Kazuchika Okada is synonymous with the headlining bout of Wrestle Kingdom. Through the years, his matches with Kenny Omega and Hiroshi Tanahashi have become the stuff of legends.
This year, Okada will step away from the main event spotlight to go one-on-one with a man who has changed his ways as of late, Will Ospreay.
Speaking with Sports Illustrated, Okada admitted that he misses the main event Spotlight but is very much looking forward to testing his mettle against the reinvigorated Ospreay.
“I do miss being in the main event, but me and Ospreay will be something special,” Okada says. “Since he formed The Empire, Ospreay’s a lot more grounded as a wrestler. I think he’s upping his game again, and as his opponent, that’s exciting.”
He continued, “I think this match will get more attention than the main events of Wrestle Kingdom. Even if you are not wrestling in a main event, you can still have the best match on the card. If I were in the main event, [Tomohiro] Ishii could still blow my match out of the water earlier in the card. That’s what will happen here. I will wrestle the best match on Wrestle Kingdom. I’ll beat Ospreay, too.”
Of course, Japan, like the rest of the world, is trying to move forward from the global coronavirus pandemic. Okada acknowledges the challenges placed on the performers but is looking forward to providing some normalcy with NJPW’s biggest show of the year. Ultimately though, Okada would like to perform on a dream event that would host not only New Japan wrestlers but wrestlers from WWE, AEW, and Mexico.
“Times are tough right now, but I hope what we do will bring joy to everyone all over the world, and give them enough strength and positivity to do their best the next day,” Okada says. “When the world calms down, I would like to give back with other wrestling companies to all wrestling fans in the world who still support us even in this current situation.
“New Japan, WWE, AEW, CMLL, AAA altogether. Sounds pretty cool, don’t you think?”
Fightful has live coverage of both nights of Wrestle Kingdom 15 on January 4 and 5.