Kazuchika Okada to depart NJPW, will fulfill dates on The New Beginning tour

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2024/01/18/kazuchika-okada-to-depart-njpw-will-fulfill-dates-on-the-new-beginning-tour/

Okada is set to leave New Japan. 

New Japan Pro-Wrestling pushed out the news that Kazuchika Okada will be leaving the company. His contract is scheduled to expire on January 31st.

In their write-up, NJPW wished Okada the best in his future. Okada is going to fulfill February dates as The New Beginning tour is set to commence on 1/20. He’ll be on the February 11th, 23rd and 24th shows. 

Okada issued the following 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.

Okada is one-third of the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions with Tomohiro Ishii and NJPW President Hiroshi Tanahashi. 

They’ll be defending their titles on 2/11 against T.M.D.K. (Kosei Fujita, Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls).

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TK just tweeted out stuff that confirms I think he’s going AEW.
Huge landing him and Osprey

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The chatter seems to be Okada and Mercedes are both coming in.

My assumption is once Sting is done and wrapped up, the trio of Ospreay, Okada, and Mercedes will arrive.

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Fun start to 2024 for wrestling

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While I’m definitely a little bumed that Okada is leaving Japan, mostly due to the fact that I don’t really like how great Japanese wrestlers have been booked in AEW or WWE, I’m not at all “the sky is falling” as some on the English language wrestling boards have been reacting.

In the past, whether in Japan, Mexico or America, when some great event drawing talent have left it has actually lead to growth and the pushing of younger talent to fill their place.

I’m looking forward to Uemura, Tsuji, Newman, Fujita, Umino and Narita steping up within the next 18 months and think there’s some great potential for more growth for NJPW because of this. Also, with Ospreay and Okada leaving so soon it’ll [hopefully] force the booking to change for their young talent and push them more to the top of the card in this upcoming year.

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With Okada, for sure I see that. In the case of Mercedes, to be fair though there is just as much chatter about her coming back to WWE as well. My gut tells me that even she doesn’t know what she is going to do. Time will tell.

The people who have gone on record stating she’s coming in - lead me to believe it’s happening.

Andrew Zarian specifically, wouldn’t use the words he’s using and putting it out there how he has, unless he has seen proof. My belief is that he’s seen promotional materials for her debut. He has specifically said, unless there is a grand double cross by Mercedes, she’s coming in.

He broke stories about Mone getting the Mandalorian job. He broke Ospreay’s signing. He broke Collision’s debut and Nitro look.

Both he and SRS have alluded to cross referencing certain aspects of the Mercedes story.

I feel confident based on what they’ve said, that it’s a lock.

Mercedes is a lock. Her WWE negotiations broke down.

However, I’m stunned Tony Khan o is paying more than Charlotte flair. Like she’s a star but I think her stock really got hurt because she got injured and wasn’t that good in Japan. I don’t think she is as big a star as she was eight months ago, but we’ll see.

Okada isn’t a lock but it seems like a no brainer

I don’t ever believe rumoured numbers and figures. People shouldn’t believe what they hear in that regard.

Also, to be the highest paid women in WWE is still likely to be tremendously underpaid in the grand scheme of things.

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This is my thing, its not just exclusive to numbers and figures. These wresting journalists report and speculate on a lot, and even the ones who have the best track records get it wrong sometimes. I’m not saying you are wrong, you very well may be right, but using terms like “lock” I feel are a bit hyperbolic unless you have direct info that I just don’t have.

SRS, isn’t he the same person who reported all the MJF/plane ticket stuff a few years ago that turned out to be false? SRS may be right most of the time, but an example of how they arent right all the time. I don’t know much about this Zarian as I’ve never really heard of him so I wont comment either way on him, but we’ll see how things play out.

Again, not even saying you are wrong, I’m just saying I’ll believe it when I see it.

Andrew Zarian isn’t a journalist. He never claims to be. He doesn’t do this for money. This is why I trust him.

He’s legit the only “newsbreaker” who I have faith in. He has connections in TV and within different companies.
He has proven very reliable over the last couple of years.

I fully believe whatever he is saying about Mercedes.

You have every right to believe him, but I just can’t put 100% faith in someone I don’t even know.

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