Kazuchika Okada set for paternity leave after G1 Climax win

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2022/08/20/kazuchika-okada-set-for-paternity-leave-after-g1-climax-win/

G1 Climax winner Kazuchika Okada has announced that he is to take time off on paternity leave to spend with his wife and newborn son.

During an interview with the official NJPW website yesterday, the 34-year-old said:

Actually though, the other day my son was born. I’ve been lucky enough to receive some paternity leave from the company, which I’m very grateful for, and as I take a little bit of time off, I’ll be refreshing and then coming back to kick ass in the next tour.

According to the New Japan schedule of events, the promotion’s next tour, Burning Spirit, begins on Friday, September 2nd, and runs until September 25th, encompassing 17 events. The talent for the shows has not yet been announced.

Okada is also featured heavily in the promotional material for Royal Quest II, which takes place in London, UK, on October 1st and 2nd.

Elsewhere in the interview, Okada reflected on his fourth G1 Climax victory, and mentioned that NJPW may wish to “reassess” the importance of the tournament:

Well, in terms of singles matches, other G1s have had more, but the last stretch of three days really took its toll on me both mentally and physically. Three singles matches in a row is difficult, and the semifinals and finals were definitely really tough. The league matches are pretty brutal as well, but I think all in all this year’s G1 was my hardest fought yet. That’s why I feel it’s on the company to reassess how important the G1 is to NJPW.

He also spoke about his approach to Wrestle Kingdom 2023:

As the G1 winner, I think that I can go into the Tokyo Dome with a bit of a different approach than the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, and there’s a really different approach that I can take. So if my challenge is in the Tokyo Dome like I’m requesting, then I can bring the fire through to the end of the year, and the champion can see what I’m doing and be more motivated as well.

That way I think we really can create the best situation to sell out the Tokyo Dome. I said that was my goal in the ring yesterday, but I think putting it out there makes the boys, even if they’re on different teams, want to put in the work to achieve that goal, and it brings the staff together to make that happen as well. So that’s how I want to approach the rest of the year.