“I’m alive.”

Several months ago, Katsuyori Shibata suffered a nearly fatal injury in the ring in a match against IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. The injury, a subdural hematoma, left him in the hospital for several weeks as he suffered from ailments like temporary blindness and paralysis.

On Sunday, the New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) star made his emotional return to the ring and made the simple proclamation to the crowd in Tokyo for the G1 Climax Final.

Shibata’s fans and contemporaries in the business were cleared moved by the unexpected return.

It is still unclear what Shibata’s status would be for a potential return, but after the injury and prognosis he had in the immediate days following his emergency surgery, it is just good to see him out and walking again.

Background to Katsuyori Shibata’s injury

It is believed that Shibata’s injury happened during this headbutt that occurred 30 minutes into the 38-minute classic match against Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at the April 9 Sakura Genesis show.

Shibata had to be rushed to the hospital after the match, where he underwent an emergency five-hour surgery to treat the subdural hematoma. Subdural hematomas can often be fatal if not treated properly and immediately.

Since the injury, Shibata has spent a lot of his time in the hospital recovering. A lot of the updates since had been rather bleak, as Shibata was still dealing with vision issues and partial paralysis weeks after the initial occurrence.

Shibata is a former three-time NEVER Openweight Champion and tag team champion in NJPW. He had recently won the 2017 New Japan Cup, which had granted him a match against Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship — the most prestigious title in Japan.

Pro wrestler emotionally returns to the ring after nearly fatal injury New Japan Pro Wrestling
Bo was born in Atlanta, GA, and has always been a savvy sports follower. He attended Georgia Tech and has previously worked with ESPN TrueHoop, HawksHoop, and the Georgia Tech Newsroom. He covers national college football for FanBuzz.
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