A veteran has warned whoever signs Kazuchika Okada not to rush the star into action.
On January 19th it was announced that Kazuchika Okada will leave New Japan Pro-Wrestling when his contract expires on January 31st. This has sparked a scramble between AEW and WWE as they try to land his signature, with the former reportedly leading the charge.
When his contract expires, Okada will become one of the most in-demand wrestlers on the planet, placing the legend in the perfect spot to cement his status on the international stage.
AEW announcer Kevin Kelly spent years commentating on Okada’s matches while with NJPW so is arguably perfectly placed to comment on what could come next.
Appearing on Wrestling Observer Live, Kelly explained that in his opinion whoever signs Okada needs to keep things simple.
“With him, the simpler the better. The idea that Okada is a larger-than-life star and I think how the producers choose to present him. If you put him out in segment one, middle of the ring to open a show, it might not come off that well. If it’s got other people around and he can feel more comfortable in that kind of setting, let’s find out where he’s most comfortable. Let’s put him in that and let’s expand over time. I don’t want to freak him out and hurt his confidence.
This is a guy in Okada, who I’ve never seen lack for confidence. No matter the situation, no matter what’s up against him, he can do it all. I’m sure he’ll get good enough to be able to stand center-ring and hold a segment one promo down and be able to hit it out of the park. I want to get him there slowly, I’m not in any rush. I want to get him over and I want to make sure everybody knows this guy is the real deal,”
Kelly went on to break down how Okada could be introduced to a wider audience by simply showcasing his incredible achievements to date. The veteran announcer added that there’s no need to rush Okada’s debut, and it’s more important to make sure he’s in the perfect position to maximise his star power and skills.
“I would use other people’s voices. I would have people who have wrestled him. I would have people who know him say, ‘This guy is awesome and everything in this company has changed now because he’s here.’ That’s really all you need to say. Let the pictures tell the story, commission the footage from New Japan, show the highlights and major moments. Show his incredible athleticism, let’s tell this guy’s story over and over again.
Then you make the first match a big deal. You can do it. There’s no rush. You don’t have to rush this guy on TV, no matter who it is. We don’t know where he’s going to wind up or what he’d going to be doing. My advice would be; don’t rush, take your time, let him get comfortable, and let’s make it a home run because he’s worth it,”
Kazuchika Okada Comments On NJPW Exit
The Okada bombshell rocked the wrestling world, with many seasoned observers believing the star would never leave NJPW, however, the star has explained that his reasons for leaving are completely logical.
In a new interview, Kazuchika Okada said he was leaving in search of a new challenge as he didn’t want to coast on his past achievements.
H/t to Fightful