Backstage Reaction To Kazuchika Okada’s AEW Debut As A Heel With The Elite

Despite WWE’s interest, Kazuchika Okada is All Elite; he officially began his deal on Dynamite last week. His full-time debut came when he turned heel and joined The Young Bucks to attack Eddie Kingston.

Okada joined The Elite and made a title belt gesture around his waist, implying a future match, and Okada joined The Elite as they shook hands. Okada and The Young Bucks also performed at the Collision TV tapings.

Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select reported that AEW is very pleased with the move, and that the decision to turn his heel was made well before Okada signed with AEW, with AEW President Tony Khan coming up with the idea as early as the holidays.

According to the report, “Khan has long been of the belief, even before AEW, that Okada can be a major heel star on American wrestling TV.” It was also stated that his performance last week only solidified this, with the company calling it a home run.

Okada’s facial expressions were well received by those in the company, and there is hope that in AEW, he will be able to do things differently than he has in the past. The company is also said to be very confident in the Young Bucks’ chemistry, which they expected based on previous performances.

AEW officials were also pleased with the response to Okada’s Collision segments, as the promotion “felt it was important to time his debut for immediately after Sting retired, to give them another big star in a big spot.”