Kenny Omega Talks New Opportunities In NJPW, NXT, The Elite, Challenging The New Day

Kenny Omega recently spoke with Rolling Stones about his current NJPW push, If he ever sees himself in WWE/NXT, The Elite and why he’s been challenging WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day among other things. Here are some highlights:

On the recent NJPW departures: “I don’t want to sound clichéd, but it has been a roller-coaster ride. We, as in myself and the Young Bucks, always get together before the big shows and grab a bite to eat, and this news hit that our friends and co-workers were suddenly leaving the company. It was going to pretty much change the entire of face of New Japan Pro-Wrestling going forward. I had been stuck in the junior division, and I had been wanting more than that since I had joined NJPW. Suddenly, here was an opportunity not only to seize that, but to have a little bit more say in everything. For the longest time, there was a hierarchy. They were taking the advice from the top guys, and had been doing a real old-guard style of booking. I thought maybe with all these guys leaving, they would be open to new ideas. The Young Bucks and myself are always full of ideas. So even though it was sad that our friends were leaving, we looked at it as a great opportunity to make 2016 our year.”

On if he ever though about leaving NJPW to go somewhere else: “It’s funny that you mention that. As time went by, a little promotion called NXT was building their ranks, and slowly but surely they had built the strongest roster of any promotion on the planet. The reason I wanted to be part of New Japan at first was because I truly felt they had the best wrestling on the planet. Not only that, but they were willing to put money into it to try to go worldwide, and try to get their voices heard. They wanted to show that they were the King of Sports. They wanted their matches to be 15, 20, 30 minutes long. They didn’t want quick 5-7 minute matches. While I’m still capable, I wanted to show an athletic, entertaining style with New Japan. Eventually, I think everyone sees themselves in WWE, and sees themselves doing the entertainment thing. But at this point in time, I wanted to show the best of both worlds, the strong style with the North American entertainment stuff, which I also love. Almost everyone works on one-year contracts in New Japan. As that time approached, I found myself wondering how much more I could prove by doing these 12-minute junior matches on the undercard. If I had to do another year of not feeling like I was contributing something positive, I really felt like maybe I should go somewhere else where I could contribute, not just for a company, but for pro wrestling as a whole. I was heavily considering going to NXT. There have been continuous efforts on WWE’s part over the past couple years to have me return there. So I considered it, until an opportunity arose to step into that spotlight in Japan and be the guy.”

On whether the Elite will replace Bullet Club or become an extension of the group: “The Bullet Club has sort of become this pop-culture phenomenon. You don’t even have to like wrestling or follow our product, and you can wear a Bullet Club shirt and it’s cool. I can understand how New Japan wants to keep up with that. That’s their cash cow. If we are still the Bullet Club, in parentheses, then I’m OK with that. But I want everyone to know that myself, Nick and Matt Jackson are The Elite. I want to push that hard, especially this year. There’s a place you can go to watch the most ridiculous and entertaining stuff in pro wrestling, and it’s The Elite. With the Bullet Club, we had all sorts of wrestlers come and go. Some were good, some were bad, some were god-awful. Now, there has to be more of a distinction of who is doing what. Which is why, in this transition period, the guys who are really keeping this thing afloat are The Elite.”

On calling out The New Day: “Woods and I have sort of had an online feud for quite some time. I had always been revered as the gaming wrestler. Out of nowhere, Woods appeared and now he has a YouTube channel. If I’m to be honest, I think that’s awesome, but there’s grounds for a rivalry there. I’m the gaming guy from Japan that’s a heel. He’s the gaming guy from America and he’s appealing to a different crowd of people. We have that mutual connection of loving fighting games though, specifically Street Fighter. So we just had to ramp it up and change gears a bit by actually filming videos together. Fans really enjoyed it, I enjoyed it. We are hoping for it to come to a head and have an actual grudge match by playing the latest Street Fighter. In a perfect world, we’re not just going to play video games against each other; we’re going to try to have a match. Or at least myself and the Young Bucks are pushing for it. We really meant it when we said, “Our [NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship] belts don’t have any borders, and neither do we.” If there’s a possibility of this match happening, we will do whatever it takes to make it happen. It can only benefit wrestling as a whole. I know WWE always thinks of dollars and cents and how their guys look in the public eye. I can understand that. I think that in this situation, everyone wins. We got the people talking – the match may never happen, but people are talking. They’re talking about a better world when companies aren’t at each other’s throats, and people don’t have heat with each other. This is the kind of thing that The Elite are trying to do. Even though we have no corporate power, we’re just throwing ourselves out there, and saying we want it to happen. The fans want it to happen. And if the fans want it to happen, who’s to say that it shouldn’t? We’re going to look to create situations like this all the time, all over the place.”

on what he has to say to New Day: “I don’t just want to challenge The New Day. I want to challenge WWE. I know there are some people in the back that think that having outsiders come in and challenge your top act would just be a huge faux pas. I can understand that. But the three guys are that are challenging your most entertaining three guys are the three guys that have literally taken over the Internet. When those two forces come together, it would blow up like a hydrogen bomb. Look, WWE, you claim to be the masters of sports entertainment. How about this? Entertain the people. Cater to everyone on the planet. Myself and the Bucks, we are the Internet darlings of wrestling. We are racking up all the Match of the Year contenders. We are the ones on top of the planet right now. We are extending the olive branch for you guys to do something that has never been done before, and to help pro wrestling as a whole. The Young Bucks and I are willing to make it happen on our soil, on your soil, on your terms, it doesn’t matter. We are doing this for the people. Not your people, not our people, but all the people.”

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