Tony Khan is taking to Twitter to hype up tonight’s "dream match" on "AEW Rampage." "Katsuyori Shibata overcame dire obstacles to return to the ring," Khan tweeted. "Tonight Shibata will debut in AEW in a dream match!"
How we got here seems to have come together rather quickly, at least on-screen. The AEW All-Atlantic Championship was defended this past Wednesday on "AEW Dynamite," with the added stipulation that the winner of the Triple Threat match between champion Orange Cassidy and his two challengers — Luchasaurus and Rey Fenix — would have the opportunity to choose their dream opponent for Friday. Cassidy registered the win after pinning Fenix. Afterward, Cassidy was attacked by PAC, and that’s when a familiar theme song played. It was none other than NJPW’s Katsuyori Shibata making the save. Shibata then signed a contract to make his All-Atlantic Championship match with Cassidy official for "Rampage."
This isn’t the first time Cassidy and Shibata have crossed paths in AEW though. Following Cassidy’s bout with Will Ospreay at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door, he was attacked by members of United Empire. Shibata made his way out to save Cassidy, who returned the favor by putting his own sunglasses on him.
Many are wondering what to make of Shibata’s return to the ring, as he suffered a subdural hematoma back in 2017 that could’ve ended his life. The injury occurred during Shibata’s IWGP Heavyweight Championship match against Kazuchika Okada. Shibata did have what was supposed to be an exhibition match against Ren Narita at Wrestle Kingdom 16, but before the match began, Shibata grabbed the mic and said he was doing things under normal wrestling rules. It won’t be long before fans find out how this one will unfold.