an exciting time in the career of professional wrestler superstar Kenny Omega.
living legend is on a roll despite being not signed to global powerhouse, the
WWE, but rather with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, how many insiders now state is #2
globally, followed by U.S based Impact Wrestling (Anthem Sports).
will square off again Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP heavyweight title on June 9
at New Japans Dominion show in Osaka, Japan.
Omega is promoting the New Japan brand, as well as his own brand, come June 29
in Daytona Beach, Fla., via the 2018 CEO Fighting Game Championships with CEO
promoter Alex Jebailey for a almost WrestleMania like presentation of professional
wrestling and eSports, but with more of a pop culture, fanboy and fangirl element.
and Kenny Omega present New Japan Pro Wrestling will be an opportunity for
Omega to see how pro wrestling can coalesce with eSports.
spoke with sports media powerhouse, Sports Illustrated:
put together a card Im really proud of, said Omega. Its
going to be a great all-around show.
card will consist of five matches with at least two dark (matches. The card line
in will be announced in the coning weeks and Omega is taking steps to have the
show streamed online, which is a growing trend for world leading professional
sports and entertainment.
is one of the largest fighting game competitions in the world, and promoter, Alex
Jebailey, is a wrestling fan himself who has merged wrestling into gaming via
a wrestling ring for the gamers to use as the site of their grand finals in the
tournament, as well as wrestling-like entrances for his eSport competitors.
will be Omegas fourth straight year attending CEO, a mega event that has
seen his fights (and victories) over WWE superstar and fellow gamer Xavier Woods
aka 'Austin Creed' in Street Fighter. New Japan top brass gave him the go ahead
for a show at this years event.
Japan is still learning about the concept of eSports and how this has the potential
for them to be seen by new fans, but they believe in me, said the 34-year-old
Omega. Alex Jebailey has a respect for the art of pro wrestling, and he
bases the flow and style of his shows like pro wrestling to make them so entertaining.
Its not just a fun experience for the competitors, its memorable for
the spectators, too. Ever since we met, we thought it would be cool to merge worlds
and run a full-scale wrestling show at a fighting game event.
shared that immersing himself in the CEO gaming community has been one of the
best experiences of his life. He wants to share the experience with the professional
wrestling world while also highlighting New Japan style of wrestling.
is an event that keeps growing, and each year Ive felt more part of the
fighting game community, said Omega. I really wanted to give back,
and the best way for me to do that is with a wrestling show. You always have that
self-doubt, and Ive asked myself, How many people will want to watch
this? But I really feel bringing a full-scale New Japan show will be something
that everyone there can appreciate.
Omega can fully engage in the gaming world and unleash fury as "Street Fighters"
Abigail, he must first focus on his upcoming opportunity at Osaka-jo Hall in Osaka,
as he challenges Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP heavyweight championship on June
9 at New Japans Dominion card.
Dominion show is arguably the second most significant New Japan show of the year
behind Januarys Wrestle Kingdom, which is Japan's equivalent of WWE's WrestleMania.
This years show includes the Young Bucks challenging EVIL and Sanada for
the IWGP tag titles, Chris Jericho vs. Tetsuya Naito for the Intercontinental
title, Rey Mysterio against a yet-to-be announced opponent, and the fourth installment
of Omega-Okada. The Young Bucks were recently seen with professional wrestling
legend Hulk Hogan, and Hogan was very supportive of Young Bucks.
enjoys some history with the New Japan promotion and in fact on May 3rd, 1993,
he faced off against The Great Muta at Wrestling Dontaku" which emanated
from the Fukuoka Dome in Tokyo and was watched live by 55,000 fans.
Okada, this is a match for his pride, said Omega. For me, its
the opportunity of a lifetime. Im fortunate enough to be in a position again
where I can say this is the biggest match of my career.
Omega-Okada series stands at 1-1-1, as each man has won a match and lost a match,
with the draw coming at last years Dominion show.
every Omega-Okada match, there are people ready to look for flaws in Omegas
performance. There are some who want to see Omega fail, including wrestlers in
the business. Omega has autonomy in his matches, instead of writers and bookers
instructing him how to perform, which insiders state leads to some of professional
jealousy. In the current era WWE matches are very tightly choreographed and scripted,
so Omega is going against the grain. He aims to do part four of this series justice
for the fans who are pumped to see this.
as Kenny Omega the character and the person, realize I am not the person who was
rightfully in line for this title shot, said Omega. The reason Ive
got this opportunity is that Okada has made his rounds and defeated everyone,
sometimes twice over, but hes realized there is a blemish in his record.
Thats the draw from last years Dominion and I also beat him in the
G1. You can make the excuse that he was beaten up, bloodied, and fatigued from
the schedule of the G1, but then so was I. So he has no excuse. I wrestled all
of the same opponents, we were in the same block.
may not get a chance like this ever again. Regardless of what I have going on
with my lifethe tension between the Young Bucks, the tension with Cody,
my promise to make Ibushi and me the best tag team in the world -- I have to set
aside this chunk of time to bring myself into singles wrestling champion quality
shape. That doesnt mean time stands still. Does that mean Cody may interfere?
