Kazuchika Okada has given an update on his ambitious plans for the future.
Ever since the ‘Rainmaker Shock’ that saw him defeat Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on his first try in 2012, Okada has been a cornerstone of New Japan Pro Wrestling and quickly became seen as one of the greatest wrestlers on the planet.
With 2024 marking the 20th anniversary of his pro wrestling debut, Okada recently sat down with NJPW as part of their Wrestle Kingdom 18 interview series and discussed what’s next.
Despite his veteran status, at the age of 36, Okada claims he not only still has a decade left at the top, but wants to make sure he captures singles gold again before 2024 is out.
“I debuted in 2004, so this is my 20th anniversary. I’ve come this far, no big injuries and that’s great. But I think I have less than 10 more years right at the very top.
“So on the way to my 30th anniversary, I have to make every day count. It’ll be a bit sad to have my 20th anniversary without a belt, so I want a singles belt around my waist in 2024.”
The Rainmaker also wants to take the art of pro wrestling to new heights, and continue having great matches worldwide.
“I have a lot of dreams, and the biggest is to further professional wrestling. I want more people to know how great wrestling is. To do that, I have to keep having great matches and bring them to people all over the world.”
Okada’s next big match will come at Wrestle Kingdom 18 on January 4th when he faces Bryan Danielson in a much-anticipated rematch from AEWxNJPW Forbidden Door 2.
Is Kazuchika Okada Planning To Leave NJPW?
In recent months, there has been speculation that Kazuchika Okada will leave NJPW to join WWE when his current contract expires in January 2024. While the move sounds outlandish due to his important position in the company, WWE was able to entice Shinsuke Nakamura – formerly the leader of Okada’s CHAOS faction – to make the leap back in 2016.
It’s recently been reported that WWE believe they are closer to signing the star than ever before. Despite this, Kazuchika Okada is said to have been influential in the decision to replace former NJPW President Takami Ohbari with Hiroshi Tanahashi in a surprise move in December 2023, leading many to believe he is staying put.