Before these reports surrounding Okada’s future came out, the New Japan Pro Wrestling competitor competed at the acclaimed WrestleKingdom 7 inside the Tokyo Dome, losing to Tanahashi. I have yet to watch the match, but I’m planning on doing so after hearing so much about it and the entire event organized by NJPW.
Previous to being the top heel in NJPW, Okada had a forgettable and very lackluster run in TNA, briefly forming a tag team with fellow Japanese Kiyoshi, appearing on TNA Xplosion a couple of times and then being an ally of Samoa Joe‘s during his feud with “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero. It’s safe to say that Okada’s run in TNA was not good, from barely being used to portraying a bad imitation of Kato from The Green Hornet.
I’m not one to follow Japanese wrestling, but after his release from TNA, I heard good things about Okada and how he was doing. Eventually, “Rainmaker” became the number one contender to Tanahashi’s IWGP World Heavyweight Championship and signed a contract to face him at WrestleKingdom 7 on January 4. On that night, in a 30+ minute match, Okada lost.
I’m not going to go out and say that Okada is tremendous or that he is the greatest thing to ever come out of Japan since I haven’t seen much of him, but he sounds pretty good. However, WWE has misused Japanese stars in the past, namely Yoshi Tatsu and, although not Japanese but a big star there, Tensai.
In mid-2011, WWE signed Jiro and Sakamoto, also from Japan, and since then, Jiro has been released (maybe it had something to do with the way he sold The Blackout on episode two of NXT season six….. just kidding) and Sakamoto was briefly used as Tensai’s worshipper on WWE TV before being beat up into oblivion by the former Albert.
I’d take these news with a grain of salt, but if these reports are indeed true, the next few weeks/months should be interesting for Kazuchika Okada.