Yes, Cody may interfere. Does it mean Being The Elite continues? Yes, the BTE
story is going to continue. So life goes on as Im training for this opportunity.
outside factor heavily weighing on Omega is that, for every big match, he almost
always had the Young Bucks in his corner. But that will not be the case in his
upcoming title bout with Okada, as the internal strife within the Bullet Club
storyline will not allow the Bucks to be ringside.
me, thats not a character thing or a BTE storyline, said Omega. The
Bucks are pillars of my support. I dont feel alone when theyre there,
I dont even feel pressure when theyre there. Im staring at the
most physically taxing match of my career, and they wont be there. Thats
very strange. Aside from the 2016 G1, when I had to go it alone, theyve
been there for everything. The idea of not having Matt and Nick has affected me.
This time is going to be different.
teamed with Kota Ibushi, who will be in his corner for the upcoming Dominion match
against Okada, at this past Marchs Strong Style Evolved show in Long Beach,
California against the Young Bucks in an incredibly gripping match. Omega was
pleased with the match and the fact that it closed the show, but particularly
proud of the feeling it stirred in viewers.
Japan Pro Wrestling is my company, but Ill be the first to admit we did
not come with a powerhouse card [to Strong Style Evolved], said Omega. A
lot of the pressure was put on myself, Ibushi, and the Young Bucks to really deliver.
We took a chance and went outside of our comfort zone to deliver something on
an emotional level that no one had ever before seen in professional wrestling.
Maybe we caught people off-guard. The potential was there for an athletic showcase,
but we wanted to accomplish something different in the match. Lately, thats
been my MO in professional wrestling: not to see something based out of shock
factor, but to watch my match and feel something.
see enough of that in PWG, NXT (WWE), and the New Japan juniors, which is basically
all shock factor with insane athleticism and crazy moves and things that make
you wince in pain. Even if I could be that guy, I dont want to be anymore.
I have it in me to explore these other options and make people feel something.
I want to instill a memory.
physicality led to the story in Long Beach, instead of the tried-and-true formula
that the story sets the table for the match.
wrestling, from the time that I was growing up until now, weve seen a lot
of black-and-white storytelling, explained Omega. There is nothing
wrong with that. You know who the good guy is and who the bad guy is, and you
know exactly who you should cheer. For me, having seen almost 30 years of that,
its more interesting to sew more of the intricacies of the more human side
of the pro wrestlers who are wrestling. Its not always black-and-white.
We have the creative freedom to do whatever we want. People should feel what we
may be the good guy within the Cody trying to assume leadership of the Bullet
Club storyline, but that doesnt mean Im without my faults or that
I havent done bad things or that I havent been irresponsible with
my leadership of the Bullet Club. Were always inserting little tidbits that
show how Cody isnt all that bad. Were not painting him as an evil
character; its important to make him relatable and show that hes not
completely in the wrong. Even my tension with the Young Bucksand sure, the
Young Bucks have been manipulated by Cody, but shouldnt I, as a friend,
be more willing to forgive? Why cant I let it go? I may be the good guy,
or lesser evil, but that doesnt mean Im flawless.
has long dreamed of the day when the IWGP heavyweight title is draped over his
shoulder, but he has even loftier goals for his upcoming affair with Okada: whether
or not he emerges as champion, he wants wrestling fans to feel his work in the
match long after the referee raises the winners hand.
have to hit people on an emotional level, said Omega. There has to
be more than just the moves and the sum of its parts. Now, with how athletic the
current generation of pro wrestler is, that should almost be mandatory. You have
to hit the fan on a personal level instead of shocking them with 10 sequences
of flawlessly executed high-flying maneuvers. That should certainly be a style
in pro wrestling, but for me, at this point in my career, I want people who watch
my stuff to feel something.
the past five years, Omega has continually jumped hurdles that appeared unsurpassable.
He became a fixture in New Japans junior heavyweight division, then broke
barriers by making the leap into the heavyweight realm and overtook the reigns
of the Bullet Club. His G1 Climax victory, at the time, seemed like it could serve
as his career highlight, until delivering more compelling work in his second G1
last summer. His series of matches with Okada, as well as the Wrestle Kingdom
match with Chris Jericho and the tag team main event at Strong Style Evolved,
have placed a bright beam of light on his importance to the international expansion
of New Japan.
now looks to unite the seemingly distinct worlds of pro wrestling and eSports
with his New Japan show on June 29 in Daytona Beach.
will be wrestling on the card at CEO, I wouldnt miss it for the world,
said Omega. I want to make a completely balanced wrestling card that shows
off how exciting and cool New Japan can be, and thats for both long-time
and first-time viewers. I want this to be a fun show from top to bottom, one that
adds to an already cool experience at CEO.
believes that New Japans presence will only enhance the CEO experience.
believe there are people out in the world, like me, that want to be entertained
at the rawest level, said Omega. They dont need pro wrestling
governed by a certain set of rules. To me, if something is fun and its entertaining,
then its fun and entertaining. Ive found success in tackling professional
wrestling that way, by believing its good if people are entertained and
feel an emotion watching by what I do in or out of the ring.
believed in myself and bet on myself in the past, and Im doing it again.
This is something people will really enjoy.
has clearing got the wrestling and gaming world's attention, and he's only going
to continue to ramp up his game. All eyes on Omega, CEO Gaming, and then back
to New Japan Pro Wrestling, and before you ask, Yes, WWE's Vince McMahon, Triple
H and other top brass are well aware of Omega's talent and growing fan base. It
would not be too hard to believe that Omega may sign with WWE in 2019 or 2020,
and one day will headline a WrestleMania, for for the meantime he is extremely
happy where he is. Omega continues to make history in his own unique way. Wrestling
and gaming needed a shot in the arm and a kick in the butt, and Omega is just
the man to deliver it.