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Katsuyori Shibata to make 'major' announcement at NJPW event

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Katsuyori Shibata will make a "major announcement" at the December 15 NJPW World Tag League Finals and Best of the Super Juniors 28 Finals show in Sumo Hall in Ryogoku. 

According to a post on the NJPW website, "Shibata has expressed he has a major announcement that he would like to deliver directly to the fans."

Although Shibata faced Zack Sabre Jr. in a five-minute UWF rules exhibition match at this year's G1 Climax finals on October 21, he has not had an official match since NJPW Sakura Genesis in April 2017.

After winning the 2017 New Japan Cup, Shibata was challenging Kazuchika Okada at Sakura Genesis for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. During their match, Shibata suffered a subdural hematoma and had to have emergency surgery as a result of the injury. His in-ring career was thought to be over, though after he got physical during an angle with KENTA at the 2019 Power Struggle show, it was reported that he had sought to be medically cleared to return to the ring. 

In an interview with NJPW's website, Shibata said that he treated the October grappling match with Zack Sabre Jr. as a comeback match. 

"I mean, Budokan felt like a comeback to me. That grappling match was Katsuyori Shibata’s pro-wrestling. Everything about these last four and a half years was Katsuyori Shibata’s pro-wrestling, and I’m proud of it, all of it. Now whether it counts within some official rules or not, I don’t know, but take from it what you will," Shibata said. 

"But that wasn’t the end point. There’s more to this."

Shibata has served as the head coach at NJPW's LA Dojo in Los Angeles, California since 2018.