New Japan Pro Wrestling has announced that Kazuchika Okada, one of their top stars, is leaving the company after his contract expires on January 31.
In their statement on the NJPW website, the company writes:
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.
A statement was also made by Okada as part of the announcement, in which the Rainmaker gave thanks to the fans for their support over the years before promising to “make it rain” in his remaining matches.
Fightful Select reported that the star had a meeting with New Japan officials to discuss his future, with Okada notably planning to wrap up his tenure with the company.
The news comes after speculation as to where the Rainmaker will end up next, with the recent report reiterating that AEW was optimistic about making a deal but noting that it is too early to make a clear determination.
In addition to his matches in AEW programming over the past year, Okada recently competed in TNA Wrestling as part of their Snake Eyes tapings, teaming with the Motor City Machine Guns to face Eddie Edwards, Brian Myers, and Moose in a match set to air next week on TNA Impact.