On January 4th, Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega assembled a 45:45-long tour-de-force that many are now calling one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) wrestling matches ever. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer gave that match a 6 stars ratings and even those who criticized the first half as being a bit too slow admitted the second part was off-the-charts amazing. In short, a masterpiece was created and fans will be talking about that one for a long time.
For Kenny Omega, this was a momentous night. The fact that he lost didn’t even matter for fans and/or observers, with that performance, Omaga has proven he belonged in the “best in the world” category, plain and simple. And everybody was sure this was only the beginning, his feud with Okada being far from over and having more than enough possible top matches (Ibushi, Naito, Shibata, etc), Omega was set to become THE NJPW star of 2017.
And then, Omega posted the following on twitter:
As you can imagine, that one created quite a storm with immediate speculations about a possible move from Omega to WWE soon following. John Cena, of all people, then added to the fuel by posting a photo of Kenny Omega (without captions) on his instagram account. Last time Cena did something similar was at the start of last year, when he posted a picture of one A. J. Styles and we all know what happened next.
Many now believe that Omega will follow the same route, but I, and I’m far from the only one, do not agree. First piece of evidence to the contrary is this (translated) exert from a Tokyo Sports interview Omega gave some days ago:
“As hard as I trained, as hard as I prepared, I lost. Something’s missing and until I figure out what, I can’t wrestle. I’m just not motivated now. I don’t have the confidence to guarantee victory so I don’t have a problem with Suzuki Gun challenging next. I won’t do Fantastica Mania, and it’s possible I may miss New Beginning as well while I form a concrete plan of what to do next. I devoted all of 2016 to taking the belt at the Dome. That not coming true means I have to rethink everything.”
As you can see, that does shed quite a different light on the January 6th tweet, also giving a storyline explanation to Omega’s absence. It does also open up new possibilities for both Omega’s and the Bullet Club’s future. From this interview, it is clear that changes are going to be made, which might affect not only Omega’s on-screen personality but also the Bullet’s Club current line-up and goals.
From a WWE point of view, I have no doubt they would be interested in Omega, especially after the buzz his January 4th match created. Does that mean they’ve made him an offer? Well, if Omega’s contractual situation permits (things are a little unclear on that point), I would not be surprised if they did. And this wold certainly not be the first time WWE has shown interest in The Cleaner, but Omega has always been a bit ambiguous on that subject, praising NXT, but often blasting WWE for their product and their way of conducting business. Recently, Omega criticized WWE for monopolizing the wrestling business and taking options away from the fans, saying, and I quote:
“WWE is hiring people just to hire them … as everyone gets picked up, as all these independent promotions have to shut down and close their doors because of WWE scooping everyone up, everyone’s going to lose an option.”
Things do change rather quickly in wrestling, but these do not sound like the words of a man who is bound to either Stamford or Orlando.
In short, I do not think for one second that Omega is on his way to WWE. Like noted above, Omega’s step back is perfectly explainable from a storyline point of view, Suzuki-gun’s return only means Okada gets a good and believable opponent at New beginning (which almost always feature a transitional challenger for the champion) and I fully expect Omega to return at the New Japan Cup in early March. Meanwhile, he must be sitting back at home, taking some well-deserved rest and, no doubt, enjoying the current buzz, because, smart as he is,Omega fully realizes that controversy, when handled correctly, is a wrestler’s best friend. In other words, the more people talk about him, the greater the roar will be when he returns.
To conclude, I once wrote an article about WWE’s chances of convincing Okada to join them, and my conclusion was: “never going to happen”. With Omega, I would say that chances are he will one day wrestle for WWE. But not now. In two or three years, when he has achieved legendary status in NJPW, then, yes, he might follow Nakamura and Styles, but not now. For 2017, his tweet said it best: “The Goal remains the same”. And that goal is to become IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.
Tags: kazuchika okada, Kenny Omega, njpw, Wrestle Kingdom 11