Katsuyori Shibata (November 17, 1979) is a Japanese professional wrestler and mixed martial artist. In professional wrestling, he is known for his hard hitting offense and his realistic bouts. Katsuyori is the son of the late wrestler/referee Katsuhisa Shibata. He is currently working as a freelancer for New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he is a former IWGP Tag Team Champion.
Shibata attended Kuwana Kogyo High School in Kuwana, Mie, where he was classmates with Hirooki Goto. The son of former Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance and New Japan Pro Wrestling mid-carder Katsuhisa Shibata, Katsuyori was an amateur wrestler during his school days and was competing at national level in 1997.
Pro wrestling career
New Japan Pro Wrestling (1999–2004)
Shibata made his professional wrestling debut on October 10, 1999 facing close friend Wataru Inoue at a New Japan Pro Wrestling event. In 2000, Shibata took part in the 2000 Young Lion Cup, eventually finishing 3rd place with 6 points. During the tournament he was involved in a serious incident when he hit Masakazu Fukuda with an elbow drop during a match. Fukuda was in a coma and died 4 days later in hospital. Shibata and Wataru worked their way up the junior ranks together, though Shibata was a slight step ahead of Inoue throughout their joint rise, and subsequently challenged for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship first against Kendo Kashin on October 28, 2001 but lost. Shibata and Inoue also challenged for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship on two occasions both against The World Class Tag Team but lost both times. By 2003, Shibata graduated to the heavyweight division and joined the Makai Club wrestling as himself and as Makai #4. From there, he continued to rise in the ranks. In July 2003, Shibata challenged for both the IWGP Tag Team Championship and the IWGP U-30 Openweight Championship but failed to win either title. Shibata then entered the 2003 G1 Climax, where he placed 3rd in his block with 5 points. Shibata continued to grow in 2004. On July 19, 2004, he received his first shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Kazuyuki Fujita but lost by knockout. On month later, he entered the 2004 G1 Climax and won his block scoring eight points and defeated several former IWGP Champions including Masahiro Chono, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Genichiro Tenryu but would lose in the semi-finals to eventual winner: Hiroyoshi Tenzan. Following the G-1, Shibata joined Masahiro Chono's new stable: Black New Japan, where he remained until eventually leaving New Japan in January 2005.
In 2005, Shibata left New Japan, becoming a free lancer and has most notably fought for Big Mouth LOUD and Pro Wrestling Noah. One of his more famous matches was a heated confrontation with former amateur wrestler Jun Akiyama. In Loud, Shibata took on several big names including Satoshi Kojima, Kensuke Sasaki, & Taru. In Noah, Shibata teamed with Kenta on several occasions including challenging for the GHC Tag Team Championship and defeating Go Shiozaki and Mitsuharu Misawa where Shibata pinned the future heavyweight champion: Shiozaki. On January 4, 2006, Shibata returned to New Japan at Toukon Shidou Chapter 1 where he defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi. Shibata most recent match was on December 31, 2006, where he defeated Kazuhiro Hamanaka. By January 2007, Shibata left wrestling to focus on mixed martial arts.
Return to NJPW (2012–present)
On August 12, 2012, Shibata, alongside Kazushi Sakuraba, returned to New Japan Pro Wrestling. Shibata and Sakuraba wrestled their return match on September 23 at Destruction, defeating Hiromu Takahashi and Wataru Inoue in a tag team match. Shibata and Sakuraba, collectively dubbed Laughter7, continued their winning ways at the following two pay-per-views, King of Pro-Wrestling on October 8 and Power Struggle on November 11, both times defeating the team of Togi Makabe and Wataru Inoue. On January 4, 2013, at Wrestle Kingdom 7 in Tokyo Dome, Shibata suffered his first defeat since his return to professional wrestling, when he was defeated by Togi Makabe in a singles grudge match. On January 27, Shibata returned to Pro Wrestling Noah, once again affiliating himself with Kenta. Shibata and Sakuraba returned to their winning ways at the following New Japan pay-per-view, The New Beginning on February 10, where they defeated Hirooki Goto and Wataru Inoue in a tag team match. On April 7 at Invasion Attack, Shibata and Sakuraba suffered their first tag team loss, when they were defeated by Hirooki Goto and Yuji Nagata via referee stoppage, when Sakuraba was injured and unable to continue the match. Shibata and Goto faced off in a singles match on May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2013, which ended in a draw. A rematch between the two took place on June 22 at Dominion 6.22, where Shibata was victorious. A third match between the two on July 20 ended in another draw. From August 1 to 11, Shibata took part in the 2013 G1 Climax, where he finished with a record of five wins and four losses, with a loss against Hiroshi Tanahashi on the final day costing him a spot in the finals. On September 8, Shibata and Sakuraba took part in the Wrestle-1 promotion's inaugural event, defeating Masakatsu Funaki and Masayuki Kono in a tag team match. On December 7, Shibata made his in-ring return to Noah, defeating Maybach Taniguchi in a singles match.
