Kazuchika Okada's NJPW Contract Expires SOON

AEW, WWE linked with moves for soon-to-be-free-agent Kazuchika Okada.

Kazuchika Okada

New Japan Pro Wrestling's biggest star is set to become a free agent in early 2024.

SI's Justin Barrasso reports that with his NJPW contract currently set to expire towards the end of January, Kazuchika Okada is considering heading to another promotion. AEW and market leaders WWE are both interested in signing the 36-year-old.

Barrasso notes that Okada's October appearance for AEW wasn't only to further his ongoing feud with Bryan Danielson, but to allow the 'Rainmaker' to get a feel for how AEW operates. Danielson and Okada will face each other once more at NJPW's tentpole event, Wrestle Kingdom, on 4 January. Heading to AEW or renewing with NJPW would allow Okada to work for both companies, given their working relationship.


WWE, meanwhile, would reportedly relish the opportunity to "guide Okada to stardom in North America." Last month, Dave Meltzer reported in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Shinsuke Nakamura's renewed WWE push was partly an attempt at wooing Okada, with the promotion keen to show the NJPW megastar how well it treats Japanese wrestlers in 2023.

SI notes that should Okada choose to become a free agent, he will land a massive payday.

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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.