Kazuchika Okada Breaks Silence On Shock NJPW Exit

Kazuchika Okada

Kazuchika Okada is ready to move on to the next stage of his career and now the NJPW icon has explained exactly why.

Kazuchika Okada shocked the world when it was revealed he was leaving NJPW at the end of his current contract on January 31st.

In November it emerged that there had been increased talk about Kazuchika Okada in WWE. A potential move for the star is reportedly behind the increased use of Shinsuke Nakamura. However, AEW remains the front-runner to sign The Rainmaker in the near future.

Kazuchika Okada Explains NJPW Exit

Speaking to Tokyo Sports, the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion explained that he felt this might be the last chance to explore other options outside New Japan Pro Wrestling in his career:

First of all, my contract was up for five years this year (the last year of my contract). It was a good time for me to think about something. When I thought about whether I would sign another contract with New Japan Pro-Wrestling…or whether I would look at other worlds, I thought that maybe this was my last chance.

Of course the company talked to me about various things, and I had been thinking about it for a while. It was really only recently that I made the decision.

Continuing, Okada explained that he wanted to keep his hunger to be at the very top of his game in the wrestling industry:

After announcing that I was quitting and going on the tour…I felt too comfortable. I wondered what that would be like. I started my wrestling career in Mexico, came to New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and became a rainmaker 12 years later. Maybe if I stay here, I can wrestle without any inconvenience.

But I don’t want to become the same Kazuchika Okada without such hunger. I don’t want to be in a situation where I have to rest on my laurels. If I were “human” Okada, I would have friends here, and I would be in the best environment. But as “wrestler” Okada, it was different.

Kazuchika Okada’s final match as a NJPW-contracted wrestler is scheduled to take place on the 24th of January in Korakuen Hall. Okada will team with Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tomohiro Ishii as they put their NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship on the line against TMDK.