Only days after revealing he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, Kazuchika Okada returned to New Japan Pro-Wrestling at today's Road To Wrestle Grand Slam show in Korakuen Hall.
The Rainmaker appeared before the fans in attendance ahead of the scheduled card and made it known that he still wants to have a match for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
Okada was originally scheduled to challenge Will Ospreay for the gold at Wrestle Grand Slam in Tokyo Dome, but the show was postponed because of the state of emergency in Japan. The title has also since been vacated after Ospreay returned to the United Kingdom.
If Okada will get his wish remains to be seen, but one of NJPW's biggest shows of the year Dominion is coming up in less than two weeks.
Okada also commented further backstage about his recent bout with COVID-19, adding: "It's been a hectic few days, but like I said in the ring, I'm doing great. I had COVID, and my matches were delayed. Yokohama Stadium and Tokyo Dome might have been postponed, but to further postpone my (IWGP World Heavyweight Championship) challenge, now that I'm fit and healthy, I can't let that slide. So that's why I took the time to come out here and say what I said.
"I said this on the radio, but as far as my COVID experience is concerned, I have nothing but gratitude. To the doctors, the health centre staff and most of all to NJPW. Even when everything was very uncertain, the company did everything they could to look after me and the care was top notch. It's because of all that I'm able to be here today as healthy as I am. The company has decided to keep everybody's names private... although I went and blabbed on my own, heh. But I got permission for that... maybe that wasn't something they were planning to give, but they said it was just as important for me to be able to put it out there.
"I really have so much gratitude for them to support us all like that, in all sorts of ways. But it can't end just with gratitude. I have to pay back the company, and all the fans who were worried about me, with great matches. This month, I only wrestled three days, and even last month I could count my matches on one hand. So I've got a lot of stuff pent up. I don't know what's around the corner, but I'm ready to let loose, and you can look forward to seeing that."