The IWGP heavyweight champion, Kazuchika Okada, appeared on the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Podcast. On the show, he talked about being number one on the 2017 PWI 500 and becoming the first Japanese wrestler to be the number one on the list.
Here are the highlights from the interview via PWI:
Topping the PWI 500:
“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of fans in America and overseas who are going to pick [the magazine] up and not know who this guy is. They’ll be surprised and wondering who I am. So I really do hope that they dig a little bit and check out New Japan and check out the roster. And if that happens, that would be something that I consider an honor. Then, maybe . . . you guys might have a few more New Japan guys showing up in that list, toward the top 5 maybe.”
The importance of showmanship in his wrestling presentation:
“From what I can see, gone are the days where you can just be the strongest and that will put you at the top. It takes a little bit more . . . something else to grab the attention of not just pro wrestling fans, but fans in general—to catch their eye. That’s why I enter the ring in the fashion that I do and wear a robe that shines the way it does. I can’t see somebody in black trunks walking in and taking the spot that I hold now. That time is gone.”
The prospect of one day going to WWE:
“There’s really no telling what could happen. But just as much as I might feel the desire and the drive to be in a match against Jinder or something at that level at SummerSlam, just like Nakamura did, I might also want to jump into UFC. I might also want to go to Hollywood and try my luck there—maybe as the next James Bond. Also, I might desire to focus on the next challenge against Kenny or whoever here. So, to be honest with you, I simply don’t know.”