Japanese wrestler Katsuyori Shibata recently return to the ring after a life-threatening injury and now seems to have signed for All Elite Wrestling. “The Wrestler” made his debut at Forbidden Door earlier this year and made his next appearance on this weeks AEW Dynamite, saving Orange Cassidy from an attack from PAC.
Cassidy had just defended his All-Atlantic Championship against Rey Fenix and Luchasaurus and was not in the best physcial state after the bout, with long-term rival PAC taking advantage of that fact. However, Shibata was on hand to save the Best Friends member and chase the former champion out of tHe ring.
After saving Cassidy, Shibata pointed to the All-Atlantic Championship belt and signed the open contract for a championship match. The bout was set – NJPW Legend Katsuyori Shibata vs Orange Cassidy in a dream match on this Friday’s AEW Rampage.
A dream match for sure and one fans never would have expected. Orange Cassidy blew up in popularity in 2019 upon his debut after toiling on the independent scene for over a decade. He was most famous as Fire Ant in Chikara before transitioning into his current gimmick which helped him become one of the most popular wrestlers in the world. He has since been a part of some high profile feuds against big stars like Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho and Adam Cole.
Katsuyori Shibata vs Orange Cassidy is a match nobody ever expected to happen. Shibata was forced to retire in 2017 after a match against Kazuchika Okada ended in disaster. An errant headbutt at the end of the match by Shibata was too much and he suffered a subdural hematoma on his brain, which caused some paralysis and threatened to kill him.
However, he returned to wrestling in 2021 in a safe-style match with Zack Sabre Jr, before wrestling a full comeback match against Ren Narita at Wrestle Kingdom 16. It was rumoured his next match would be against KENTA at next years’ event, as the two have been feuding for a number of years, even before he was cleared to wrestle.
Shibata is set to wrestle his first match in AEW this Friday against Orange Cassidy, but that is not the only match that he has requested in the company. According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, he requested to wrestle two AEW stars that we could see very soon inside the ring – Orange Cassidy and Bryan Danielson.
The match with Orange Cassidy is now booked, likely because he is san incredibly safe worker who will protect Shibata inside the ring and keep his injury in mind. Meanwhile, Bryan Danielson vs Katsuyori Shibata will be a hard-hitting affair, with the former WWE Champion never letting up with his aggressive style and hard-hitting attacks.
However, he is also one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. If anybody can make Shibata look good but keep him incredibly safe then look no further than the American Dragon himself.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.