For those hoping for a definite comeback for Shibata, Dave Meltzer, in the new Wrestling Observer Newsletter, is reporting that New Japan’s protocol is different than WWE’s protocol when it comes to wrestlers who are not medically cleared and this physical angle should not be a cause for raised hopes.
“KENTA kicked Shibata and threw him into the guard rail. KENTA also kicked Shibata hard in the chest. When Shibata did his first angle, everyone was told to be very careful with him and stay away from his head. KENTA in this angle did stay away from his head but was very stiff with him. Nothing was announced with KENTA or Shibata for the Tokyo Dome, and we were told that Shibata has not been cleared to wrestle, but very much wants to wrestle and will attempt to do so.
With WWE, if you’re not cleared, they don’t have you taking any punishment or doing much physical. [in] New Japan, it means you don’t do a match so this angle doesn’t mean he’s cleared, but it sure felt like an angle to build KENTA and Shibata. Given the proximity to the Dome show, watching it would be the conclusion you would draw. The storyline dates back to Shibata being the one who got babyface KENTA into New Japan when he left WWE. But then New Japan didn’t announce anything in that direction for either Dome show.”