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Kazuchika Okada is officially leaving NJPW

AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door 2023

New Japan Pro Wrestling suddenly announced tonight that its top star Kazuchika Okada is leaving the promotion.

Here is what NJPW posted about Okada’s departure, including comments from the man himself:

Thank you for supporting New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

Kazuchika Okada will be leaving New Japan Pro-Wrestling after the conclusion of his contract on January 31 2024.

We apologise to fans for the abrupt nature of this announcement, but join them in wishing Okada the very best in his future.

As the New Beginning series begins this weekend, Okada will appear on February dates on February 11 in Osaka, and February 23 and 24 in Sapporo. Changes will be made to forthcoming cards with an announcement to follow.

We appreciate your understanding and continued support.

Kazuchika Okada statement:

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

This news surprises me given how important Okada has been to NJPW, as well as the company recently replacing Takami Ohbari as President, a man whom Okada is rumored to have wanted out.

Then again, there’s a huge discrepancy in what NJPW can pay its wrestlers compared to WWE and AEW, and this breaking news is a strong indicator that Okada is on his way to one of those two wrestling promotions in the USA.

What’s your reaction to Okada’s exit from NJPW, Cagesiders?

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