Shibata previously appeared at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door, where he saved Orange Cassidy from an attack by the United Empire. Likewise, Shibata came to the ring on the November 2 episode of AEW Dynamite and saved him from PAC. Cassidy then handed him a contract for a title match on Friday’s episode of Rampage, and Shibata signed it.
In an interview with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, Khan discussed the process of booking Shibata and noted that he’s a big fan of the NJPW star. Khan also discussed his relationship with NJPW and stated that the company told him Shibata wanted to compete for AEW. Khan went on to confirm that Shibata is interested in facing Bryan Danielson.
“There was interest from all three parties—AEW, New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Shibata,” Khan said. “I am a big fan of Shibata, and I have a great relationship with the New Japan Pro-Wrestling office. When we started working together earlier this year to promote Forbidden Door, they mentioned to me that Shibata is a big AEW fan—and that he was very interested in fighting for AEW.
“That got me very excited. He’s one of the top wrestlers of this century, and he is also an amazing comeback story. I’m so excited that the next step in his comeback is to come here and challenge for the AEW All-Atlantic championship. He also wants to wrestle Bryan Danielson. If he wins the belt from Orange Cassidy, then that could be a title match.”
Khan also expressed his excitement about the match and the noteworthy lineup for Rampage, which will include Mike Tyson as a guest commentator. He stated that the title bout is a dream match for both Shibata and Cassidy.
“It’s going to be a great night of wrestling, and it’s fitting to have a great champion in Mike Tyson back in Atlantic City, where he has a lot of history, help call the All-Atlantic championship match between Orange Cassidy and Shibata,” Khan said. “This is a dream match for both of the wrestlers.”
WrestleZone will have coverage of the show as it airs on Friday.