Okada, the reigning IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, is widely viewed as one of NJPWs’ top stars. He’s a six-time world champion and a three-time winner of the G1 Climax. He recently said that there are plenty of dream matches he could have in AEW.
During his press conference following NJPW Wrestling Dontaku, where he retained the title against Tetsuya Naito, Okada made it clear that he believes he should be part of the Forbidden Door event. He also stated that the show should help both companies make more fans.
“I don’t know what shape that event will take, but the fact that we’re having this combined event at all means I should absolutely be a part of it,” said Okada. “There wouldn’t be much point in having a supershow like that if I’m not there. I think that we’ll create some more NJPW fans in the process, just like some NJPW fans in Japan will be discovering AEW as well. I think it’s definitely fitting for this 50th year. in January we wrestled with NOAH, recently it was NJPW and AJPW in the Korakuen Anniversary so this continues that spirit, absolutely.”
Okada also compared NJPW’s collaboration with AEW to the way the promotion joined forces with Pro Wrestling NOAH for Wrestle Kingdom 16. He noted that AEW is on “a different level”, and he’s aware of the elite talent the company has. He acknowledged that there might be some AEW fans who aren’t familiar with him, but he plans to show them how good he is.
“Well, AEW is on a different level to NOAH, so yes, I’m aware (laughs),’ said Okada. “They definitely have world class talent, but no matter how many great wrestlers they may have, I’m sure there are a lot of people who have never heard of them. And it goes both ways- there are AEW fans who only watch AEW and will be seeing Kazuchika Okada for the first time.
“But whatever happens, I’m fully confident that those people will be leaving knowing how good I am. No matter who it might be, I think that a lot of people will get fired up, draw on that energy. There’ll be fans counting the days, not sleeping the night before, and that’s great. But anything more specific, I can’t really say at this point.”
AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door will emanate from The United Center on June 26.