Backstage Update On Rumors That NJPW's Kazuchika Okada Has Signed With WWE NXT

Ever since Kazuchika Okada announced he would be departing New Japan Pro Wrestling one week ago, many have been on pins and needles waiting to find out just what the former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion's next move would be. And early Tuesday morning, many thought they had the answer, as rumors emerged that Okada would be signing with WWE, and going to their "NXT" brand.

As the day has gone on, however, new information has led to fans pumping the brakes on Okada joining Chase U. Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Dave Meltzer reports that those close to Okada have denied a deal with WWE, or any promotion, has been reached, and that Okada had been telling friends he had yet to decide his future. This report was corroborated by Fightful Select, who confirmed that for those close to Okada and New Japan that no deal had been reached, and Okada was early in the process of making a decision.

Additionally, those within WWE and AEW also denied Okada was WWE-bound, with one WWE higher-up claiming an Okada signing was "news to us at this point." Another person involved in Okada's negotiations was so adamant that no deal had been reached that they stated they would "dispute" any report suggesting Okada had signed a contract. As always, the situation could change at any time.

Even if Okada reaches a deal with WWE, one thing fans cannot expect is an appearance from him at the Royal Rumble event this Saturday. Despite giving his notice, Okada remains under contract from New Japan until the end of the month and has agreed to work three final dates for the promotion in February. As such, he's not expected to debut for AEW, WWE, or any other promotion until after that period.