Do you want to see Will Ospreay vs Katsuyori Shibata in New Japan?
Shibata came to the aid of Orange Cassidy after his defeat to Ospreay in a five-star match at Forbidden Door. The pair fought an incredible bout in which the Englishman was victorious, but the post match beat down spoiled what was a fantastic bout
Ospreay and his United Empire stable attached Orange Cassidy, before holding off the attack from Rappongi Vice (Trent and Rocky Romero). However, the fans went wild when the familiar sounds of the iconic entrance music blared through the speakers, and Katsuyori Shibata walked through the Forbidden Door to confront Will Ospreay.
This could be setting up what many thought was an impossible match – Will Ospreay vs Katsuyori Shibata.
Will Ospreay vs Katsuyori Shibata
After Katsuyori Shibata attacked Will Ospreay after the latter defeated Orange Cassidy at Forbidden Door, fans were excited by a potential Shibata vs Ospreay match.
Shibata was forced to retire in 2017 after a headbutt on Kazuchika Okada caused him to have a subdural hematoma, which almost killed him. He was lucky to avoid paralysation, and was immediately assumed to be retired as soon as he was carted out of the ring to the backstage area.
However, the impossible did later happen. In the 2021 G1 Climax Final, Katsuyori Shibata made a shock return to the ring, facing off with Zack Sabre Jr in a “five minute exhibition” match. The match was fought under special rules that prohibited any bumps from being taken to protect Shibata, and the match ended in a draw to the delight of the Japanese fans.
He made another huge return to the ring at Wrestle Kingdom 16, when it was announced that he would compete in his first official match back in 5 years. While the match, like the exhibition at the G1, was meant to include no bumps for Shibata, he grabbed a microphone before the match and declared the match to be full rules, like any other New Japan match.
He defeated Ren Narita in a real match, taking full bumps and wowing a crowd that never thought they’d ever see him alive again, let alone wrestling inside a NJPW ring. He was rumoured for a match against KENTA after Wrestle Kingdom, although that match has yet to take place.
With his recent dipping his toe in the wrestling water, fans are expecting another match, if not a full run, from Shibata. While his health status is currently a mystery and no-one knows if his brain is able to take the bumps and strikes he used to, fans hold out hope that a fully fit Shibata can step into the ring again.
Shibata vs Ospreay could be the match to bring him back full time. The Wrestler looked great as he hit all his signature moves on Ospreay and chased him out of the ring, saving Orange Cassidy from a dangerous end.
After the save, Orange Cassidy gave Shibata his sunglasses and the pair posed in the ring. This could be leading to a tag team match, which would be a lot better on Shibata by reducing the amount of bumps he would have to take in a match with Will Ospreay.
This could lead to a match, in AEW or NJPW, where Orange Cassidy teams with Katsuyori Shibata and Roppongi Vice to take on a combination of wrestlers from Will Ospreay’s United Empire stable. This would definitely be preferable, because nobody will know how Shibata could manage a full match in his current state.
It may be medically better for Katsuyori Shibata to retire than wrestle once more vs Will Ospreay. However, if he is fit then I can think of no better opponent for one of the world’s finest wrestlers than the best wrestler England has to offer and a former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.
Let us know in the comments if you would like to see Will Ospreay vs Katsuyori Shibata in a NJPW ring? Or would you rather Shibata stays retired?
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.