Kazuchika Okada Bidding War Intensifies

Latest on WWE, AEW interest in Kazuchika Okada after NJPW departure.

Okada Forbidden Door

Kazuchika Okada became the hottest free agent in wrestling following last week's news that he was set to leave NJPW, with WWE and AEW understandably interested in acquiring the seven-time IWGP Champion.

With the interest in him intense, however, Okada has yet to decide on his wrestling future. Dave Meltzer reported as much on Wrestling Observer Radio, stating that although he has yet to make the call, Okada will end up going with whoever makes him the best offer.

Meltzer added that people within AEW were confident of landing Okada, to the extent that they "think they've got him." WWE sources, meanwhile, are also hopeful of landing the 'Rainmaker.'


While the situation is far from a done deal, Meltzer believes that AEW remains the favourite to land AEW. In the 22 January Wrestling Observer Newsletter, he wrote that it was believed AEW had made a stronger first offer to Okada than WWE, whose interest in the 36-year-old was first reported late last year.

Although his contract expires on 31 January 2024, Okada will wrap his NJPW commitments at 24 February's New Beginning in Sapporo show, ending a 16-year tenure with the puroresu market leaders.

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Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.