Late in his IWGP Heavyweight Championship match against Kazuchika Okada at Sakura Genesis yesterday, Katsuyori Shibata hit a maneuver that’s become something of a trademark of his over these last few months, a stiff skull-on-skull headbutt that leaves a trickle of blood running down his forehead.
It’s a dramatic image and nausea-inducing at the same time, and it seems that damn bust-open headbutt may have finally caught up to him. Shibata collapsed on his way to the back after the match and was taken to a local medical facility, where he was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma, or in layman’s terms, blood was gathering between the outer layers of his brain.
Tokyo Sports reported (hat tip, as always, to Chris Charlton for translation) that he was talking, but hazy, and numb down his right side. Fortunately, New Japan has confirmed the former NEVER Openweight Champion went in for surgery to correct the issue and is now recovering. As far as a return to the ring, nothing has been said one way or the other, and Shibata is not announced for any upcoming shows at this time.
New Japan promise further updates when they have them.
There you have it, folks
Let’s all wish the Wrestler a speedy recovery and a safe return, Cagesiders.