06/03/2024

Kazuchika Okada will leave New Japan Pro Wrestling at the conclusion of his contract this month. (Images: WWE, NJPW, AEW)

With the recent news that NJPW legend and international wrestling superstar Kazuchika Okada will be leaving Japan at the conclusion of his contract this month, the wrestling world is eager to see where he will end up next.

WWE and AEW will likely be vying for his signature, and with each company comes a plethora of stars for Okada to face for the first time.

In anticipation of finding out where Okada goes next, here is our list of six superstars, three each from WWE and AEW, that we’d love to see him face in singles competition.

Note: While we would obviously love to see Okada reprise classic NJPW matches against the likes of Kenny Omega, Shinsuke Nakamura, Will Ospreay, and Cody Rhodes, we’ve opted to stick solely to first-time singles opponents here.

AEW – Claudio Castagnoli

Starting off here with one that we’ve had a sneak peek of previously in tag-team action, and would surely be a fantastic one-on-one encounter. Claudio Castagnoli is by far one of the top wrestlers in the world and has proven it time and time again when in the ring with the best.

With a plethora of five-star classics under Okada’s belt, he also knows how to run with the best of them. Give him Claudio for 30 minutes and we’ll get nothing short of an instant classic.

The two competitors have shared the ring twice in 2023, competing in tag team matches in AEW and NJPW. However, they have never gone at it one-on-one and that is definitely something we need to see in the future.

WWE – Gunther

‘The Ring General’ Gunther is in the absolute peak of his career, with his nearly 600-day Intercontinental Championship reign recently becoming the longest in WWE history. He has put on stellar match after stellar match against some of the best talent the company has to offer, and it’s no mistake given his outstanding in-ring ability.

In bringing Okada to WWE, many will expect him to be thrust into the main event picture instantly. If Gunther drops his title by then and takes the step up, the pairing would be perfect. However, if he still holds it and you want to even further legitimise the Intercontinental Title, why not run with Gunther and Okada heading into the summer of 2024?

It seems like the kind of contest where many of us could watch the two go at it forever, but regardless of the stakes, Gunther and Okada would put on a surefire classic and it’s a match that definitely should happen sooner rather than later if Okada makes it to the WWE.

Image: WWE

AEW – Konosuke Takeshita

“Better than Okada”

These were the words uttered by Don Callis with Konosuke Takeshita standing to his right in a promo on AEW television in June last year. The emphasis he put on the statement certainly implied that a future match between the two was bound to happen at some stage.

A wrestling legend who has done all there is to do in his home country of Japan, moving over to the United States where a newcomer has quickly made a name for himself in All Elite Wrestling. The two stars’ paths have been very different, but they have the chance to cross over very soon.

Fresh off a fantastic program with arguably Okada’s biggest ever rival Kenny Omega in 2023, Takeshita has been fantastic in recent months and would be a brilliant choice for one of Okada’s first AEW feuds.

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WWE – Roman Reigns

This one just has that big fight feel, doesn’t it? The Tribal Chief and The Rainmaker.

Roman Reigns has a certain aura about him that fans just can’t get enough of. He’s a bona fide superstar with the accolades to match, much like Okada in Japan.

Roman’s championship reign has been nothing short of historic, although we have come to a point where if Cody Rhodes doesn’t ‘finish the story’ or The Rock doesn’t dethrone him, we’ll be hard pressed to think of names that could actually defeat ‘The Head of the Table’.

Okada is certainly one of those names though. Title or not, this feud is bound to happen and it would be absolutely electric. If Roman Reigns makes it past WrestleMania as champion with Okada in WWE, the story absolutely writes itself.

AEW – Jon Moxley

Jon Moxley is another member of the Blackpool Combat Club that has crossed paths with Okada plenty of times in tag-team action, both teaming with him and competing against him on multiple occasions.

Moxley has somehow never had the opportunity to go toe to toe with Okada in singles competition despite wrestling sporadically in New Japan Pro Wrestling since June 2019, but the matchup has been brewing for a long time and will happen sooner rather than later if he chooses to head to AEW.

Calling out Okada in May last year and stating that he would beat him in “eight minutes”, the bad blood has already been brewing between the two stars. We have the makings of something very special here.

WWE – Seth Rollins

Arguably the biggest stars from WWE and NJPW respectively over the last 10 years, these two would absolutely tear the house down in a match that has WrestleMania main event written all over it.

Rollins and Okada have been two of the most consistently brilliant wrestlers in the world for many years now, and with their paths never crossing, it makes complete sense to pair them together once that eventually does happen.

A feud with Okada for the World Heavyweight Championship would easily be his most interesting and entertaining so far. Rollins has been on a tear as of late and while an injury cloud now puts his next few months in doubt, The Rainmaker would pose a genuine threat to Rollins’ recent run of victories like we haven’t seen before.

Image: WWE

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