In deflating news, Dave Meltzer has reported on the most recent episode of Wrestling Observer Radio that said angle was a "one off thing". "Things can always change," Meltzer followed up, but he also mitigated that point:
"There's no indication that he's doing anything for a match, or anything like that." To speculate on speculation, Meltzer did express surprise at how much physicality Shibata showed in the angle, but again, he reminded listeners that "the doctors said that it would be impossible for [Shibata] to wrestle again."
Following the subdural haematoma Shibata suffered in his Sakura Genesis '17 classic opposite Kazuchika Okada, Shibata was in a dire condition. He recovered, but the dark, tragic history and precedent of head injuries in New Japan compelled the company to retire him as a precautionary measure.
This lessens the impact of the superb angle in retrospect; the very power of an angle lies in its promise. A great pro wrestling angle creates anticipation for the blowoff. Fans immediately fantasy booked Shibata Vs. KENTA for Wrestle Kingdom 14, biting eagerly at the dangled carrot. But no blowoff is forthcoming, at latest word. If nothing else, this has elevated KENTA as a top, despicable heel. His performance was so d*ckheaded as to be iconic. Per the Royal Quest announcement, it is Tomohiro Ishii who is set to exact vengeance.