Kazuchika Okada Comments After Leaving NJPW

Kazuchika Okada makes his entrance at Forbidden Door

Kazuchika Okada is officially a free agent.

On January 19th, NJPW made the shock announcement that Kazuchika Okada would be leaving the company when his contract expired on January 31st.

The Rainmaker later explained his decision to leave came down to it being his last chance to try something new. Although he admitted it would be easier for him just to re-sign with the company, Okada wanted to reach new heights and felt he had become too comfortable where he was.

At one minute past midnight on February 1st, Okada became a free agent for the first time in 17 years. To mark the moment, he posted a short statement on social media thanking NJPW for its support.

“Thank you for your support for 17 years of New Japan Pro-Wrestling!
Thank you very much!
I laughed, got angry, cried, and it was great!
I look forward to the remaining three matches as a freelancer!” (translation via DeepL)

While his contract with New Japan has expired, Okada still has three matches left with the company as it continues its annual New Beginning tour. Only one of those matches has been announced so far, with February 11th seeing Okada take on his biggest rival one last time when he faces Hiroshi Tanahashi in Osaka. The other two bouts will take place on The New Beginning In Sapporo shows on February 23rd and 24th.

Where Will Kazuchika Okada Sign Next?

According to recent reports, Kazuchika Okada is likely heading to AEW, with many in the company believing he will be starting there soon. The move would make sense as Okada has a lengthy history with AEW EVPs The Young Bucks, going back to his time in TNA, where the Jackson brothers helped him navigate his way through his excursion. Additionally, one of his most celebrated rivalries was against another EVP, Kenny Omega.

However, the star is not thought to have made a final decision yet, and WWE is also seen as a possible landing point for him as he has stated he is looking for new challenges and in the past has mentioned wanting to compete at WrestleMania.