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Friday, March 1, 2024

Everything We Know About Kazuchika Okada’s NJPW Departure, Explained

Highlights

  • Kazuchika Okada’s contract with NJPW is set to expire in early 2024, leaving him open to explore opportunities with TNA Wrestling, AEW, or WWE.
  • WWE teased Okada’s potential signing during NXT Vengeance Day, sparking speculation that he could join the NXT brand and eventually move up to SmackDown or Raw.
  • Reports indicate that Okada will likely sign with AEW, with their creative team already preparing for his pending debut in March. His addition would provide a much-needed boost for AEW’s success and elevate their roster alongside other recent signings.



Throughout the past week, news has been swirling as to where NJPW star Kazuchika Okada may end up after he finishes with the organization. There’s been some talk going around, with stories stating that he may be heading to WWE, while others have him close to inking a deal with AEW. Whoever may end up with Kazuchika Okada will certainly be adding a prominent superstar to their ranks that should be able to make a huge impact in either WWE or AEW. With that being said, let’s dive right in and bring you up to speed on what we know about Kazuchika Okada’s future beyond NJPW!

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Kazuchika Okada

Facts & Stats

Height:

6’3″

Weight:

236lbs

Billed From:

Tokyo, Japan

Trained By:

Ultimo Dragon

Wrestling Debut:

August 2004

Finishers/Signature Moves:

The Rainmaker, Money Clip

Companies Wrestled For:

NJPW, TNA Wrestling, AEW


The Buzz Surrounding Kazuchika Okada’s Future Began In January 2024

Kazuchika Okada’s Pending Departure From NJPW


There is no doubt that Kazuchika Okada is one of the best wrestlers in the world today, bar none. While he has marveled fans in Japan for many years, his stints with TNA Wrestling and AEW gave wrestling fans here in the United States a chance to see Okada work his magic inside the squared circle on American soil.


Several weeks ago, word broke out that Okada’s contract with NJPW would be expiring in early 2024, and he was exploring other options beyond the organization. The door is wide open for Okada to make the jump to TNA Wrestling, AEW, or WWE. He’s had successful stints with TNA and AEW, even going so far as to speak highly of his time with TNA. He has yet to step foot inside a WWE ring and that has left a certain level of intrigue and mystique for the WWE Universe who would love to see Kazuchika Okada make his debut for NXT and the main roster for WWE as part of SmackDown or Raw.


Okada’s future with NJPW was laid out by the organization, saying that he was moving on from their company following his final match scheduled for February 23 and 24 at “New Beginning”. The NJPW preview for his final matches read as follows:


Kazuchika Okada’s final NJPW match will be in ten-man action opposite an intriguing combination of Matt Riddle with the United Empire. Riddle and Jeff Cobb combined to re-form the ‘Chosen Bros’ tag team at Battle in the Valley, after which the two went, in Cobb’s words ‘to talk business’.
Does such business involve Riddle being Empire affiliated in the wake of Will Ospreay’s departure?


So, what is next for Kazuchika Okada?

WWE Showed Signs They May Have Signed Kazuchika Okada To A Contract

Is The NXT Vengeance Day Tease For Okada


While the buzz behind where Okada may end up began circulating across the internet and social media, we saw a very interesting teaser at NXT Vengeance Day that caught the attention of many WWE fans. The message that was shown was taken straight from a Japanese proverb advertised. This added fuel to the fire that Okada could wind up in WWE as part of the NXT brand based on the segment shown below.


While other names such as Giulia and Tama Tonga have also been linked to WWE in recent weeks, a lot of eager WWE fans are hopeful that Okada may wind up with the company. This was the first real sign that he could be coming to the organization, or is WWE toying with the IWC by utilizing the Okada contract situation as a catalyst to debut another future WWE superstar instead? One big hurdle for Okada would be that if he did sign with WWE, he would need to relocate to Florida from Japan, a move that could give Okada second thoughts about joining WWE if he is uncomfortable with relocating to the United States.

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WWE May Have Teased Kazuchika Okada’s Arrival During NXT Vengeance Day

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All Signs Point To Kazuchika Okada Officially Signing With AEW

The Latest On Okada Heading To AEW


The latest information seems to indicate that Kazuchika Okada will, in fact, be signing a contract with AEW. This was indicated from reports from Fightful Select and F4Online. Dave Meltzer wrote the following during his Sunday update:


“Everything we’ve been led to believe for weeks is that it would be Okada’s decision. We haven’t gotten that confirmed past as of Wednesday they were talking like he was coming, but the belief was that he had not signed yet but was going to do so. One person with knowledge of the situation said that he hadn’t heard an official signing just yet, but that they had heard it was a done deal.”


The report coming from Fightful Select indicates that it’s a matter of Okada putting pen-to-paper for his AEW contract, and that AEW’s creative team is already hard at work bouncing around ideas in preparation for his pending debut, which is more than likely coming at the beginning of March. Okada expressed a desire to wrestle for WWE and compete at a future WrestleMania, considering his options with WWE, but chose not to sign based on the pros and cons of joining the company.

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Kazuchika Okada Is Reportedly Confirmed To Be Headed To AEW

According to a report, Kazuchika Okada is confirmed to be headed to AEW as one of three big signings.

With the debuts of Will Ospreay and Mercedes Mone (most likely at AEW’s Big Business event), adding Kazuchika Okada is another huge shot-in-the-arm that All Elite Wrestling needs to help push the company out of their stagnant rut and put them back on course for future success.

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