Meltzer reported that Shibata had his brain removed during surgery

Hamish Woodward

Dave Meltzer has a difficult time recently, reporting some absolute nonsense in the name of “wrestling journalism”.

While he does get some undue stick at the best of times, there was nothing indefensible about his recent report regarding a backstage segment, featuring The Rock and Triple H.

He claimed the intention was to build to a match between the two, even though the video in question came from an episode of Smackdown in 2015. He quickly retracted his statement and pretended it never happened.

Meltzer also reported fake information about Dragon Gate in the past, citing a lying source which he failed to check the veracity of before publishing their claims.

However, you’ll be pleased to know that this isn’t the worst thing Meltzer has ever misreported.

Katsyori Shibata injured himself with a headbutt against Kazuchika Okada

One of the most egregious errors made by Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer happened after the horrendous injury suffered by Katsuyori Shibata in 2017.

During his match against Kazuchika Okada at NJPW’s Sakura Genesis 2017, Shibata hit Okada with a real headbutt that was one of the worst moves in wrestling history.

“The Wrestler” immediately felt blood trickle down his face, as his head was rocked by the shoot headbutt that left him feeling loopy.

Shibata finished the match, but collapsed as soon as he got backstage. He was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with a subdural hematoma.

This caused internal bleeding on his brain, which gave him significant damage to the left side of the brain and caused temporary paralysis on the right side of his body.

While he eventually healed himself and returned to the ring for NJPW and AEW, there was a real suggestion that Shibata’s injury could have killed him.

Meltzer reported Shibata had his brain removed from his head

Following Shibata’s return to the ring against Ren Narita at Wrestle Kingdom 16, Dave Meltzer marvelled at the former IWGP Intercontinental Champion’s astonishing emergence in New Japan.

He noted that Shibata had been told he would never wrestle again, before adding the odd claim that doctors had removed the wrestler’s brain when operating on him following his injury against Okada.

In the Wrestling Observer from the January 10, 2022 edition of the newsletter, Meltzer wrote:

“Shibata’s return is an amazing story because he had brain surgery and was very close to death after his April 2017 match with Okada where he delivered a sick head-butt and ended up with bleeding on his brain, and needing emergency surgery to save his life.

“They had to remove his brain during surgery and put it back in. At the time, doctors said there was no way possible he could ever wrestle again.”

Obviously, this is nonsense. Nobody could have their brain removed from their body, before having it reattached and continue to live.

People have lived with part of their brain being removed, but any experiments of brain transplants on monkeys have all ended with the subjects dying very soon after, if not immediately.

Obviously, Shibata is a lot tougher than your average monkey, but even so, there is no way he could survive having his brain removed.

Dave Meltzer should know better, being a journalist for the past 40 years.

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