Shibata comes just short of All Atlantic gold
AEW Rampage November 4 would see the first official match for Katsuyori Shibata since Wrestle Kingdom, as he challenged Orange Cassidy for the AEW All Atlantic Championship.
As Cassidy tried to play his signature mind games with The Wrestler, his hands stayed in the pockets as Shibata scored a side headlock take down, but the champion was soon on the mvoe, avoiding a PK attempt and sending his challenger spilling to the floor, where a tope suicida awaited. Shifting into a high gear however, Shibata would send Cassidy careening around ringside and into the guardrails.
Back in, it would be the champion with the upper hand, landing his version of the Shibata corner dropkick, before mocking boots were stopped with a Shibata STO. The challenger played his own games with the champion, landing some rather less solid kicks than he’s known for, and drawing Orange into a seated ‘strike exchange’.
Turning up the tempo, Shibata landed much heavier strikes in the corner, and his signature stalling dropkick before a half hatch for two. As Cassidy came alive though, a back suplex did damage to the challenger, who came back with an overhand right. As Cassidy came back to his feet, the champion would try his own version of the PK to little effect, flattened by a Shibata styled Orange Punch, but Orange would make the ropes from a punishing Octopus hold.
Finding a Slumdog Millionaire counter to a Shibata suplex, and rattled off a flurry of offense before an Orange Punch that barely rattled the challenger. Shibata went straight to a sleeper hold and looked for the PK, but was met with a second Orange Punch, this time one that kept him down for the count of three. As Shibata showed his respect for the champion post match, Cassidy’s championship journey continued.