighting back tears as he delivered the words.

There is no opponent announced, but the match adds an emotional pillar to the January 4th super show. January 4th will mark 1,731 days since Shibata suffered a head injury in his IWGP Heavyweight Title match against Kazuchika Okada on April 9th, 2017.

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16 will take place over three nights, with January 4th & 5th taking place in the Tokyo Dome, and a January 8th show in Yokohama, that will be a special NJPW vs. Pro Wrestling NOAH event to aid the Japanese Red Cross.