Kazuchika Okada Names Potential Dream Matches In The U.S.

IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada has no immediate plans to wrestle in the United States. But fans remain hopeful that he will eventually fulfill some dream matches against some of the biggest names in pro wrestling in North America. Okada feels travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have only heightened the public's appetite for such matches.


"We can't possibly say at the moment, and everything is so up in the air," Okada told Wrestling Observer Radio through interpreter Chris Charlton. "And sometimes, putting these situations out [there], they might just end as dream matches. Everyone has a limited number of days left. But it's because we're in the situation that we're in that these dream matches kind of become more important to all of us as fans. To give us something to imagine, speculate, and look forward to. So, who knows? It might be Bryan Danielson, it might be CM Punk, it might be Triple H, or it might be Shinsuke Nakamura. It might be all of these different situations. Now we're in the situation, we're in as a planet and as a society where it's more important than ever to have these crazy sorts of speculations and wild dreams of things we can do."


Kazuchika Okada has wrestled one match in the United States since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. He defeated Buddy Matthews at NJPW's Battle In The Valley show last November. Okada has wrestled several other times in the U.S., but he said it's difficult for him to choose a favorite.

"So it's a little bit difficult to say just this one, or just this match, or just this moment because they're all kind of important," Okada said. "Obviously, Madison Square Garden, obviously Dallas with [Hiroshi] Tanahashi, or Long Beach with Cody Rhodes. Having a New Japan ring in an important venue, in an important setting, all of that is something that stays with me. It's New Japan that's given me that opportunity, so it's all those things that are very important."

Kazuchika Okada is preparing for his next defense of the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. He will defend the title against Tetsuya Naito on February 20. Okada expects this latest match between him and Naito to be different from their past encounters.

"The easy answer is that both of us have gotten older over the last few years," Okada explained. "We wrestled one another ten years ago in Korakuen Hall for the 40th anniversary. Now, we're coming close to the 50th anniversary. And back then, both of us were in our 20's. And now you're gonna see the culmination over the last 10 years – not only as professional wrestlers but in terms of characters, personalities, psychology. You're gonna see all of that come together. And the fans are gonna see a match that now is kind of the culmination of what started a decade ago."


If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Wrestling Observer Radio with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.