During Monday’s Wrestle Kingdom 16 press conference, it was announced that Katsuyori Shibata’s match on night 1 of Wrestle Kingdom 16 will be contested under “Catch Wrestling Rules.” The match will have the usual pinfall, submission, DQ and countout rules, but will focus solely on grappling and submissions. Strikes will be forbidden. There is still no opponent announced.
Shibata said the stipulation was about bringing pro wrestling “back to [its] roots,” citing the Lancashire Style’s influence on not only pro wrestling, but MMA as well.
Shibata: To move forward I think we need to go back to our roots. The pro ranks have their roots in shoot grappling and what we call the Lancashire Style, and that's what I want to come back to here. #njwk16 #njpw
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) December 27, 2021
Shibata was injured in the main event of NJPW Sakura Genesis on April 9th, 2017, and removed from active competition for nearly 5 years. He returned at the G1 Climax Finals in October, wrestling Zack Sabre Jr. to a 5min Time Limit Draw in a UWF-rules match, similar to the rules that will be contested on Jan. 4th. In his time away from the ring, Shibata took a hand in training the North American Young Lions at NJPW’s LA Dojo in Los Angeles.
The full Wrestle Kingdom press conference can be seen HERE.
Here is the full card for both nights of Wrestle Kingdom 16:
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16: Night 1
2am ET on NJPWWorld.com
- Opening Match: New Japan Rambo (Final four competitors move on to 1/5’s KOPW 2022 match)
- SHO vs. YOH
- Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Rocky Romero vs. Bullet Club (El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori & KENTA)
- Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI) vs. United Empire (Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan)
- Catch Wrestling Rules Match: Katsuyori Shibata vs. X
- NEVER Openweight Championship Match: Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. EVIL
- IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match: Dangerous Tekkers (Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.) (c) vs. CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto)
- IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match: El Desperado (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi
- IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match: Shingo Takagi (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16: Night 2
2am ET on NJPWWorld.com
- IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match: Flying Tigers (Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask) (c) vs. Bullet Club’s Cutest Tag Team (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori) vs. Super Coaches (Ryusuke Taguchi & Rocky Romero)
- STARDOM Special Match: Mayu Iwatani & Starlight Kid vs. Tam Nakano & Saya Kamitani
- KOPW 2022 Match: Final Four of previous night’s New Japan Rambo
- NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Championship Match: House of Torture (EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi & SHO) (c) vs. CHAOS (YOH, Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI)
- SANADA vs. Great-O-Khan
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Jeff Cobb
- IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship No DQ Match: KENTA (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
- IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match: (Winner of Shingo Takagi vs. Kazuchika Okada) vs. Will Ospreay