NJPW News: IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada earning $2.2 million in Japan
IWGP Heavyweight Champ Kazuchika Okada reportedly earning $2.2 million per year in New Japan Pro Wrestling as the company's top star.
What's the story?
According to an excerpt from a recent Vice.com article, current IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada signed a contract in 2016 that will see the face of the company earn about $2.2 million per year with New Japan Pro Wrestling.
In case you didn't know...
The 29-year-old Japanese sensation Kazuchika Okada has been wrestling since his teenage years and was earmarked for greatness since his arrival in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Everyone from company executives to his fellow wrestlers, fans and critics alike projected Okada as the next major face of Japanese wrestling scene due to his “perfect storm” of charisma, natural athletic ability, and physical appearance.
Since his return in 2011 he has been consistently near the top of the company, but it wasn't until the main event match at Wrestle Kingdom 10 - where Okada defeated long-time standard bearer Hiroshi Tanahashi to win his third IWGP Heavyweight title - that he became the new “ace” of the Japanese wrestling world.
The heart of the matter
Vice.com recently published an article taking an in-depth look at Canadian wrestler Kenny Omega, the current leader of a global wrestling faction called Bullet Club.
In the article, when discussing Omega's recent Tokyo Dome main event against Kazuchika Okada – a match that is now being hailed as one of the greatest of all time – the author reveals that the “Rainmaker” signed a new contract in 2016 that will see him earn roughly $2.2 million per year.
This is likely more than any other current name signed with New Japan Pro Wrestling, with the only possible exception being Hiroshi Tanahashi.
In 2014, Okada launched a charitable organisation called the Rainmaker fund, where he has pledged to donate 30,000 Yen (around $270 USD) towards childhood cancer prevention for every match he wins using his signature Rainmaker lariat.
After retaining his world title against Kenny Omega in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 11, in what many would consider his greatest challenge yet, Okada's stock can only go up from here.
His next challenge comes in the form of a returning legend, as Okada will put the IWGP title on the line against Minoru Suzuki at NJPW: The New Beginning in Sapporo on Sunday, February 5.
$2.2 million is great money in Japanese wrestling. It's actually great money for any wrestler, regardless of promotion.
While it's definitely not “John Cena money”, Okada is easily making more than the majority of WWE performers outside of the top, elite level stars.
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