The Latest Backstage WWE And AEW News On Kazuchika Okada

The road to WWE WrestleMania 40 will begin in earnest this Saturday night at the Royal Rumble. Several big names are in contention to win the men’s WWE Royal Rumble match, like CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, and The Rock. Beyond this weekend’s big premium live event, the main card for the biggest show of the year will begin to take shape. One notable name who is contractually unlikely to appear in the Rumble but is rumored to be WWE-bound is Kazuchika Okada.

Monthly Puroresu reports that, based on a source they spoke with close to Okada, he is likely headed to WWE and not AEW. It was noted that beginning his journey with the sports entertainment juggernaut could be in WWE NXT. If that does happen, he will join other big international names like GUNTHER to start their WWE careers on the yellow and black brand.

In a follow-up, Fightful reports that based on conversations they have had with people in NJPW and close to Okada, an impending jump to WWE is not where things stand. It was reiterated to them what has previously been reported, that Okada is still very early in his decision-making process about where to sign next. In general, WWE sources they spoke with were surprised by the news that Okada was heading to the company.

“That would be news to us at this point,” said one WWE higher-up.

Multiple AEW sources Fightful spoke with said they still feel they are in the running to land the multi-time IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.

In an interview with Tokyo Sports, Okada had the following to say about why he is choosing to leave NJPW.

“First of all, this year was the fifth year (the final year) of my contract,” he began. “I guess it was a good time to think about something. When I was thinking about whether I would sign with New Japan Pro Wrestling again or whether I should look elsewhere in the world, I realized that this might be my last chance.”