Impact is lining up the big names for their shift back to TNA. The official change comes at the Hard to Kill PPV on January 13 in Las Vegas. TNA will hold a television taping the following night on January 14, and they already announced Will Ospreay as a guest attraction. Now, TNA is making it rain with Kazuchika Okada coming to that same taping.
Impact announced the news with a video package.
Okada is one of the biggest stars in NJPW as a two-time IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, a five-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, and a four-time G1 Climax winner. Okada has also crossed through the Forbidden Door to AEW for a rivalry with Bryan Danielson.
Okada will be returning to TNA for the first time since 2011. His original run lives in infamy as a reason that NJPW ceased their relationship with TNA. NJPW was not happy over what they viewed as poor booking. Okada arrived on excursion for a handful of matches in 2010, then he debuted a new character inspired by Bruce Lee’s Kato from The Green Hornet.
Okada actually referenced his time in TNA as beneficial to his career. In a 2016 interview with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, Okada explained how the emphasis on characters caused him to develop The Rainmaker persona.
Okada: I learned in TNA that I needed more than just a good match–I needed a character. That’s how I became the “Rainmaker.” It was good for me. TNA didn’t use me, but I got hungrier to wrestle. The struggle made me better. I was always a good wrestler. I feel like I can wrestle anybody. Of course, I wanted to main event wrestling matches in TNA, but in their eyes, no, that would not happen. So I went back to New Japan. I took the timing and technique I learned in the U.S. back with me to Japan.
When I was in TNA, somebody told me about the “Rainmaker.” I thought it was a nice character. In Japan, there is no character–it’s fight, fight, fight. So I needed a character. When I was just a strong wrestler, TNA didn’t use me. I didn’t have a character, so I knew I needed one. That’s what the agents in TNA kept telling me, so I made this character and I took it to New Japan.
Who would you like to see Okada wrestle in TNA?