Kazuchika Okada gives his thoughts on NJPW expanding into the United States.
The war of words between Hiroshi Tanahasi and Kenny Omega has escalated in recent weeks, with both men feeling that their style of wrestling is superior to the other. While Okada wasn't quite willing to take sides, he did share his feelings on how NJPW is presented in the United States.
Speaking to NJPW1972.com, Okada gave his opinion on the fans chanting "New Japan" during the Young Bucks vs. Golden Lovers bout in March in Long Beach. The chant reportedly upset Tanahashi, who didn't think the match was a true representation of the NJPW style.
"I didn’t give it much thought. I mean, that match was on a New Japan card right? That makes it just as much ‘New Japan’ as anything else," said Okada. "Kenny, Ibushi, the Young Bucks are all perfectly aware that they’re wrestling in an NJPW ring. So I don’t really see the problem."
However, while they were in a NJPW ring, the Young Bucks vs. Golden Lovers is a bout that likely would not have headlined if the show were in Japan. When NJPW returned to the United States in July, the company headlined with Omega vs. Cody for the IWGP Heavyweight Title. The bout had previously taken place at a ROH event in April. Okada was wary of NJPW using US matches to headline NJPW shows.
"The one thing I will say, and I felt this about the Kenny vs Cody match (at Strong Style Evolved), since it is on a New Japan show, I’m not a fan of putting together cards that you could normally see in America. To be honest, Cody vs Kenny, that’s a match you could see on an American show," stated Okada.
Okada continued, saying that he wants "cards that make you say ‘now this is NJPW" in the US. "To me, I think we should be showing the American fans what this thing called New Japan Pro Wrestling is."
Okada will headline this Sunday's Fighting Spirit Unleashed card when NJPW returns to the Long Beach. He will team with Tomohiro Ishii to take on the Golden Lovers.