Today, the wrestling world witnessed one of the most noteworthy pieces of news of 2024. NJPW announced that Kazuchika Okada is leaving the organization, bringing an end to a historic run. This news has major ramifications; not only for NJPW, but for WWE and AEW as well. The two major promotions are now racing to secure the Rainmaker’s signature.
The departure of Okada began taking shape in December 2023, when reports surfaced of Okada signing with Barry Bloom as his agent. This piece of news was a major indicator of things to come, especially considering Bloom’s clientele. He manages Kenny Omega, Will Ospreay, and The Young Bucks—all who are currently signed to AEW.
A Game-Changing Move
Okada leaving NJPW still in his prime and going to America is unprecedented. The only other person to do this was Mitsuharu Misawa leaving AJPW to form his own promotion, NOAH. But then again, Misawa was still in Japan…
Between the two promotions, most people will tell you that AEW has the edge in this race, considering several factors like:
- Okada can still live in Japan with AEW, something that wouldn’t be the case in WWE.
- Okada could still work major shows for NJPW.
- The close relationship Okada has with The Young Bucks, who are EVPs in AEW.
- Most clients Barry Bloom works with end up signing with AEW.
- Okada would have a lighter schedule working for AEW.
Despite all that, WWE can most likely offer Okada more money. This is a factor that can’t be ignored when it comes to his future. WWE needs him if they really want to start their plans of putting NXT branches all over the world. It makes sense that they would want Okada to potentially be an ace of a future NXT Japan.
For NJPW, this is a major blow. They will face significant challenges with the absence of their ace for over a decade. But obviously, it depends on where he signs. The booking of Okada in 2023 was weird, and with the fact that he didn’t put over any of the young wrestlers in NJPW. They still have draws like Naito and Tanahashi, so the blow of losing Okada could be contained for a while. But this will force the hand of NJPW into pushing their wrestlers to important roles sooner than expected.
The future of Okada is probably the biggest news to follow in 2024 and could be a world-shaking news once his future is settled. What did you think of the news?