Kazuchika Okada Files For Two Interesting US Trademarks

Long-time New Japan Pro-Wrestling star Kazuchika Okada is officially set to become a free agent at midnight tonight. Earlier this month, the promotion confirmed that Okada would be leaving upon the expiration of his contract on January 31st, which was initially reported back in December. WWE, AEW and TNA are all said to have interest in The Rainmaker per Sports Illustrated, though AEW remains the favourite of the three.

In an interesting development, Pro Wrestling Tees founder Ryan Barkan announced in the company’s private VIP Facebook group that he had been told to remove all Okada merchandise from their website and that VIP members had around 12 hours if they wanted to purchase anything before the removal. Some have speculated that the move could indicate Okada heading to WWE, where talent aren’t typically allowed external merchandise deals. However, both Johnny Gargano and CM Punk still have active stores on Pro Wrestling Tees, despite them now being contracted to WWE.

In addition, Okada has filed for two separate trademarks with the United States Patent And Trademark Office ahead of the expiration of his New Japan contract. The 36-year-old now holds the trademark for his own name, for use in entertainment services as a professional wrestler as well as merchandise such as “Hats; Shirts; Socks; Shirts and short-sleeved shirts; Sweatshirts; Hooded sweatshirts.” In addition, he also now holds the trademark to “Rainmaker”, also for use in entertainment services as a professional wrestler, which he filed for back on January 12th.

Despite his contract expiring tonight, Okada is still set to appear at three New Japan events in February to fulfil dates he had previously been announced for. At the first of these three events, The New Beginning In Osaka on the 11th, Okada will take on long-time rival and recently-appointed NJPW President Hiroshi Tanahashi in a singles match. His opponents for his final two dates with the company, at its The New Beginning In Sapporo events on the 23rd and 24th, have yet to be announced.