Ever since losing the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom on Night Two of Wrestle Kingdom 14, Kazuchika Okada has been a bit wayward. He wasn’t interested in being double champion, and failed to win both the New Japan Cup and G1 Climax in 2020. A feud with Yujiro Takahashi did nothing to inspire fans, but he showed glimmers of his past excellence in tournament matches against men like Shingo Takagi or at Wrestle Kingdom 15 with Will Ospreay.
Now that there is just one belt to chase, that being the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, Okada is interested once again. After Will Ospreay defeated Kota Ibushi to win that belt, Okada was one of the two men to step up and make the challenge. Considering they have a Tokyo Dome event coming up in May, NJPW gladly slotted their top draw into that main event slot.
Kazuchika Okada Has Been Working Injured
One concern that popped up as this news was announced was due to the status of Okada. He has been reportedly working through a major injury, that being two slipped discs in his back. Lately, he’s only been working undercard tag team matches, where he hits some classic spots like his dropkick and tags out to keep himself out of danger.
Unless the report from Dave Meltzer was incorrect, and Okada has just been taking it easy for other reasons, it will be hard to imagine him being able to walk away with the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at this time. Okada has also been talking about going to wrestle in Impact Wrestling or AEW, which could also mess with these plans.
An Excellent Opponent Either Way
But one thing that isn’t up in the air, is the quality of opponent he faces. Will Ospreay is the current champion, and he will be facing Shingo Takagi for the belt first. Shingo & Ospreay met in the finals of the 2021 New Japan Cup, a tournament where Okada was taken out in the first round by Shingo.
Whoever wins their match, will have Okada as their next challenger, which is great for fans. Neither match has ever had a bad match with Okada, and in the main event of the Tokyo Dome, having a bad match isn’t an option considering how high the standards have been set.
Do you think Kazuchika Okada will leave May as IWGP World Heavyweight Champion? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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