Katsuyori Shibata’s match at Wrestle Kingdom 16 will be contested under ‘Catch Wrestling Rules’.
At Monday’s press conference, the rules were outlined where ‘stretches and submissions will be in use, as well as throws. Victory will be attained as usual, via pinfall, submission, count-out, etc. However, strikes of any kind will be prohibited.’
Shibata spoke at the press conference regarding the ruleset:
I wanted to give this a different name to the grappling exhibition match I had with Zack (Sabre Jr.) and set it apart as something else. Grappling rules is a concept that is already common in MMA, where strikes are banned. Catch wrestling rules is something that I think can be specific to pro-wrestling, and that’s why the name change is there.
To explain (those differences with grappling rules) more specifically, I think it allows for moves using the ropes, or more pro-wrestling styled, ‘three dimensional’, if you will, expression (than a grappling match). Victory to a pro-wrestler comes down to skill and technique in this environment, and it strips pro-wrestling right down to its essentials.
To go to the roots of wrestling a bit, pro-wrestling sprung out of what we call the Lancashire style in England, and that’s something we mustn’t lose sight of. I want a fusion in NJPW that brings the base fundamentals to the fold. This is something that’s just beginning, and I think these rules, match times and things of that nature can change as the concept evolves. That’s it!
Shibata’s opponent for January 4th at the Tokyo Dome remains unknown.
This past October, Shibata had an unadvertised grappling exhibition with Zack Sabre Jr. on the final night of the G1 Climax in Shibata’s first match since April 2017.
Below is the card for night one of Wrestle Kingdom 16 at the Tokyo Dome:
*IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (champion) vs. Kazuchika Okada
*IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi (champion) vs. El Desperado
*IWGP Tag Team Championship: Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. (champions) vs. Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI
*NEVER Openweight Championship: Tomohiro Ishii (champion) vs. EVIL
*Catch Wrestling Rules: Katsuyori Shibata vs. TBA
*Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI vs. Will Ospreay, Great O-Khan & Jeff Cobb
*Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Rocky Romero vs. KENTA, Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo
*SHO vs. YOH
*Pre-show: New Japan Ranbo