According to the Wrestling Observer, Katsuyori Shibata’s shocking return to action for an angle with KENTA at today’s G1 Climax final was a surprise for most of the NJPW talent backstage, who had no idea Shibata would be delivering offense after being forced to retire from in-ring competition due to bleeding from the brain that required surgery. Reports are that only a select few members of management were made aware of Shibata’s involvement. There is no official word on whether this was a one-off, or if the former IWGP NEVER Openweight champion will be returning to work a proper feud with KENTA.
In case you missed it…during the preliminary tag matches for today’s show…KENTA betrayed partners Tomohiro Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI, and officially aligned with the Bullet Club. Shibata would come out to confront KENTA, fighting him and several members of the faction, but eventually succumbing to the numbers game and getting laid out himself. KENTA would then sit cross-legged on top of Shibata in a sign of great disrespect, sending the live crowd from Budokan Hall into a frenzy of boos.