NJPW superstar Kazuchika Okada recently spoke with Sports Illustrated to hype his high-stakes grudge match against Will Ospreay at next week's WrestleKingdom 15 pay per view. The Rainmaker discusses a variety of subjects, including how he believes he and Ospreay will outshine the show's main events. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
Says he's excited to work Ospreay at WrestleKingdom:
I’m excited to wrestle this new Ospreay. When he debuted in New Japan, he was a high-flying ball of energy. Wrestling Katsuyori Shibata made his strikes better and helped him step up a level, and he’s kept progressing since.
Admits he misses the main event but is excited to steal the show with Ospreay:
I do miss being in the main event, but me and Ospreay will be something special. Since he formed The Empire, Ospreay’s a lot more grounded as a wrestler. I think he’s upping his game again, and as his opponent, that’s exciting.
Feeling confident that he will beat Ospreay:
I think this match will get more attention than the main events of Wrestle Kingdom. Even if you are not wrestling in a main event, you can still have the best match on the card. If I were in the main event, [Tomohiro] Ishii could still blow my match out of the water earlier in the card. That’s what will happen here. I will wrestle the best match on Wrestle Kingdom. And I’ll beat Ospreay, too.
Not being able to work during the COVID shutdown and missing fans in the venue:
I had never experienced being away from a ring and not being able to take a bump for this long since I started in the business. So I just missed wrestling. It was that simple. When I got in the ring again, it felt like I was finally able to breathe again. Honestly, being in that ring, it’s like oxygen, and being away made it hard to breathe. Even with no fans in the venue, I was happy to be in that ring and wrestling again. Then, when we brought fans back, I got that feeling all over again. It really hit home that wrestling is built on the presence of fans.
Says he's hopeful for the future:
Times are tough right now, but I hope what we do will bring joy to everyone all over the world, and give them enough strength and positivity to do their best the next day. And when the world calms down, I would like to give back with other wrestling companies to all wrestling fans in the world who still support us even in this current situation. New Japan, WWE, AEW, CMLL, AAA all together. Sounds pretty cool, don’t you think?