Katsuyori Shibata Makes Surprise Appearance At Hirooki Goto's 20th Anniversary Show In Japan

Since his return to in-ring competition last year at Wrestle Kingdom 16, Katsuyori Shibata has primarily competed in AEW and ROH, currently holding the ROH Pure Championship and being based out of Los Angeles. However, that didn't stop him from making his presence known at an NJPW show in Japan earlier today, surprising his former tag team partner and close friend Hirooki Goto at the end of the latter's 20th Anniversary event.

According to Tokyo Sports, very few people knew Shibata was in Japan for the event, with Shibata even misleading Goto himself by saying he was busy in America and unable to attend the occasion. While Shibata's appearance at the show was simply to grant Goto a bouquet and congratulate him on his anniversary, the ROH Pure Champion did positively say he wanted to be able to wrestle his friend in the future now that he is cleared to compete. Shibata and Goto's bond goes far beyond just being former tag team partners. Years before winning the 2014 World Tag League and subsequently the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 9, the two were high-school classmates in Kuwana, Mie, Japan.

Due to the event being both Goto's anniversary and his homecoming, it also marked the first time since Shibata's injury that both men appeared in an NJPW ring in their home prefecture of Mie. While the former classmates anticipate another match with each other in the future, Shibata is set to return to America in the coming days. When he gets there, "The Wrestler" will be tasked with facing Alex Coughlin, who challenged Shibata to a title match on a recent episode of "ROH On HonorClub."