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Wrestling World Reacts to Kazuchika Okada Leaving NJPW

5 months ago Masahiro Kubota | Monthly Puroresu

Masahiro Kubota | Monthly Puroresu

Wrestling World Reacts to Kazuchika Okada Leaving NJPW

By: R. Faliani

New Japan Pro Wrestling announced that Kazuchika Okada,  their biggest star since Hiroshi Tanahashi, will leave the company after January 31, 2024. Okada’s contract will end after that date and his destiny remains a mystery.

Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer reported Okada submitted his resignation notice Thursday night to the front office — now led by Tanahashi.

As a NJPW wrestler since 2007, Okada has been in the company for 16 years and able to create a legacy few wrestlers could get at his age: As of now, Okada stands as a 5-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, 2-time IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, 1-time NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Champion, 4-time G1 Climax winner and 2-time New Japan Cup Winner. He has been part of the Tokyo Dome Main Event 9 times and regarded as perhaps Japanese wrestling’s biggest star.

Okada has had classic rivalries with the likes of Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, and historic battles with Kenny Omega that have undoubtedly given New Japan the push they needed in the West. As NJPW’s Ace, no one thought Okada could leave the promotion. But everything eventually comes to an end, and so we’re living through history with the shocking announcement.

Okada even got to write a statement on his departure:

“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 who have cheered and booed over the years. I promise to make it rain in every match I have left, so keep watching.”

The Rainmaker will do his final matches with New Japan as a free agent after January through the end of February, giving fans some final moments in NJPW to look forward to as as questions swirl about where he ends up next.

The news about Kazuchika Okada leaving NJPW sent shockwaves through the wrestling world:

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