On Sunday, June 26th, 2023, the top forces in AEW and NJPW will collide once again at the anticipated sequel of Forbidden Door with Bryan Danielson and Kazuchika Okada. Like many sequels, this event looks to be bigger and better and attempts this with a huge crossover matchup for the ages.
In one corner, we have the American Dragon and the man that has traveled the world to become a legend in the sport due to his incredible body of work. On the other side, we have the Rainmaker and the man who looks to cement his legacy as the greatest wrestler of all time, but one man across the pond stands in his way. This is Bryan Danielson vs Kazuchika Okada: Never Crossed Paths.
Kazuchika Okada – One of Japan’s Greatest Wrestlers Comes To AEW
On September 5th, at All Out 2021, after 10 years in WWE, Bryan Danielson came to All Elite Wrestling to face the top stars around the world. This had fans racking up many ideas for dream matches for the American Dragon, with a certain blonde-haired Japanese megastar at the top of many lists.
Despite many matches coming to reality against guys such as Kenny Omega, Jon Moxley, and Adam Page, the two greats never had a chance to cross paths. Since Danielson has not been to NJPW since his AEW debut, and Okada’s only match in AEW was in a four-way for the IWGP title, a match between the two seemed very distant until now…
Bryan Danielson – A Dragon Flies Over The Rising Sun
On June 4th, at Dominion, the Blackpool Combat Club came to New Japan as Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, and Shota Umino challenged Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Tomohiro Ishii for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Championships. The champions retained when Okada hit Umino with a Rainmaker for the 3-count. However, this was not the end of BCC’s challenge.
Moxley proclaimed that Okada was not the best as the BCC train with the best wrestler in the world. This was followed with a video package of a desert, with a voice laying out a challenge to the Rainmaker to decide who is truly the greatest wrestler on planet Earth, which was accepted by Okada.
A couple of days later, NJPW held a press conference to confirm that Bryan Danielson vs Kazuchika Okada would be happening at Forbidden Door 2. In the press conference, Okada subtly brushed down Danielson by saying how he ‘has not seen a lot of Bryan Danielson’s matches’.
The America Dragon responded with fire, saying about he is ‘going to prove that he is better than Okada ever was’, setting the stage for an intense and legendary bout on June 26th.
Bryan Danielson and Kazuchika Okada –
A Battle For Wrestling Dominance
Throughout the 2000s, Bryan Danielson carved a legacy that earned him the nickname of ‘The Best Wrestler In The World’, through his huge body of work of classic matches. From ROH against Nigel McGuinness and Roderick Strong to Dragon Gate against Naruki Doi and SHINGO, the American Dragon left flames of greatness everywhere he went, placing him on a level with the greats such as Misawa and Kobashi.
When Danielson landed himself in WWE for the foreseeable future in 2010, there was a hole left in the wrestling world for the best competitor outside WWE. However, in 2012, there was a change of the guard as, after the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 6, a familiar face returned from an excursion to challenge Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. His name was Kazuchika Okada
Not only did the Rainmaker win the title on his first attempt, but he also went on to fill the hole Danielson left. From his look of a dominant giant with glorious blonde hair to a strong main event character of a confident champion, fans were hooked on him as the next top guy in Japan.
Not only has he had some of the most competitive matches in wrestling’s history with guys such as Naito and Ibushi, but he also broke the Meltzer scale with four 6+ star matches in his legendary rivalry with Kenny Omega.
Okada seemingly overtook from Danielson, being labeled as a ‘once in a generation talent’ by many wrestling journalists, which the Dragon did not take lightly as he was known as the best before Okada was even a known name in Japan, despite the Rainmaker having a better look. This match is not only about promotional dominance but of the status of who is higher on the GOAT list in professional wrestling.
Bryan Danielson and Kazuchika Okada – A Clash Of Immortal Styles
This dream clash between two generational talents proposes one of the most unique clashes of styles, with both men taking from many different influences through the years to create their ideologies.
Bryan Danielson has always approached his matches with a very technical style, manipulating a body part and working on it as well as bending the human body in sadistic ways. However, he separates himself from many other technical wrestlers.
By adapting to a style similar to NJPW junior heavyweights such as Liger and Otani by using high-flying offense. He has the ability to attack on the ground and from the sky. As well as his dangerous striking repertoire. It builds a dangerous all-around adversary for anyone.
On the other hand, we have Okada, the master of pacing. With all of the long main events he has had in New Japan, the Rainmaker has modernized the King’s Road style for 90’s All Japan, telling the story through the in-ring work.
He starts his match at a slow pace and weakens the neck for the dreaded Rainmaker clothesline, and then, out of nowhere, he speeds up the match with a heavy offense. He can manhandle his opponents with his insane strength and has robotic cardio with his fast pace late in a matchup.
Both men will look to start the match slowly to work down a body part for later in the match, which may favor Danielson due to his brutal technical precision on the ground, so Okada must try to overpower his opponent to stand a chance.
The later the match goes, the more it could show how similar both men are due to the amount of punishment either can take and their inhuman cardio late into a battle. It will be a closely contested bout between two unique wrestling ideologies that can propose a huge challenge to both athletes.
And this leads us to June 26th, 2023. At the sequel event to AEW X NJPW: Forbidden Door, two of the best to ever compete in the sport will finally face off one-on-one for the first time ever. Kazuchika Okada would go into this match with the mission to place himself at the top of a list of legends by defeating one of his toughest opponents of all time.
Bryan Danielson wanted to prove that he was never surpassed by Okada. In fact, he wanted to remain the best wrestler in the world by beating the multi-time IWGP World Champion. So, will the Rainmaker come to Toronto to bring down the rain on his way to greatness y shutting down a technical warrior? Or will the American Dragon prove to the wrestling world that he is the superior wrestler and that he is truly the best?