IWGP heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada is the latest guest on the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Podcast. On the podcast, the "Rainmaker" discussed topping the 2017 PWI 500, which was the first time a Japanese wrestler grabbed the number one spot in the list.
They sent us these highlights from the interview:
Topping the PWI 500:
"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of fans in America and overseas who are going to pick [the magazine] up and not know who this guy is. They'll be surprised and wondering who I am. So I really do hope that they dig a little bit and check out New Japan and check out the roster. And if that happens, that would be something that I consider an honor. Then, maybe . . . you guys might have a few more New Japan guys showing up in that list, toward the top 5 maybe."
The importance of showmanship in his wrestling presentation:
"From what I can see, gone are the days where you can just be the strongest and that will put you at the top. It takes a little bit more . . . something else to grab the attention of not just pro wrestling fans, but fans in generalóto catch their eye. That's why I enter the ring in the fashion that I do and wear a robe that shines the way it does. I can't see somebody in black trunks walking in and taking the spot that I hold now. That time is gone."
The prospect of one day going to WWE:
"There's really no telling what could happen. But just as much as I might feel the desire and the drive to be in a match against Jinder or something at that level at SummerSlam, just like Nakamura did, I might also want to jump into UFC. I might also want to go to Hollywood and try my luck thereómaybe as the next James Bond. Also, I might desire to focus on the next challenge against Kenny or whoever here. So, to be honest with you, I simply don't know."
Okada discussed several other topics during the candid interview, including his classic trilogy of matches with Kenny Omega and what might come next, his visit to the WWE locker room during a Smackdown house show in Los Angeles, his memories of working in TNA, and much more. Also on the podcast, Castle and PWI Senior Writer Dan Murphy discuss the rest of the PWI 500, including their thoughts on who made the top 10 and who did not. The PWI Podcast is available to stream at pwi-online.com or through iTunes. The December 2017 issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated, featuring the 27th annual PWI 500, is available for order or digital download now at pwi-online.com and will hit newsstands on September 26.