The Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame announced it’s new inductions for the 2022 edition, with Kazuchika Okada the biggest name in the group. It was the first year the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion has been eligible to go into the coveted hall of fame, with him incredibly receiving over 80% of the votes to get him in.
He was joined by Los Brazos (Brazo De Oro, Brazo De Plata, El Brazo), Jim Crockett Jr and Don Owen as the 2022 inductees. The award comes as no shock to wrestling fans. Okada has consistently been one of the best wrestlers on the planet since his debut. He has put on some of the best matches of all time, including a quadrilogy of matches against AEW star Kenny Omega.
Okada is a legend in NJPW, winning the IWGP Heavyweight Championship six times, despite being aged just 34. He has helped carry the company into becoming one of the best wrestling promotions in the world, and recently main evented Wrestle Kingdom 16 night 1 and 2. He won matches against Shingo Tagaki and Will Ospreay to walk out of the Tokyo Dome as the world champion.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer wrote that Kazuchika Okada was “the strongest candidate in many ways at the he was first put on the ballot, since we started doing the hall of fame voting in 1998”. Despite being only 34 years old, the Rainmaker has already achieved more in wrestling than 99% of other top wrestlers. He is in the conversation of being the greatest of all time despite not hitting his prime yet.
He has had some of the best matches of all time, with his bout with Kenny Omega being rated at 7 stars by Dave Meltzer. His title defence against Katsyuri Shibata at Sakura Genesis 2017 is the highest rated match for NJPW on Cagematch.net, and he just keeps on throwing out 5 star classic after 5 star classic on a nightly basis.
Congratulations to Kazuchika Okada on making it into the Hall of Fame, and here’s to many more years of seeing the Rainmaker doing what he does best – winning Championships in NJPW.
Okada received the third most votes ever for a hall of famer. He sits only behind fellow Japanese Legends Kenta Kobashi and Jushin “Thunder” Liger, getting 92% of the votes. He sits just ahead of The Rock, who was voted in by 86% of the voters in 2007.