What was said to be the “deciding factor” in why Kazuchika Okada signed with AEW instead of WWE

As seen during the March 6th 2024 edition of AEW Dynamite, Kazuchika Okada turned heel and joined The Elite with Matthew and Nicholas Jackson. This was Okada’s first appearance as an official member of the AEW roster.

In regards to why Okada signed with AEW instead of WWE, Justin Barrasso of SI.com noted that Okada getting to work with The Elite was a “deciding factor” and Okada is said to trust AEW President Tony Khan. It was reportedly Khan’s idea for Okada to start off as a heel.

Barrasso stated the following…

“Speaking with sources close to AEW and New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Okada feels he will be given the best opportunity to succeed in AEW. WWE was a real consideration for Okada, and he loved the idea of being part of a WrestleMania. But in AEW, Okada is not forced to relocate, and he can continue living in Japan if he chooses. It also means he can partner with the Bucks, and extend his rivalry with Kenny Omega.”

Barrasso added that The Bucks’ Okada-inspired robes from AEW Revolution were custom-made when Okada became a free agent.