Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated is reporting that while AEW is favorite to secure the services of Kazuchika Okada, WWE is definitely not out of the running especially due to Okada’s dream to one day perform at WrestleMania.
Okada’s current relationship with AEW President Tony Khan and his friendship with the likes of Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and Bryan Danielson will surely have some sway in his decision, not to mention that signing with AEW will mean that he could still work select dates for New Japan Pro-Wrestling, similar to what other stars have been doing.
Getting Okada would be the second major NJPW star to defect to AEW in a matter of months following Will Ospreay’s move.
Meanwhile, Barrasso adds that WWE Chief Content Officer Triple H and one of his most trusted lieutenants, Shawn Michaels, are both big fans of Okada and are working on trying to land him in WWE. Triple H and his creative team have completely changed the way they portray much of their Japanese Superstars on the roster, a big difference from the Vince McMahon-led booking.
Okada also has friendships within WWE, notably AJ Styles, Finn Balor, and Shinsuke Nakamura, which could help the free agent choose them instead of the expected AEW.
Dave Meltzer of the Observer reported yesterday that AEW’s initial offer was considered higher than that of WWE but Okada has not made any decisions yet.