Pro wrestling circles have been abuzz with the latest developments concerning New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s (NJPW) star Kazuchika Okada, as WWE demonstrates heightened interest in signing the celebrated athlete under Triple H’s tenure. Recognized universally for his in-ring prowess and drawing power, Okada has remained a cornerstone of NJPW since rejoining the company in 2011, following a stint from 2007 to 2010 and spending some time in TNA.
Okada is no stranger to American audiences, having debuted in All Elite Wrestling (AEW) in June 2022. At the landmark AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door event, he participated in a highly praised four-way bout for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, marking the beginning of multiple appearances in AEW.
The wrestling world respects Okada as a stalwart of his craft. His achievements include two reigns as IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, five as IWGP Heavyweight Champion, and he currently holds the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship alongside Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tomohiro Ishii.
The scuttlebutt about WWE’s renewed interest in Okada was magnified by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Speculation indicates that WWE, now helmed by Triple H with a fresh approach towards talent and creative direction, is keen on convincing the 36-year-old Japanese icon to bring his talents stateside. The allure of WWE presents Okada with the singular accomplishment unattained in his illustrious career, perhaps tempting the Rainmaker to contemplate a significant change.
In past years, the use of Japanese talent in WWE has been a topic of much debate, with cultural sensitivities and portrayal often criticized. However, sources suggest that the current WWE push for Shinsuke Nakamura, Okada’s compatriot and friend, aims to demonstrate WWE’s evolved stance under Triple H’s leadership, possibly laying the groundwork for Okada’s seamless transition should he choose to make the jump.
Adding to the intrigue, Bryan Danielson, a fixture in both WWE and AEW, is slated to lock horns with Okada at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 18 come January 2024. This high-profile encounter further underlines Okada’s worldwide draw and the invaluable asset he would be to WWE’s international expansion efforts.
Of course, this news comes amidst the general excitement for WWE programming, including the upcoming Survivor Series 2023. Fans are especially eager, with special events like the WrestleTalk Survivor Series Watch Party in London, where enthusiasts can congregate and share their love for the spectacle that is pro wrestling.
As the whispers swell to a chorus regarding Kazuchika Okada’s future, all eyes will remain fixed on any official announcements. For now, the pro wrestling community watches and waits, theorizing on the potential impact of adding a talent of Okada’s caliber to the WWE roster, and what it could mean for the evolution of the company and the industry at large.