An interview with Kazuchika Okada was recently posted on New Japan Pro Wrestling’s website. In the interview, Okada talked about his victory over Sanada in the New Japan Cup and how he couldn’t rest after that win.
“The cup was over, I headed home and went straight to bed, expecting to get a good rest,’ the Rainmaker stated with a wry smile. ‘It didn’t work out that way. I woke up pretty quickly. The New Japan Cup may be over, but next is Madison Square Garden, an IWGP title match. I have to be working toward that, heading into G1 Supercard in peak condition and ready to take the IWGP Championship back.”
Okada’s New Japan Cup win guaranteed his title shot at White on April 5. Jay White has been nearly untouchable since his rise in the company, which saw him join The Bullet Club and defeat nearly every top guy in the company, including Hiroshi Tanahashi and even Okada himself.
But the importance of his match, as well as the importance of the G1 Supercard, is not lost on The Rainmaker.
‘(NJPW) has been to America before, but those events have often had foreign wrestlers facing each other at the top of the card. It’s New Japan Pro Wrestling at the end of the day (…) being at Madison Square Garden isn’t just a big deal for New Japan, this is a huge deal for Japan, period. To have a Japanese wrestler, standing as the face of professional wrestling, there’s only one person for that spot, and it’s me.”
Kazuchika also spoke about his IWGP title loss to Kenny Omega in 2018 and how that loss changed his career.
‘Last year, I lost the belt, and I kind of did what I wanted to do for a while. I think I’ve been able to learn from that time, and take some of the better elements of that period on board. But the Rainmaker still hasn’t gone anywhere, and the Rainmaker needs that (IWGP) belt.”
The IWGP Championship match is the headlining bout of the G1 Supercard event. It’s the biggest night of the year for Ring of Honor and for New Japan’s American expansion. Both companies are working together to make this night successful and it’s all taking place in WWE’s backyard, Madison Square Garden, during WrestleMania 35 weekend.