WWE’s Targeted Free Agent Makes Move to AEW

WWE's Targeted Free Agent Makes Move to AEW

After months of speculation, we have a clear idea of the direction a major free agent will end up.

According to the first report via FightfulSelect.com, Kazuchika Okada is heading for All Elite Wrestling. The contract was reported to have been signed in the past couple of weeks, and unless something unexpected occurs, he’s expected be signed by AEW. The company was believed to be convinced that they could take him on as early in January, which was about the time the announcer made his announcement that he was departing New Japan Pro Wrestling.

There was an intense attention to Okada by WWE. They’ve tried to sign him for a long time but this time there was a feeling that there was a greater possibility than there was before. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter said that Shinsuke Nakamura’s campaign was successful partly, because they wanted to prove to Okada that they were an entirely new system and that they would treat him as an elite talent. While Vince McMahon was in charge it was common for foreign wrestlers to be used as low-to mid-card talent, and occasionally perform as stereotypical characters. This isn’t the situation with Nakamura under the direction of Triple H.

Okada has close friends from both organizations, and he’s believed to be a great friend of The Young Bucks. He’s had a relationship with AEW previously and is believed to have been satisfied with the way he was treated with respect by Tony Khan and everyone in AEW which he was working with. There’s no confirmation about the official AEW start date, but it is not likely that he will start until he has completed the commitments he has with NJPW.