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However, I wouldn't draw such far-reaching conclusions from 2 sentences of spoilers, but anyway, as I see on this forum, this is quite common.
Gear 5 is the new face of One Piece.
That is not the point: the point is that Kizaru "forced" the G5 without even using Awakening, because G4 was not enough. If he won't have it, ok, then this is 100% Kizaru, but if he has awakening...

Kaido fought totally seriously against Luffy G4 bar for his last technique.

tbh, I am not saying Kizaru > Kaido. I just expected Kizaru to need Awakening to force Luffy to serious G5.
If Kuzan was above Kizaru
He'd be introduced after kizaru and be matched up with people stronger than that Kizaru fought

Kizaru : Kuzan opponents :
Luffy > old Garp
Old Ray =< Old Garp
Marco >~ Jozu
Injured Sentomaru > injured Cracker
Garp Is called the strongest old man in usopp gallery when Whitebeard was alive.
Idk where you got Garp >= Rayleigh from, Garp >> Rayleigh especially when Garp still trains and Rayleigh didn't touch a sword since decades.


Two bad kids and the strongest old man!

Notes: On DeepL, the "strongest" alternative word is "most powerful" so its not in reference to pure physical strength, and even if it was, it would need to reference haki too, making his haki the strongest.

Also, this is from the Usopp Gallery of Volume 50, during Thriller Bark, meaning it would include Oldbeard.
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