Following weeks of speculation, we now know where a major free agent will go.
According to FightfulSelect.com, Kazuchika Okada is joining All Elite Wrestling. The agreement was said to have been reached within the last few weeks, and unless something unexpected happens, he is expected to sign with AEW. The company was reportedly confident in signing him as early as mid-January, around the same time he announced his departure from New Japan Pro Wrestling.
WWE expressed serious interest in Okada. They had tried to sign him for years, but this year they felt there was a better chance than before. According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Shinsuke Nakamura’s push occurred in part to show Okada that this was a new regime in which he would be treated as a top talent. When Vince McMahon was in charge, foreign wrestlers were frequently used as low- to mid-card talent, and they would occasionally play stereotypical characters. That has not been the case for Nakamura under Triple H.
Okada has friends in both companies and is said to be close friends with The Young Bucks. He has previously worked for AEW and is said to have been pleased with how Tony Khan and everyone else at AEW treated him. There is no official AEW start date, but he is not expected to begin until he completes his commitments with NJPW.