*BREAKING* NJPW Announces Kazuchika Okada Will Depart The Company

KOBE, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 27: Kazuchika Okada enters the ring during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling 'G1 Climax 30' at the World Hall on September 27, 2020 in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

Kazuchika Okada is leaving New Japan Pro Wrestling.

NJPW took to their social media channels to announce that former IWGP Heavyweight Champion and future Hall of Famer, Kazuchika Okada will depart the company when his contract expires on Jan. 31.

“Thank you for supporting New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

Kazuchika Okada will be leaving New Japan Pro-Wrestling after the conclusion of his contract on January 31 2024. 

We apologise to fans for the abrupt nature of this announcement, but join them in wishing Okada the very best in his future. 

As the New Beginning series begins this weekend, Okada will appear on February dates on February 11 in Osaka, and February 23 and 24 in Sapporo. Changes will be made to forthcoming cards with an announcement to follow. 

We appreciate your understanding and continued support.”

– NJPW on Kazuchika Okada’s Departure

The seven-time Heavyweight Champion released the following statement, confirming his departure:

“I have nothing but gratitude for having been a part of New Japan Pro-Wrestling since 2007, and for NJPW bringing me from a 19 year old kid off the plane in Mexico to the Rainmaker I am today. Thank you to the best of companies in NJPW, to the best of opponents that I’ve been able to face here, and to the best of fans that have cheered and booed over the years. I promise to make it rain in every match I have left, so keep watching.”

– Kazuchika Okada on Leaving NJPW

The 36-year-old made his New Japan Pro Wrestling debut in 2007 and was a staple of NJPW programming for the past 17 years and has held the IWGP Heavyweight Championship seven times as well as winning the G1 Climax on four occasions, in addition to the New Japan Cup twice. Okada currently holds the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Titles alongside Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tomohiro Ishii.

BodySlam will provide any updates on the status of Kazuchika Okada as they become available.