Kazuchika Okada has become one of five new names to join the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame this year.
As revealed in this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Okada joins fellow newcomers Don Owen, Jim Crockett Jr., and Los Brazos (Brazo de Oro & Brazo de Plata & El Brazo) in the HOF, which is voted for by wrestling historians, reporters, active wrestlers and industry professionals, as well as retired wrestlers and industry professionals.
The reigning IWGP World Heavyweight Champion was on 92% of the ballots, which is the third-highest in history. Only Kenta Kobashi (98% - 2002) and Jushin 'Thunder Liger (95% - 1999) have bettered him in that regard. In addition, Okada finished as the top-ranked name in each voting category, which Dave Meltzer writes is a first.
This was the first year that Okada's name was included on the Observer Hall of Fame ballot. For his role in helping New Japan Pro Wrestling to the most successful business period in its history, as well as his long, long list of critically acclaimed work at such a young age (Okada is currently 34) made him a slam dunk candidate.
Congratulations to Okada, Los Brasos, Owen, and Crockett Jr.