Backstage Update On When Kazuchika Okada Will Debut With AEW

The rainy season is coming to All Elite Wrestling, as "The Rainmaker" will be landing in the promotion very soon.

Fightful Select is reporting that there are tentative plans to have the former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion "in the fold" by March 6, the date of next week's "AEW Dynamite." On today's pre-Revolution Media Call, AEW President Tony Khan alluded to having a big surprise planned for next week's "Dynamite" in Atlanta, GA. If the surprise is Okada, that would mean he'd be debuting after Will Ospreay's fullt-ime AEW debut against Konosuke Takeshita at Revolution and before "AEW Dynamite: Big Business" on March 13, which is when former IWGP Women's Champion Mercedes Mone is likely to debut.


Okada has been the franchise face of NJPW for much of the last decade — a multi-time heavyweight champion and G1 Climax winner — but decided to leave the promotion when his contract expired in January. Okada finished up his scheduled dates with NJPW over the course of February, including a match with old rival Hiroshi Tanahashi, with his last match taking place on February 24 at NJPW New Beginning In Sapporo Night 2, where he teamed with Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI and Toru Yano to defeat Matt Riddle, United Empire's Jeff Cobb, Great-O-Khan, Callum Newman and Francesco Akira. As of his retirement, Okada was NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Champion alongside YOSHI-HASHI and Hiroshi Tanahashi. The reign lasted 266 days and was Okada's first non-world title in NJPW.


Okada marks the third former NJPW free agent AEW has signed for a March debut.