Wheeler Yuta Wins ROH Pure Title On AEW Rampage, Katsuyori Shibata Taking Sabbatical

Wheeler Yuta is the new Ring Of Honor Pure Champion after capturing the title from Katsuyori Shibata on a special Saturday episode of "AEW Rampage," and the former champion will now be taking some time away from the ring. According to Fightful Select, Shibata dropped the championship to return to Japan for an extended period of time. The outlet reported he could "not wait" until after the upcoming ROH Final Battle pay-per-view to leave.


According to Fightful, Shibata was said to be "high" on the idea of Yuta stealing the title and the tease that he was going to injure Shibata before he was saved by HOOK, the idea being that it would be just enough that Shibata would need an extended period of no contact before he can return to action. Shibata was previously forced to retire after an injury in 2017, after suffering a subdural hematoma. After he made his return to the ring, he debuted in AEW at Forbidden Door 2022.

Shibata won the ROH Pure Championship at ROH Supercard of Honor 2023 when he defeated Yuta. Sources told Fightful that Shibata's leave was something ROH hoped he could put off until after the pay-per-view on December 15, presumably so he could drop the title there, but that was not possible. Shibata is reportedly happy in AEW and has said to have liked teaming with HOOK and Orange Cassidy. It's not yet known when he will return to ROH.