Tony Khan promised something big on AEW Dynamite and big things certainly happened. Some will point to Jeff Jarrett’s debut or Colt Cabana’s return, but Katsuyori Shibata walking through the curtain to stare down PAC and then Orange Cassidy was as big of a moment as any. AEW Rampage hasn’t felt as “must-see” as it once did but this is an appointment viewing if any for both fans and those unfamiliar with Shibata.
Cassidy versus Shibata is a PPV quality match and it’s amazing that it will happen on free television Friday night. For those unaware, Shibata is one of those individuals whom “legend” may not be a strong enough word to describe. His catalog of matches features some of the best, most realistic entries in professional wrestling. His influence goes well beyond the borders of New Japan Pro, and he’s influenced other greats across the industry.
One of the growing sentiments about AEW Rampage is the show feels “skippable.” The matches on Friday nights do not feel as “big” as those each Wednesday. This is one of those situations where that isn’t the case. Shibata is a beloved figure that viewers will want to tune in to watch, even if just for this single match.
Plus, it opens the door for what is next. Cassidy isn’t dropping the AEW All-Atlantic Championship so soon, but does that mean he picks up a clean win over Shibata? How will PAC get involved and will that lead to a match between those two, perhaps at AEW Full Gear 2022? Those are questions alone that should drive people to watch this match on Friday and what’s to come beyond.
Katsuyori Shibata lost years of his career from a dangerous injury. That alone makes any of his matches “must-watch TV.” Shibata versus Cassidy is the exact type of match needed to create excitement around AEW Rampage and fans should tune in to see what’s going to happen.