New Japan Pro Wrestling star Kazuchika Okada, aka “The Rainmaker”, recently took part in the Five Questions portion of Sports Illustrated Extra Mustard‘s Week In Wrestling with Justin Barrasso.
Okada talks about his goals in NJPW, his time in TNA, thoughts on Shinsuke Nakamura leaving for WWE, and more. You can read a few highlights below:
Kazuchika Okada talks about training with Ultimo Dragon, his style of wrestling:
I am new school, but Ultimo Dragon taught me that wrestling is a fight. He taught me the importance of the fighting spirit in the ring.
I started wrestling in Mexico, and then I came to New Japan. I tried to be different. I learned the Mexican style, the Japanese style and the American style. My dropkick is from Mexico, but my fighting spirit is from Japan. The TV and the entertainment is from the U.S., so everything combined. I was a young age, 16 years old, in Mexico. I traveled to these different countries, and I have the new style from Mexico and TNA. I wrestled two years in Florida, then back in Japan, and everything combined for a new style. It’s different. I was looking for old school wrestling that looked new. Dropkicks are old moves, but I wanted to make a new version of an old move.
Okada comments on TNA’s mishandling of him during his tenure, how he came up with “The Rainmaker” character:
I learned in TNA that I needed more than just a good match–I needed a character. That’s how I became the “Rainmaker.” It was good for me. TNA didn’t use me, but I got hungrier to wrestle. The struggle made me better. I was always a good wrestler. I feel like I can wrestle anybody. Of course, I wanted to main event wrestling matches in TNA, but in their eyes, no, that would not happen. So I went back to New Japan. I took the timing and technique I learned in the U.S. back with me to Japan.
When I was in TNA, somebody told me about the “Rainmaker.” I thought it was a nice character. In Japan, there is no character–it’s fight, fight, fight. So I needed a character. When I was just a strong wrestler, TNA didn’t use me. I didn’t have a character, so I knew I needed one. That’s what the agents in TNA kept telling me, so I made this character and I took it to New Japan.
Okada comments on Shinsuke Nakamura signing with WWE, if his ‘strong style’ will translate well:
I was very surprised he left for WWE. I was so surprised, but it’s no problem. That’s what he wanted–he wanted to go.
There is more emotion in a match in New Japan. The matches here in the U.S. are so fast that sometime they lack emotion. It is move, move, move. When I lost last year’s Tokyo Dome [at Wrestle Kingdom 9], I almost cried. There is that much emotion, and that is a big difference in style.
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