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New Japan Pro Wrestling

NJPW: Katsuyori Shibata Says He’s Not Done Yet

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New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Katsuyori Shibata is gearing up for his new role as the Head Trainer for NJPW dojo, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t having aspirations of returning to the ring.

During a fan expo at the dojo to hype up the March 24 Strong Style Evolved event, Shibata was participating in a meet and greet event. During the event, the former NEVER Openweight champion was asked about his health and whether or not he was retired from in-ring action.

Shibata replied by saying he is not retired but rather is focusing on training wrestlers. Although he is committing to his role as a trainer, Shibata indicated that he does plan to wrestle again. Below is a Tweet from SoCal Uncensored.

Shibata has been out of the ring for almost a year. He sustained an injury during his main event match with IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada at NJPW’s Sakura Genesis last April. He was taken to the hospital after the match and was diagnosed with subdural hematoma.

Prior to the injury, Shibata was a on roll, having just won the 2017 New Japan Cup to earn the title shot against Okada. He had spent much of his singles run chasing the NEVER Openweight title, as well as wrestling in Europe and the United States.

Shibata underwent successful surgery, followed by months of rehabilitation. He made an appearance during the G1 Climax Tournament where he said he “was alive.” Many pundits believe Shibata will never be cleared to wrestle again.

This new training endeavor for Shibata will provide him a chance to heal his body as well as pass on his knowledge and experience to aspiring wrestlers. Many fans would love to see him make a successful return. But fans also understand that he needs time and rehabilitation for his body to heal.

That being said, there is hope for Shibata’s return. Former WWE Champion Daniel Bryan was recently cleared by WWE to return to the ring and even participated in a physical confrontation with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn on Smackdown. There’s speculation that he will wrestle a match at Wrestlemania, most likely tagging with Shane McMahon to face Zayn and Owens.

Bryan’s clearance came almost two years after he announced his in-ring retirement from WWE. There’s speculation that he would have wrestled outside of WWE when his contract expired and would be cleared by medical experts – and now WWE will have him examined after every match. The point is, Bryan’s body has seemingly healed from some of the damage and wear and tear of the ring. There is the same hope for Shibata and other wrestlers who have sustained a serious injury – or multiple injuries – and are out of action.

https://youtu.be/NeNpi4Ybsts

Speaking of injury – or potential injury – Wrestle Inc. reported an injury scare at last night’s WWE event in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

Apollo hurt his right knee during a tag team match with himself and Titus O’Neil facing Raw Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Sheamus.

New Japan Pro Wrestling

NJPW’s Harold Meij Comments on Departing Talent

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With the departures of Cody Rhodes, the Young Bucks, Chris Jericho, and the likely forthcoming departure of Kenny Omega, New Japan Pro Wrestling has been reeling.

New Japan Pro Wrestling president Harold Meij commented on the departures of the The Elite members, and other talent, most of whom are moving to either WWE or AEW.

Meij: ‘Talent will come & go. That’s life. Half of Japanese people have had more than one occupation. More overseas. There are different life stages, priorities change. What counts is that while here, ppl shine as bright as possible & produce the best product possible for us’— chris charlton (@reasonjp) January 9, 2019

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New Japan Pro Wrestling

Chase Owens Re-Signs With NJPW

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NJPW is expected to lose Kenny Omega at the end of the month, who announced he would be leaving when his contract expires at the end of the month, but they will not be losing Chase Owens.

“The Crown Jewel” Chase Owens has also officially re-signed with NJPW, making the official announcement on Twitter.

Happy to announce I have signed contract with njpw. #packagedrivereveryone2019— chase owens (@realchaseowens) January 7, 2019

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IWGP

Chris Jericho Vows to End Tetsuya Naito’s Career

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IWGP Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho is gearing up for his title defense against Naito at Wrestle Kingdom 13 on January 4th, and he is vowing to end Naito’s career when the two finally meet in the ring.

My message to @s_d_naito#WrestleKingdom13 will be the LAST MATCH of your great career! @njpwworld @njpw1972 pic.twitter.com/n6w3qaxvT5— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) December 21, 2018

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