Bryan Danielson vs Katsuyori Shibata “Got Me Very Excited”, Says Tony Khan

Hamish Woodward

AEW

AEW President Tony Khan has revealed that Bryan Danielson vs Katsuyori Shibata could happen in AEW – revealing that the Japanese star has requested to wrestle the American Dragon in recent months.

The revelation comes months after the incredible Forbidden Door show, which brought together wrestlers from New Japan and AEW in a collaborative show that wowed fans all across the globe. Bryan Danielson was supposed to wrestle Zack Sabre Jr at the show, but concussion issues forced him to miss the match and was replaced by Claudio Castagnoli.

Shibata himself did appear at the show – he ran in for the save on Orange Cassidy after his match with Will Ospreay, teasing a bout between the two New Japan stars. He later wen ton to wrestle Cassidy on AEW Rampage in November 2022, marking his first proper match back since his injury against Kazuchika Okada in 2017.

Now he can wrestle again, a number of dream matches can now be achieved. These include Shibata vs Danielson, as two icons of the business who revolutionised their styles of wrestling and had their careers cut short due to brain injuries.

While this match seemed like a pipe dream just a few years before, Katsuyori Shibata vs Bryan Danielson is now a real possibility and wanted by everyone – including the two competitors, NJPW and Tony Khan himself.

During Tony Khan’s interview with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrate, he revealed all parties would like to see Danielson vs Shibata and its a very real possibility after Shibata vs Orange Cassidy was concluded.

“There was interest from all three parties—AEW, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and Katsuyori Shibata. I am a big fan of Shibata, and I have a great relationship with the New Japan Pro-Wrestling office. When we started working together earlier this year to promote Forbidden Door, they mentioned to me that Shibata is a big AEW fan—and that he was very interested in fighting for AEW.

That got me very excited. He’s one of the top wrestlers of this century, and he is also an amazing comeback story. I’m so excited that the next step in his comeback is to come here and challenge for the AEW All-Atlantic Championship. He also wants to wrestle Bryan Danielson. If he wins the belt from Orange Cassidy, then that could be a title match.”

With both men rumoured to be wrestling at Wrestle Kingdom 17 and Kenny Omega already confirmed as an AEW wrestling at the event (facing Will Ospreay in a match for the IWGP United States Championship),there is a real possibility that the two could do battle at the event.

However, AEW are making their debut that night in Danielson’s home state of Seattle. This makes it unlikely the match will take place on that night but could be something planned for Forbidden Door 2 in 2023.

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