One of NJPW’s mainstays, franchise players is leaving the company.

NJPW has announced that the leader of the Chaos faction, Kazuchika Okada, is moving on.

“Kazuchika Okada will be leaving New Japan Pro-Wrestling after the conclusion of his contract on January 31 2024. We apologise to fans for the abrupt nature of this announcement, but join them in wishing Okada the very best in his future,” stated NJPW.

Okada himself released a statement though the promotion.

“I have nothing but gratitude for having been a part of New Japan Pro-Wrestling since 2007, and for NJPW bringing me from a 19 year old kid off the plane in Mexico to the Rainmaker I am today. Thank you to the best of companies in NJPW, to the best of opponents that I’ve been able to face here, and to the best of fans that have cheered and booed over the years. I promise to make it rain in every match I have left, so keep watching,” he said.

NJPW alerted fans to the fact that Okada will still be appearing at the February 11th, 23rd and 24th New Beginning shows. The February 11th card will be special with Okada taking on his sometime nemesis and sometime partner Hiroshi Tanahashi.

The Rainmaker has been the IWGP Heavyweight Championship five times and the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion twice.

At 720 days, his fourth reign as IWGP Heavyweight Champion stands as the longest in NJPW history.

He has also won the G1 Climax tournament four times and the New Japan Cup twice.

It is not clear who will become the leader of Chaos in his absence.

It is rumoured that Okada is heading to AEW or the WWE.

Okada’s mentor Ultimo Dragon had this to say about his departure.

“Okada came yesterday to meet me to let me know he is leaving New Japan.  Ever since he came to Toryumon when he was 15 years old, he has always been very humble. Every time he has had an important event in his life, he always lets me know.  Although he hasn’t decided yet, I’m sure he will continue to be a superstar wherever he goes. But not only that, I know he will never change and will continue to be the great man he is,” he wrote on social media.