2022 has been one of the most surreal years in pro wrestling history. If you asked me in January to make some bold predictions for the year, I doubt that I would have been bold enough to guess Vince McMahon would resign from WWE or that CM Punk’s relationship with AEW would be damaged beyond repair. But given some of the troubles that Vince and Punk have been embroiled with in the past, as well as Vince’s age, these weren’t impossible scenarios to consider.
That leads me to the main point of this post. This week’s live episode of Rampage provides wrestling fans with a match that I don’t think anybody could have seen coming at the beginning of the year: Katsuyori Shibata will wrestle for AEW on Rampage in Atlantic City, New Jersey, against Orange Cassidy for the All-Atlantic championship, and Mike Tyson will be on commentary for the match. What the hell?
Why is a rare Shibata match taking place in New Jersey (rather than saving it for Japan) on a late Friday night in front of a small TV audience? It’s because Rampage isn’t a B show.
Okay, I’m just kidding about that, so let’s get to the real explanation. According to Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer, Shibata specifically requested this match with Cassidy, and now is a good time to fit it into his schedule.
“Shibata told AEW that he had two matches he wanted in AEW: Orange Cassidy and Bryan Danielson. So, they are going to work on doing both of them. And obviously, this was the first one. And he’s free this week, and so they made it this week.”
The more interesting tidbit there is that Shibata wants a match with Bryan Danielson, which will certainly get fans of those stars salivating for the fight.
With that explanation out of the way, fans can now look ahead and wonder what kind of match Shibata and Cassidy can work together given Shibata’s limitations after suffering a devastating injury in 2017. And if the plan is to work a match with Bryan Danielson after this, will that match be hurt if Shibata does the job in New Jersey on Friday night in front of Mike Tyson?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below on Shibata’s planned matches in AEW, Cagesiders.