Kazuchika Okada Enters Free Agency; Confirms NJPW Dates

It is February 1, 2024, in Japan, and with that, Kazuchika Okada, one of the most legendary NJPW stars of all time, has become a free agent. The multi-time IWGP World Heavyweight Champion’s free agency has been much hyped, with both WWE and AEW reportedly showing interest in signing him to their roster. Earlier today, Okada filed to trademark his name and moniker, The Rainmaker, with the USPTO, and Pro Wrestling Tees removed all his merchandise from their store.

“Thank you for supporting New Japan Pro Wrestling for 17 years!” Okada began in a social media post not long ago. “Thank you very much! I laughed, got angry, cried, it was great! I look forward to playing the remaining three games as a free agent!” (NOTE: Translated using Google Translate)

The “three games” that he is referring to in his post are the three upcoming NJPW shows he will be attending this month. Okada will not be in action on those shows but will be making appearances as a way to fulfill his agreed-upon NJPW bookings and exit on a good note.

In a press release earlier this month, NJPW confirmed Okada’s impending exit from the promotion, and which shows he would be attending in February.

Thank you for supporting New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

Kazuchika Okada will be leaving New Japan Pro-Wrestling after the conclusion of his contract on January 31 2024. 

We apologise to fans for the abrupt nature of this announcement, but join them in wishing Okada the very best in his future. 

As the New Beginning series begins this weekend, Okada will appear on February dates on February 11 in Osaka, and February 23 and 24 in Sapporo. Changes will be made to forthcoming cards with an announcement to follow. 

We appreciate your understanding and continued support. 

Kazuchika Okada statement:

I have nothing but gratitude for having been a part of New Japan Pro-Wrestling since 2007, and for NJPW bringing me from a 19 year old kid off the plane in Mexico to the Rainmaker I am today. Thank you to the best of companies in NJPW, to the best of opponents that I’ve been able to face here, and to the best of fans that have cheered and booed over the years. I promise to make it rain in every match I have left, so keep watching.