Japanese Legend Heading to the WWE?

12/5/2023 1:28 AM

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Japanese Legend Heading to the WWE?

Japanese Legend Heading to the WWE?

December 5, 2023 1:28 AM
Japanese Legend Heading to the WWE?
WWE News

Could Kazuchika Okada Join the WWE?

Is a Japanese legend heading to the WWE? Japanese icon Kazuchika Okada has been competing in New Japan Pro Wrestling for many years but Sports Illustrated's Justin Barrasso reports Okada's current deal with New Japan Pro Wrestling expires at the end of January 2024.

Okada is also familiar with working in the U.S., having campaigned in TNA Wrestling early on in his career and having wrestled in AEW including its collaboration with New Japan Pro Wrestling, Forbidden Door. Now, there is a very real possibility he'll be competing in the WWE or AEW.

Both companies are reportedly very interested in signing him. At 36, he is considered one of wrestling's greatest workers and has won numerous awards as well as numerous titles. Barrasso explained Okada's status in New Japan and his options for the future:

Okada is the flagship of New Japan‚Äďthis would be similar to Randy Orton or Roman Reigns leaving WWE‚Äďand his next destination is important to New Japan. There were many who expected Nakamura‚Äôs run in WWE to be much shorter and that he would already have returned to New Japan, but there are no indications he will return anytime soon. If Okada enters free agency, he is expected to receive a massive payday wherever he signs.

Barrasso explained that the WWE is a tempting offer for Okada as it would offer him worldwide exposure and a wealth of opponents to work against. However, he also noted that AEW's lighter schedule would allow Okada to live in Japan if he wanted to.

The WWE and AEW have been working hard to land the top free agents in the wrestling world. The WWE's recent signing of Jade Cargill and the return of CM Punk are bold moves. Likewise, AEW recently signed New Japan Pro Wrestling star Will Ospreay and rumor has it, MJF has quietly inked a new deal with AEW.

Will Okada Get the Shinsuke Nakamura Treatment?

Another factor to consider in Okada's decision is how the WWE will book him. While there have been murmurings that part of the reason for Shinsuke Nakamura's recent push is to let Okada see that Triple H knows how to book Japanese wrestlers, Nakamura may not be the best example for this. Although "The King of Strong Style" has enjoyed a solid upper card role in the WWE, his failure to win a world championship speaks volumes to the perceived glass ceiling in the WWE. Does Okada want to go from playing New Japan Pro Wrestling's ace to playing the WWE's joker? 

Fans won't have long to wait as Okada will be free to make his decision soon. While the WWE and AEW are interested in him, he could opt to stay in Japan. Where would you like to see Okada wrestle? 

Photo Credit: AEW