Shibata has only wrestled three times since a subdural hematoma forced him to retire in 2017. He faced Zack Sabre Jr. in an exhibition match at NJPW G1 Climax 31 Finals, and he also competed at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16. Shibata then returned to the ring on the November 4 episode of AEW Rampage, where he unsuccessfully challenged Orange Cassidy for the AEW All-Atlantic Championship.
Speaking with Tokyo Sports, Shibata reflected on the match and emphasized how he felt alive, as he’s been looking for the opportunity to perform. He stated that he aimed to give it his all, and he didn’t hesitate when he had the chance to compete.
“It’s frustrating, really,” Shibata said. “The result is the same, and I have a lot of things to reflect on in terms of my moves. I felt that I was back on the battlefield, and that the ring is special. Sometimes things go well, and sometimes things don’t go well. I really felt alive. I’ve been looking for a chance for a long time. I thought that if I waited in Japan, I would never get a chance. I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity I have now. I wanted to give it my all. I went there without hesitation.”
“I think I will fight in the near future,” Shibata said. “I’ve already started working on it.”
Check out the card for the November 9 episode of AEW Dynamite here.