Japanese wrestling is known for its stiff, hard-hitting approach to offense. In New Japan Pro Wrestling, nobody embodies that ethic more than Katsuyori Shibata. His hard-hitting style led him to consider retiring from the ring completely.
Shibata’s hiatus is over and he plans on taking things out on an unsuspecting opponent at this year’s Wrestling Kingdom at the Tokyo Dome. It is unknown who he will face at the huge annual event. We now know that it will be a much safer match. NJPW announced special rules for the Shibata bout at a press conference on December 27th.
The match will be wrestled under “Catch Wrestling Rules.” This means that throws, stretches, and submissions are legal. Strikes are banned from the bout. It is similar to a recent match between Shibata and Zack Sabre Jr.
“The match, contested between Shibata and a mystery opponent, will be under Catch Wrestling Rules. Stretches and submissions will be in use, as well as throws. Victory will be attained as usual, via pinfall, submission, countout etc. However, strikes of any kind will be prohibited.”
The unique style will protect Shibata from further injury while still allowing him to compete. It is remarkable that he is able to wrestle at all. You can check out the full cards for Wrestle Kingdom Night 1 below:
Night 1: January 4, 2022 @ 3:00 AM Eastern
TBD – New Japan Ranbo Match
YOH vs SHO
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Rocky Romero vs Taiji Ishimori, KENTA, and El Phantasmo
SANADA, BUSHI, and Tetsuya Naito vs Jeff Cobb, Great-O-Khan, and Will Ospreay
Tomohiro Ishii vs EVIL – NEVER Openweight Championship
Zack Sabre Jr. and TAICHI vs Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI – IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
Hiromu Takahashi vs El Desperado – IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship
Shingo Takagi vs Kazhuchika Okada – IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
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