NJPW star Katsuyori Shibata recently did an interview with Justin Barrasso from Sports Illustrated.

This week at Wrestle Kingdom 16, Shibata will be having his first official match since 2017. He was forced into early retirement in 2017 after he suffered a subdural hematoma during a match against Kazuchika Okada.

In October 2021, he did take part in a 5-minute exhibition against Zack Sabre Jr. on the final night of the G1 Climax 31. 

During the interview with SI, Katsuyori Shibata spoke about how the L.A. Dojo kept him strong.

“If I had not been injured, the L.A. Dojo would not have come about,” said Shibata. “I was not able to have a match, but I was wrestling in spirit with all the L.A. Dojo boys. That kept me strong, and it will bring new opportunities for so many who love New Japan Pro-Wrestling. So a lot of good has come from this.”

Also during the interview, Shibata revealed how he feels that modern wrestling has gotten away from the fundamentals. He noted that today’s wrestlers are too focused on “big, flashy moves.”

“I think a lot of today’s wrestlers are very focused on big, flashy moves, and modern wrestling has gotten away from the fundamentals,” he noted.  “Those fundamentals and that base are what is most important to New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and that is what I am constantly looking to further.”

Wrestle Kingdom 16 is on January 4 and 5. Katsuyori Shibata will be wrestling during Night One in a “Catch Wrestling Rules” match. His opponent is still to be determined.

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