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NJPW's Katsuyori Shibata announces Wrestle Kingdom 16 in-ring return


The Wrestler will wrestle at Wrestle Kingdom. 

Katsuyori Shibata announced his imminent in-ring return for night one of Wrestle Kingdom 16 on January 4 in the Tokyo Dome. Shibata made the announcement just before intermission at today's Best of the Super Juniors and World Tag League finals show in Sumo Hall. No opponent has been announced. 

Shibata's announcement was one of the selling points of today's event, but The Wrestler kept it short and sweet. While fighting back tears, he simply stated that he will have a match on January 4.

The announcement coming at Sumo Hall was symbolic. Shibata's last official match came in the same building against Kazuchika Okada in April 2017. Shibata suffered a subdural hematoma in the match and was forced to retire as a result. Shibata appeared at the G1 finals that same year in the same building, walked to the ring, took a flat-back bump and declared "I am still alive!" 

Shibata returned to the ring at this year's G1 Climax finals in October, facing Zack Sabre Jr. in a five-minute UWF rules exhibition match. The exhibition was mostly an exchange of holds and grappling, with Shibata not taking bumps.