Kazuchika Okada makes shock AEW appearance after signing huge contract

kazuchika okada aew
Kazuchika Okada signs huge AEW contractAll Elite Wrestling (AEW)

Former IWGP Champion Kazuchika Okada made a shock appearance on Wednesday's edition of AEW Dynamite (March 6), after signing with AEW.

Okada, who had been New Japan Pro-Wrestling's top star for over a decade, was rumoured to be heading to AEW, but his debut as a contracted talent came as a huge surprise to many fans.

It came as The Young Bucks (Matthew and Nicholas Jackson) were cutting an in-ring promo in their heel EVPs gimmick. After 'firing' Kenny Omega from The Elite and 'indefinitely suspending' 'Hangman' Adam Page, the duo were confronted by Eddie Kingston.

kazuchika okada aew
All Elite Wrestling (AEW)

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But when things got physical, fans heard the famous 'coin drop', and The Rainmaker made his way to the ring dressed in a suit.

While fans first thought Okada was out to help Kingston, he instead sided with The Young Bucks, becoming the newest member of The Elite.

Following his Dynamite appearance, Tokyo Sports reported (via Wrestling Observer) that Okada had signed a three-year deal with AEW, worth an estimated $13.5 million.

kazuchika okada aew
All Elite Wrestling (AEW)

Related: Former AEW star makes shocking return to WWE

Okada announced his departure from NJPW in January, with his final matches for the company taking place last month.

In a statement, Okada told fans: "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."

Catch AEW Dynamite live every Thursday at 1am in the UK, Rampage every Saturday at 3am, and Collision every Sunday at 1am on TrillerTV with an AEW Plus subscription. US customers can also watch Dynamite on TBS and Rampage and Collision on TNT, and in the UK, AEW repeats air on ITV4.

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