• Carlos Astorga

Kenny Omega Explains His Plan for a Gradual Rise to AEW Stardom


Kenny Omega: ‘I want to be a true, all-around, real best in the world performer’ Two weeks ago on Dynamite, AEW star Kenny Omega defeated Alan Angels. Omega emerged victorious following a second V-trigger, ending a match that clocked in at a tidy six minutes and twenty-five seconds. Angels is not a household name in wrestling, though his performance against Omega showed that he certainly has the potential to be a player for AEW. The match was textbook Omega, who always wants his opponents to shine. That mindset is not on display by Omega because he is one of AEW’s Executive Vice Presidents. It is simply Omega’s nature, another example of the manner in which he is bringing his own unique psychology to mainstream pro wrestling. “Not everyone who watches AEW is familiar with my work in Japan,” said Omega who teams with “Broken” Matt Hardy on Wednesday night’s Dynamite to wrestle Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara in a street fight. “I’m not sure everyone knows ‘The Best Bout Machine.’ So the question was asked, is the best way to introduce this character by giving him the world right off the bat? Maybe that could have worked. “To me, I would rather take more unknown names, guys that don’t have that big reputation yet, and show there is something special about them. I want to be a force to help introduce new stars to the world and magnify the work of those around me.” In an era where stories are told in an instant, Omega envisions his rise in AEW as a novel full of different chapters. Like any engaging story, his goal is to keep the attention of viewers, just like he did with or without the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in New Japan Pro Wrestling. “A lot of people watched my work in New Japan, and they think there is this mysterious figure, this booker, Gedo, and he controls and oversees all and writes all the stories,” explained Omega. “No. I wrote my own stories. That was me.” Omega finds himself in unfamiliar territory in AEW as the favorite. During his tenure in New Japan, Omega fought to elevate himself from the junior heavyweight division to heavyweight, which is incredibly hard to do, and then had to convince the company that he could add value to the main event scene. Omega’s rise from an IWGP Junior Heavyweight title match at Wrestle Kingdom 9 against Ryusuke Taguchi—who is a fantastic talent but still remains in the junior heavyweight division—to headlining Wrestle Kingdom 13 against wrestling legend Hiroshi Tanahashi in 2019 was a process full of toil, tears, and, ultimately, triumph. Omega’s goal now is to show different sides of his personality and continue to spark interest, keeping people watching every single week. “One of the last things I said when I was leaving New Japan after my match with Tanahashi was to Will Ospreay,” said Omega. “I told him there is no one with a larger tool box and set of tools than him, and it was just a matter of getting his s--- together and figuring out how to use those tools properly instead of just doing s--- just to show people you can. And to his credit, Will’s figured it out. He’s regarded by a large chunk of people as the best in the world. But the thing is, as soon as you’re injured or people decide you’re not the best in the world, then what? How do you keep that passionate fan base with you? “For me, through the way I tell my stories and the way I value my fans from around the world, who mean the world to me, people have stuck with me even though I’m not in the main event picture. And it doesn’t matter if I’m not in the main event picture, I am performing my ass off to deliver main event level performances. I understand that you can’t just be a dude that has long singles matches with the same people over and over. You have to challenge yourself in all match types, including TV matches. Guys that think they’re great in the Wild West where they can do whatever the f--- they want, sure, they’re great. Not to sound egotistical, but putting on great matches, that’s the easiest part for me. Try to do it when you have to hit a hard eight minutes, and still blow the fans’ socks off.” Challenging himself to become a multi-faceted performer is the top priority for Omega. “I want to be a true, all-around, real ‘best in the world’ performer,” said Omega. “That means singles matches, tag matches, mixed tags, battle royals, you have to be able to do it all. With AEW, I’ve been allowed the creative freedom to develop myself as more of an all-around performer. “I had incredible chemistry tagging with Ibushi. I asked myself, can I do it again with Hangman? I believe I can. Can I do mixed tags with Riho? How about a hardcore death match with Mox? That’s the type of wrestler I want to be. And no, people have not got my absolutely strong suit yet, my forte, the main-event style singles match. It’s not that I’ve lost it, it’s that I am building a tool chest from the ground up for a new audience. I want to do the hard work, setting the table for everyone to accept new faces.” Omega is a confident performer that truly believes in his work. Whether he is wrestling against a less-heralded opponent, or headlining a pay-per-view, Omega knows no one can capture the audience’s attention quite like he can. “When it’s time, which is sooner than people think, I’ll remind people why I’m the best in the world,” said Omega. “And it’s coming. It’s not a matter of if it’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of when.”

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