On January 4, 2014, at Wrestle Kingdom 8 in Tokyo Dome, Shibata was defeated by Hirooki Goto, who was returning from an injury, which had kept him sidelined for the past five months. The match ended the rivalry between Shibata and Goto and led to the two forming a tag team. The two quickly entered the IWGP Tag Team Championship picture, defeating the reigning champions, Bullet Club (Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson), in a non-title match at New Japan's 42nd anniversary event on March 6. Shibata also expressed interest in challenging for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, but was told by the reigning champion, Kazuchika Okada, to earn his title shot at the 2014 New Japan Cup. In order to win the tournament, Shibata announced he was bringing back his old finishing move, the octopus hold. Shibata, however, failed in his attempt to win the tournament, losing to Shelton X Benjamin in his second round match on March 22. On April 6 at Invasion Attack 2014, Shibata and Goto received a shot at the IWGP Tag Team Championship, but were defeated by Gallows and Anderson. From July 21 to August 8, Shibata took part in the 2014 G1 Climax, where he finished fourth in his block with a record of six wins and four losses. During the tournament final event on August 10, Shibata and Goto faced off in another singles match, where Shibata was victorious. After entering a rivalry with Shinsuke Nakamura and becoming the number one contender to his IWGP Intercontinental Championship, it was announced that Shibata would be working the full October to November "Road to Power Struggle" tour, his first full tour with New Japan since his return. Shibata received his title shot on November 8 at Power Struggle, but was defeated by Nakamura. Later in the month, Shibata and Goto entered the 2014 World Tag League, where they opened with a three match losing streak, only to come back and win their four remaining matches, winning their block and advancing to the finals. On December 7, Shibata and Goto defeated Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson in the finals to win the 2014 World Tag League. This led to a rematch between the two teams on January 4, 2015, at Wrestle Kingdom 9 in Tokyo Dome, where Shibata and Goto defeated Anderson and Gallows to become the new IWGP Tag Team Champions. Shibata and Goto's reign ended in their first defense on February 11 at The New Beginning in Osaka, where they were defeated by Anderson and Gallows.
On March 8, Shibata and Goto once again faced off in the second round of the 2015 New Japan Cup in a match, where Goto was victorious. On April 5, a rivalry ignited between Shibata and Kazushi Sakuraba, after Sakuraba submitted Shibata in a tag team match at Invasion Attack 2015. The two faced off on July 5 at Dominion 7.5 in Osaka-jo Hall in a match, where Shibata was victorious. From July 20 to August 14, Shibata took part in the 2015 G1 Climax, where he finished in the middle of his block with a record of four wins and five losses.
Mixed martial arts career
Shibata debuted in mixed martial arts on May 15, 2004 at JF Jungle Fights 2 where he defeated Webster Dauphiney by an arm triangle choke in Round 1. Shibata returned to MMA in 2007 where he joined Fighting and Entertainment Group's K-1 Hero's, In his K-1 Hero's debut on March 12, 2007 at Hero's 8, he defeated Yoshihisa Yamamoto by TKO in 9 seconds. After two victories, Shibata went on a five fight losing streak. He lost to Ralek Gracie at K-1 Hero's: Middleweight Tournament Opening Round by submitting to an armbar. Shibata then lost to Kazushi Sakuraba at K-1 Hero's Tournament Final once again submitting to an armbar. Shibata fought his last K-1 Hero's fight at K-1 Olympia Hero'S 2007 in Korea on October 28, 2007 against Heo Min Seok. Shibata lost the fight by TKO in the 2nd round.
In 2008, Shibata began fighting for FEG's new organization: Dream. His first fight at Dream was a loss to Jason "Mayhem" Miller at Dream 3 by TKO. His next fight was against Yoshihiro Akiyama losing to him by Submission. Shibata then fought at Deep where he drew with Yasuhito Namekawa at Deep: 38 Impact. He then lost to Hayato Sakurai by TKO at Dynamite!! 2008.
After going winless for 2 years, Shibata would score his biggest victory to date at Dream 8 when he defeated Ikuhisa Minowa by Unanimous Decision. Later that year at Dream 12, he defeated fellow New Japan Pro Wrestling alumni: Tokimitsu Ishizawa by TKO. At Dynamite!! 2009, Shibata lost to Hiroshi Izumi by unanimous decision.
Shibata returned to Deep for two appearances in 2010. On June 6, 2010 he lost to Young Choi by unanimous decision. On October 24, he then faced Deep Light Heavyweight Champion Yoshiyuki Nakanishi at Deep: 50th Impact which he lost by TKO.
His most recent fight was a defeat to Satoshi Ishii at K-1 World Max 2010 on November 8, 2010.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- With Hirooki Goto
- With Kenta
- Double team finishing moves
- "The Wrestler"
Championships and accomplishments
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #174 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2014
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter