Kazuchika Okada, one of the world’s current best wrestlers, already has one eye on the future.
NJPW’s Okada is widely accepted as one of the greatest to ever do it. He has had countless classic matches throughout the years, including an iconic series with AEW’s Kenny Omega. The Japanese icon is still at the top of his game and continues to put on some of the greatest performances of his career but that doesn’t mean he isn’t looking to the future.
The Rainmaker shows no signs of slowing down and is hoping to pass on some of his skills to the next generation. He’s keen to give back as much as he can to New Japan and the business as a whole and he does this through training some of NJPW’s newest recruits. Okada has spoken to Nikkan SPA about his role of helping to train the stars of the future. (translation via Deepl)
“I want to create stars who will lead New Japan in the future. In order to create a star, it is faster if a star teaches a star, isn’t it? Besides, I myself did not originally come to New Japan as a member of the wrestling elite. Although I entered the world after graduating from junior high school, I did not have a spectacular record in amateur wrestling like other wrestlers. When I first joined Toryumon, I couldn’t even do 500 squats and everyone around me kept telling me that I was no good. I am proud to say that I have something to teach a wide range of people because of this experience. I want to give back to New Japan Pro-Wrestling by raising the next top person myself. If someone can beat me, that means he is a star among stars. I want more and more people like that to join us. It is with such people that the future of New Japan Pro-Wrestling will exist. We must pass on to the next generation the sashes that have been passed down from one generation to the next for the past 50 years. To do that, we need stars and the more stars we have, the better. I wish I could stay at the top for another 100 years, but that is impossible. There is a limit to how long I can stay at the top. By nurturing such a top star with my own hands, I can repay New Japan Pro-Wrestling and engrave the name of Kazuchika Okada in the history of the wrestling world as the man who created a new top star.”-Kazuchika Okada.
For any young wrestler there might not be anyone better to learn from than Okada himself. The Rainmaker won the 2022 G1 Climax and will Face Jay White at WrestleKingdom 17 for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.