Katsuyori Shibata

Backstage Information Regarding Katsuyori Shibata’s Decision To Wrestle For ROH Rather Than NJPW

This past Saturday and Sunday were Tony Khan’s Ring of Honor’s first weekend of TV tapings, and it was notable since the company included talents like New Japan’s Zack Sabre Jr. and Clark Connors, indie wrestlers like Lady Frost, and former ROH talents like Silas Young and Shane Taylor.

The ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta calling out New Japan legend Katsuyori Shibata, presumably setting up a Pure Championship fight for Supercard of Honor, was possibly the greatest story to come out of the tapings. Before suffering a potentially fatal brain injury in 2017, Shibata was a full-time wrestler for New Japan, where he is still employed as a trainer.

It is understandable that many would wonder why Shibata isn’t competing in an ROH match. Dave Meltzer first said on the most recent episode of Wrestling Observer Radio that Shibata wasn’t being used in New Japan since he wasn’t cleared before swiftly correcting himself. Do you recall how he betrayed them? said, Meltzer.

Shibata and Narita

In Night One of Wrestle Kingdom 16 in January 2022, Shibata faced off against his protégé, Ren Narita, in his final match for New Japan. Shibata and Narita were supposed to compete in an exhibition contest, similar to Shibata’s return match against Zack Sabre Jr. a few months before. Instead, to the obvious dismay of the announcers, Shibata and Narita actually wrestled a typical New Japan match.

Shibata reportedly altered the terms of his match on the spot, and backstage New Japan officials reportedly “freaked out” over it. Shibata’s third match after the Wrestle Kingdom 16 match, should Yuta-Shibata become a reality. He lost to Tom Lawlor in a UWF Rules match in December after unsuccessfully challenging Orange Cassidy for the AEW All-Atlantic Title in November.

Inoki’s death

One of the most significant and influential figures in Japanese professional wrestling history has died. Antonio Inoki died at his home on Saturday, October 1, according to Yahoo! Japan. Although no cause of death was given, Inoki’s health issues in recent years were very well known. In an earlier interview this year, he admitted to being on the verge of death several times.

Inoki’s death was announced nearly 62 decades to the day following his pro wrestling debut on September 30, 1960, at the age of 17. Another literal and symbolic giant in Japanese wrestling history, Inoki’s future tag team partner Shohei Baba, decided to make his in-ring debut for the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance on the same card. The departures of Inoki and Baba from the JWA forever altered the course of Japanese wrestling. Inoki established New Japan Pro-Wrestling in 1972, whereas Baba established All Japan Pro Wrestling. The JWA imploded without two of its top stars.


Sheena Bhandari is a Pro Wrestling Editor and enthusiast, working here at Clout News.