Kazuchika Okada officially wrapped up his time with NJPW at the end of January but is set to compete at a pair of events next weekend before being completely free. What his pro wrestling future holds beyond next weekend has been the subject of much speculation. The Rainmaker reportedly has interest from both WWE and AEW but has been coy when it comes to which way he is leaning.
Fightful reports that Okada is AEW-bound, and that a deal between the two sides was finalized in the last few weeks. There was no word on whether Okada has actually put pen to paper when it comes to a deal with Tony Khan, but multiple AEW sources have indicated for weeks they are confident they will land him. He is not expected to make his AEW debut until wrapping up his remaining NJPW obligations.
The report goes on to note that AEW started bandying about creative ideas for Okada as far back as mid-January. Coming out of this past weekend, sources indicated the first half of March would be big for the company. This excitement is bolstered by the expectation that Mercedes Mone will debut for AEW in a little less than five weeks at AEW Dynamite: Big Business in Boston.
WWE sources that Fightful spoke to in Las Vegas, presumably at the WWE WrestleMania XL kick-off event, indicated there were talks between WWE and Okada. While Okada is said to have weighed the pros and cons of the offers from both sides, AEW is confident in their offer. No word on how Okada will be booked in AEW or who he will be feuding with was given.
Okada’s last AEW match took place on the October 25, 2023, episode of AEW Dynamite. He unsuccessfully tagged with fellow CHAOS stablemate AEW International Champion Orange Cassidy against Blackpool Combat Club’s Bryan Danielson and Claudio Castagnoli.