Japanese J1 League club FC Tokyo got some high-profile help with unveiling their new kits for the 2023 season over the weekend.
The club unveiled their new home kits, made by New Balance, on Saturday, January 7, with the help of New Japan Pro Wrestling superstar and current IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada.
Okada — who is a big FC Tokyo supporter and has attended several matches over the years — appeared at the kit unveiling with the IWGP belt and chatted with the hosts and midfielder Kuryu Matsuki.
FC Tokyo’s home kit has red and blue vertical stripes down the front. The blue polo collar features red trim, and red stripes run down each side of the shirt and under the arms. The back is solid blue to accommodate white name and number printing. The sleeve cuffs are solid blue, with a small red patch housing a white New Balance flash. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is printed on the back collar.
FC Tokyo have won the Japanese Emperor’s Cup once, in 2011, and the J.League Cup in 2004, 2009 and 2020. They have yet to win a top-flight Japanese league title, but did win second-tier championships in 1998 and 2011.
Okada — also known in the ring as “The Rainmaker” — defeated Jay White at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 17 on January 4 at the Tokyo Dome to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. This is his second reign as champion. He also won NJPW’s G1 Climax tournament in both 2021 and 2022.
This is hardly the first time soccer and pro wrestling have mixed in recent memory. In 2021-22, World Wrestling Entertainment sponsored seventh-tier English side Enfield Town FC and put the logo of their NXT UK brand on the front of the club’s shirts. And in 2022, Mexican manufacturer Charly collaborated with wrestling promotion AAA to produce lucha libre-inspired third kits for six teams it outfits in Liga MX.
FC Tokyo opens its 2023 J1 League season on Saturday, February 18, against Urawa Reds. Okada is scheduled to team with Togi Makabe to face Pro Wrestling NOAH superstars Kaito Kiyomiya and Yoshiki Inamura during the second night of Wrestle Kingdom 17 on January 21 in Yokohama, Japan.