NJPW News: Dave Meltzer considers Kazuchika Okada as one of the biggest stars under the age of 30
Veteran journalist lionises Okada as one of the biggest Japanese wrestling stars.
What's the story?
On January 8th, a curious fan asked a very simple question to veteran pro-wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer, the question was whether Meltzer considered Kazuchika Okada as one of the biggest stars under the age of thirty? To which, Meltzer replied in the affirmative.
In case you didn't know
Okada is one of the biggest stars in New Japan Pro-Wrestling right now. He won the G1 Climax tournament in 2012 and 2013. He won the New Japan Cup in 2013 and is a four-time IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.
In the past, Okada's had five-star matches against Hiroshi Tanahashi on three separate occasions, and once with Tomohiro Ishii.
He's also won several awards from Wrestling Observer, such as Best Wrestling manoeuvre (The Rainmaker-2012 and 2013), Feud of the Year (Hiroshi Tanahashi-2012 and 2013), Match of the Year (against Hiroshi Tanahashi-2013), and Most Improved (2012).
In 2016, he was ranked #2 in the top 500 wrestlers list in Pro Wrestling Illustrated's PWI 500.
He's also received four awards from Tokyo Sports under the Best Bout category, and the MVP Award on three different occasions.
The heart of the matter
The reason why Meltzer thinks Okada's one of the biggest stars right now might be because of his recent six-star bout against Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 11.
Okada defended his IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against Omega in what almost every pro-wrestling fan considers to be one of the greatest matches of the 21st Century.
Okada fought Omega, not just for the IWGP World Heavyweight title, but also to solidify his position as the face of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
Okada will be feuding next with Minoru Suzuki and Suzuki's heel faction, Suzuki-gun. Suzuki attacked Okada and his faction CHAOS, after his six-man tag match on NJPW's New Year Dash event held on January 5th.
Okada’s rise to prominence shows that one doesn’t need the spotlight or marketing provided by the WWE to be successful. In this age when any wrestling product is available at the click of a button, Okada, through his work in the ring makes sure that fans don’t consider NJPW, a lesser brand than the WWE.
The video below shows highlights from Okada’s match against Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 11:
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