Reported Reason Why Katsuyori Shibata Dropped The ROH Pure Title

Wheeler Yuta is the new Ring of Honor Pure Champion, knocking off Katsuyori Shibata for the title last Friday night on "AEW Rampage." And while wearing that title for a third time certainly helps Yuta's standing in the Blackpool Combat Club, there were other behind-the-scenes issues at play in the decision to take the belt off Shibata right now. 


According to Fightful Select, Shibata had a need to return to Japan as quickly as possible and will be taking an extended stretch off. The hope was that "The Wrestler" might be able to hold off until after December's Final Battle. However, he was unable to stick around for several more weeks, leading to the call being made now to shift the title to Yuta. Shibata was high on the plan involving Yuta and HOOK, who also became involved in the angle, and while there is no certainty that Shibata will return, he has enjoyed his time with ROH that the goal is ultimately for him to come back when he can to pick up where he left off. 

Shibata first captured the ROH Pure Championship from Wheeler Yuta at this year's Supercard of Honor. Signed to New Japan Pro-Wrestling, he has been performing exclusively in the United States this year, working for AEW and Ring of Honor. He also traveled over to the U.K. over the summer for RevPro's 11-year Anniversary Show. Shibata was previously forced to retire from the ring in 2017 due to a major brain injury but he made a comeback in 2021 on the final night of NJPW's G1 Climax. Last year, expressed that "it's special to be in the ring" again.