Katsuyori Shibata talks his return, knew Zack Sabre Jr. was the right opponent

For the first time since 2017, Katsuyori Shibata competed in a sanctioned match for NJPW and he talked to Tokyo Sports about it

Photo Courtesy: New Japan Pro-Wrestling

Shibata discusses his return.

At New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s G1 Climax final show, coming out of an intermission, Zack Sabre Jr. made his way out to the ring and he was soon followed by Katsuyori Shibata who came dressed to compete. The two then had a five-minute exhibition UWF rules match.

The bout went to a time-limit draw but it was the first time Shibata competed for New Japan in a sanctioned match since suffering an acute subdural hematoma in 2017. Shibata did an interview with Tokyo Sports about his return and said he wanted to do it at the right time and knew Zack Sabre Jr. was the right opponent.

I wanted to do it at the right time. It was troublesome to ask about my condition, so I said, ‘Seeing is believing.’ I just expressed that it is [time]. Also, since it is such an era of Corona[virus], I wish I could see something like hope.

[Zack Sabre Jr. was] the right person. He’s always said that he can maximize [his time]. I wonder if there will be a battle with Zack [in the future]. On the contrary, other than Zack, I didn’t think about it.

The former NEVER Openweight Champion said being in that space again felt special and his desire to return full-time has only grown stronger. He added that there are days when he shows signs of improvement but then there are also days when he’s moving backwards. Despite that, he does not want to end with the recent UWF rules match.

It was the best space. It’s a special place. I have only this. It seems that the desire for a full-scale return has become stronger.

Every day I go three steps and go down two steps. Sometimes I go three steps and go down four or five steps. But I don’t want to give up there. I can do this. I’m not going to give up.

Shibata did get physical in 2019 at the G1 final show and he went after KENTA and fellow members of Bullet Club.

POST Wrestling has audio and written coverage of this year’s G1 in full and to check out that folder of content, click here.