It looks like AEW has picked up yet another big piece to a massive 2024. Fightful Select reported that Kazuchika Okada is heading to All Elite Wrestling after a historic run in New Japan Pro Wrestling. This is a move that shouldn’t surprise many, but it still builds on the momentum for what has already been a strong start to the year for the Tony Khan-led promotion. Okada in AEW shores up what is already a strong roster for this year and potentially years to come.
Okada landing in AEW shouldn’t be a moment that shocks a lot of wrestling fans. Anyone who was following the reporting saw that the company felt strong in their recruiting offers, even though he was reportedly in talks with WWE. Any individual who goes into free agency should do their due diligence to check out all the offers presented to them. Okada is a veteran of the game, so it is not surprising that he did the same.
It's understandable why some fans wanted to see Okada in WWE. WWE is the biggest promotion in the industry and offers the biggest stage to any wrestler who stands near the top of the industry as Okada does. Fans didn’t believe Cody Rhodes would get such a presentation during his return from AEW, and WWE far exceeded expectations. The same could be said about Okada if he made that jump, especially heading into WrestleMania 40. Think about the potential matches against the likes of Seth Rollins, GUNTHER, Finn Balor, Rhodes, and several others. It would have been something to see.
As he prepares to join AEW, Okada also brings another important benefit. AEW has struggled with injuries in recent years. Right now, MJF, Kenny Omega, and Adam Cole are all out of action in one way or another. Signing Okada gives the company another name that can immediately slot into a main event angle. However, this is an issue that also builds to who has time taken away from them. Individuals like Ricky Starks, Orange Cassidy, or others may see precious minutes go away over time, but that is the cost of doing business for AEW.
Professional wrestling is enjoying an exciting start to 2024. With several top names negotiating big deals, there are big moves that may come in the future. Okada to AEW takes another big name off the board as the months continue to creep by.