Kazuchika Okada reportedly expected to sign with AEW

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist

AEW Dynamite analysis


Kazuchika Okada has decided on his next destination to continue his wrestling career.

Okada has decided to sign with AEW according to a report from Fightful Select. The report states that the deal was agreed to in the last couple of weeks, but Fightful has been unable to to confirm as to whether or not Okada has actually signed the contract.

Okada announced he was leaving NJPW last month after the expiration of his contract on Jan. 31, but he agreed to three additional dates with NJPW this month. His last date with NJPW will be Feb. 24. The report noted that Okada had discussions with WWE about signing, but ultimately chose AEW.

Okada has been a top star for NJPW for over a decade and as Hiroshi Tanahashi got older and slowed down due to wear and tear on his body and Tetsuya Naito also suffered a rash of injuries in recent years, he became the centerpiece of NJPW.

Okada held NJPW’s top title, the IWGP Hvt. Championship five times. He set the record for the longest reign in NJPW history during his fourth reign where he held the belt for 720 days. Okada also set the record for most successful IWGP Hvt. Championship title defenses with 12.

The IWGP Hvt. Championship was established as the top title in NJPW in 2021 and Okada has held that title a record two times in NJPW. Additionally, Kazuchika Okada won NJPW’s prestigious G1 Climax tournament four times including winning the tournament in back-to-back years in 2021 and 2022.

Okada, once he officially puts pen to paper, will have roster full of fresh opponents in AEW. Jon Moxley, Shane Strickland, Hangman Page, Samoa Joe, Orange Cassidy, Christian, Eddie Kingston, M.J.F. (if he returns), and Adam Cole are among the top names that Okada has either no or very little history with.

Several of Okada’s top rivals from NJPW are now wrestling in or debuting with AEW soon as well including Kenny Omega, Jay White, and Will Ospreay.

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