Wheeler Yuta beats NJPW student, challenges NJPW teacher Shibata


Wheeler Yuta is on a mission to prove himself as ROH Pure champion. Yuta isn’t the young boy of the Blackpool Combat Club. He’s a full grown ass-kicker in his own right. Yuta demonstrated that by besting NJPW student Clark Connors on ROH TV, then Yuta upped the ante to challenge legendary NJPW teacher Katsuyori Shibata.

First things first. Yuta had to backup his tough talk against Connors with the ROH Pure Championship on the line. The Wild Rhino was a student in the LA Dojo under Shibata.

Pure rules applied. Judges for the contest were Colt Cabana, BJ Whitmer, and Dean Malenko.

Connors had the power advantage to frustrate Yuta, so Yuta outsmarted him. Yuta baited Connors into throwing a punch as a setup for a submission. Connors used his first rope-break to escape. Later, Connors charged like a rhino, and Yuta punted him. That set up an octopus stretch, and Connors used his second rope-break.

Yuta went on the sneaky heel tip by dropping his wrist tape on the mat. When the referee picked up the debris, Yuta used that moment to land an illegal closed-fist punch. Punches came into play again when Connors was trapped in a submission in the center of the ring. He knew there was no way out, so he shrugged and popped Yuta in the kisser. Connors was issued a warning for the infraction. Connors took his eye off Yuta, and the champ attacked from behind. Yuta unloaded a blatant closed-fist punch as payback. The referee issued a warning to Yuta. Any more punches from either man would result in a disqualification, and the Pure title can change hands on a DQ.

Yuta was cocky and got caught in an ankle lock. The champion used his first rope-break. Connors kept on the pressure for a German suplex and a snap powerslam. Yuta had been working the shoulder throughout, and that paid off for the finish. Connors struggled to lift Yuta. Yuta slipped out and applied a submission. As Connors reached out for his final rope-break, Yuta snatched the arm to transition for a mouse trap pin for victory.

Yuta gloated to the crowd in a post-match promo. He told everyone that the Blackpool Combat Club has the best training in the world. Yuta beat the student, and now it is time to beat the teacher. He sat down cross-legged as a hint of his target. Yuta will not rest until he beats Shibata in a Pure title bout.

If this match gets made, the likely date is March 31 for the Supercard of Honor PPV. Thinking down the line, this might even lead to Shibata showdowns with other Blackpool Combat Club members.

Shibata is a three-time NEVER openweight champion. He was ranked #23 in the PWI 500 for 2017. Shibata’s wrestling career came to a halt when he suffered a subdural hematoma, then he became the head coach of NJPW’s LA Dojo. It was thought that Shibata’s in-ring career was over, but he has had a few return matches since the injury. AEW fans will recall Shibata challenging Orange Cassidy for the All-Atlantic Championship on Rampage in November 2022.

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Do you feel that Wheeler Yuta has earned the honor to compete against Katsuyori Shibata?

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