AEW Announces The Signing Of Former ROH Pure Champion Katsuyori Shibata

Katsuyori Shibata is officially All Elite. On Saturday, AEW CEO Tony Khan announced on X (formerly Twitter) that the former ROH Pure Champion signed with the promotion. Khan thanked New Japan Pro Wrestling in his tweet for "making it happen."

Khan also shared a letter from Shibata, which notes how he got permission to join AEW from NJPW. He ended the letter by saying that he "dedicates" his "wrestling life" to AEW and Khan.

AEW signing Shibata is not a big surprise, considering that he has been part of several matches for the company this year, mostly by tagging with and facing Eddie Kingston. He made his AEW in-ring debut on the November 4, 2022, episode of "Rampage," where he faced AEW International Champion Orange Cassidy.

During 2023, Shibata wrestled even more matches for ROH, where he became the Pure Champion. Shibata lost the title last month, on the November 25 episode of "AEW Rampage," when he was defeated by Blackpool Combat Club's Wheeler Yuta. It was Yuta whom he defeated earlier this year in March for the gold, which he held for a total of 239 days.

During his NJPW career, Shibata held the NEVER Openweight Championship three times and was a former IWGP Tag Team Champion. Between 2017 and 2021, he was forced into retirement because of a subdural hematoma. He worked as a coach for the NJPW's Dojo in Los Angeles, before returning to the ring at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16.