The Latest On If Okada Has Decided What To Do Post-NJPW

After weeks of rumor and speculation, New Japan Pro-Wrestling dropped the bombshell announcement last night that its long-time top star Kazuchika Okada will be leaving the promotion. Okada will officially become a free agent on January 31st, which was first reported back in December, but will appear at three of the company’s New Beginning events in February which he had already been advertised for.

Ultimo Dragon, who acted as a mentor to Okada in the early days of his career, revealed in a post to Instagram that Okada had met with him yesterday in person to tell him he was leaving New Japan and discussed The Rainmaker’s current thoughts on his wrestling future post-NJPW.

“Okada came yesterday to meet me to let me know he is leaving New Japan,” Dragon wrote. “Ever since he came to Toryumon when he was 15 years old, he has always been very humble. Every time he has had an important event in his life, he always lets me know. Although he hasn’t decided yet, I’m sure he will continue to be a superstar wherever he goes. But not only that, I know he will never change and will continue to be the great man he is.”

In the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer provided some new insight into Okada’s possible future. A source close to Okada is said to believe that both WWE and AEW will “fight for him hard” and that both companies have already made pitches for him, with AEW reportedly having started with the stronger offer.

In addition, AEW sources are reported to feel a range from high confidence that the company will sign him to uncertainty on whether he chooses AEW or WWE. Fewer WWE sources were said to have a read on the situation, but those that did said this was unlike the debut of Jade Cargill and the impending return of the former Naomi in that there is currently no creative being worked on for Okada within the company.