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How AEW should debut Kazuchika Okada

Kazuchika Okada is a star, a legend in Japan and one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.  AEW’s audience needs to know this.  And not just the 140,000 who buy the pay-per-views.  But the 800,000 who watch Dynamite every week.

Here’s how the company could make sure they do.  Beginning with a few rules:

  1. Keep him the hell away from the Best Friends (that includes Orange Cassidy, at least till Okada’s established) – this guy is a serious championship-level wrestler who doesn’t need defining down a la Hangman and the Dark Order
  2. Protect the Rainmaker – no-one kicks out, guys avoid it like death: slide out of the ring, work the arm to try to prevent it etc
  3. Do something different – don’t have an awkward Tony Khan announce it in the usual humdrum way, don’t just throw a graphic up and don’t just have him come out at Big Business. The guy deserves his own stage and, as stated above, needs his stature explaining to the entire audience

In fact, why don’t we go about it like this:

Week One – Dynamite

A short video package plays – ‘Kazuchika Okada – The Rise’.  Highlighting his return from excursion (we can leave out TNA and their gross mis-use) and climb up the New Japan ranks, it’s the beginning of a chronological look at his New Japan run, a timeline of his career*.

AEW could include a few pertinent voiceovers from Excalibur, J.R. and the like.

Back in the arena, the announcers play it coy.  They could even tie it in to the announcement of Arthur Ashe as the host of this year’s Forbidden Door.  Hardcore fans will know without knowing, creating a buzz.

The package(s) is repeated on Collision and/or Rampage.

Week Two – Dynamite

A second package – highlighting his major feuds with Kenny Omega (which they can push as one of the greatest of all time without blathering about star ratings or match quality) and other big names, especially ones even the casual AEW fan will be familiar with such as Jericho.  Big stars, big names, big matches, big wins for Okada, Rainmaker after Rainmaker, titles held high before big crowds in the Tokyo Dome.

Again with pertinent voiceovers/soundbites, this time from Omega, Jericho, the Bucks et al.

This guy’s a serial champion who beat big stars you’re familiar with on his way to dominating New Japan.

Week Three – Dynamite

Feuds with Jay White and Will Ospreay could be covered here.  Complete with further voiceovers from those guys.

Week Four – Dynamite

Bringing us to the final package – focusing on his leaving New Japan, final win over Tanahashi and so on.  Ending (bear in mind we’ve been doing a timeline) with ‘2024 – Kazuchika Okada signs with A…E…W.  And he’s coming next week.’

Announcers go wild, numerous stars are asked for their reactions during the rest of the show: babyfaces excited, heels annoyed, some in-between, potential feuds and matches being built.  Since Okada’s not going to do much talking for himself (and it’s hard to think of a quality babyface mouthpiece), we have the wrestlers AEW fans already know do it for him.

One of those in the ‘annoyed’ category just happens to be Bryan Danielson.

Week Five – Dynamite

No messing around, the coin drops*, we’re starting the show with a bang while the lead-in audience is at it’s height (I’m open on this, could do top of the hour or end of the show and push it).

With help from Schiavone, it’s made clear Okada’s come here to be AEW Champion.  Partly since not enough guys come in and want the title; moreover because the point of the packages has been that this is a Champion.  It’s what he does.

However, we can hold this off for a while because Bryan Danielson interrupts.  Okada broke his arm, they’re tied 1-1, etc etc.  Wheeler Yuta tries a sneak attack and takes a Rainmaker.

And we can now build to Okada decisively pinning Danielson with a single lariat.  I’m sure AEW’d like to save that for Forbidden Door, I’d prefer to have it happen sooner rather than later.  I’m looking for impact.  Meaning Double Or Nothing at the absolute latest.  AEW have more than enough top quality matches that they could even do it on tv with enough build.

And now we’ve told some of the backstory, told all of the new audience who Okada is, had him immediately positioned as a guy who’s aiming for the very top, interacts with – and defeats – other top acts.  We have ourselves a star.

Where we go next?  Well, he could target the champion or be further distracted by Matthew and Nicholas trying to recruit him to the darkside.  He could spin-off into a feud with Moxley having defeated the rest of his crew.  There are a ton of interesting scenarios.

Should be fun.

*I’m assuming NJPW would be cool with helping out on both fronts since they’ll continue to have access for big shows, he even told fans during his final appearance that they’d see him again.


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Paul Hemming
Paul Hemminghttps://h00kedon.weebly.com/
Paul Hemming got into AEW during the pandemic, lives in Liverpool, England, and is a huge Liverpool fan, Playstation player and history lover.

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