Big Update On Free Agent Kazuchika Okada’s Plans

We knew that 2024 was set up to be a big year for wrestlers finding new homes, and we have a big update on free agent Kazuchika Okada's plans

Big Update Kazuchika Okada
source: @puroresuflow, x, screenshot

We knew that 2024 was set up to be a big year for wrestlers finding new homes, and we have a big update on free agent Kazuchika Okada’s plans.

Okada was the latest big name to have his New Japan Pro Wrestling contract expire, and many fans have been eagerly anticipating his next move.

Some expected that AEW would easily land the big free agent fish, on account of the prior AEW-NJPW working relationship.

That same relationship has had Okada wrestle in an AEW ring before.

Others were thinking and hoping that perhaps WWE could reel him in, should they have interest.

Big Update Kazuchika Okada
source: @puroresuflow, x, screenshot

Some leaned heavily on the point that Okada is good friends with WWE Superstar Shinsuke Nakamura.

There were even reports last year that Nakamura’s push was a subtle ploy to show Okada that WWE could push a Japanese talent to the top.

Now that he has officially been on the open market, it has very much been a wait and see kind of situation.

The Royal Rumble, long known for surprises, has come and gone with no Okada. That was less about expectations, more about hope.

While some past big name free agents were never going to go to WWE, there was more talk that, this time around, things could be different.

Different enough that perhaps we would eventually see Okada in our running RAW results for the year, which you can find here?

But now, we have news…

Big Update On Free Agent Kazuchika Okada’s Plans

According to Fightful, barring a last minute snag, Kazuchika Okada is AEW bound.

Per the report, the deal has basically been done, minus the signatures. The expectation is that things become fully finalized relatively soon.

From there, it is expected that his AEW debut happens in the coming weeks.

This would be the latest big free agent signing by Tony Khan, on the heels of names like Mercedes Mone and Wil Ospreay.

What remains to be seen is whether any or all of these signings will help boost AEW ratings and attendance. Both numbers have largely been sagging.

Big Update Kazuchika Okada
source: @seanrosssapp, x, screenshot

On one hand, it is entirely easy to understand Okada’s decision. AEW offers more opportunities to work outside of an AEW ring.

Plus, it also has a much lighter schedule. And many expect Khan gave him a boatload of cash too.

Still, we know that the former IWGP title holder has had WrestleMania dreams, and only one company offers that. Maybe Okada landed in AEW this time…but who knows what happens when next he becomes free.

Introduced to professional wrestling in the 1980’s thanks to Superstars and Saturday Night’s Main Event, John’s passion for the... More about John Deegan

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