After making a name for himself in Canada and climbing atop several major promotions in the US, Kenny Omega’s one man quest to change the world of professional wrestling only seems to just be getting started. While he’s racked up accolades on both sides of the Pacific, lately he has set his sights on reaching the top of the puroresu mountain, and is now easily one of Japan’s most beloved foreign wrestlers. Whether he’s in the hard hitting wrestling rings of Ring of Honor and New Japan, or the more light-hearted DDT and PWG, Omega has the athleticism, charisma, talent, and looks to be the top wrestler in any company he sets foot in. We caught up with Kenny just after a valiant, but unsuccessful, bid in the Best of the Super Junior’s tournament (which his partner, Kota Ibushi won). Please, enjoy this interview with a true international star, Kenny Omega.
First things first: We’ve heard your hair is the source of your power. Any truth to this?
My hair and I as a unit are very comparable to the mythical Samson. It generates power, boosts my confidence, and radiates testosterone more than any illegal steroid. It’s so brimming with raw energy that it even produces white flakes as a by-product of its nuclear nature. Not to fear though, these flakes are 100% safe and even substitute as a healthy salt alternative.
Speaking of fantastic hair, in PWG you formed the aptly named team of “Men of Low Moral Fiber” with Chuck Taylor. What was that like, and are you hurt that he has moved on and formed “The Fightin’ Taylor Boys?” Are you willing to become “Omega-Taylor?”
The fans demanded change, so we unleashed a neo “Greaser” style to the forefront with a ton of character depth. I think over time fans grew to like, (even love) our discriminatory nature. Even those discriminated against couldn’t help but appreciate our antics! As for any new faction he may be in…it sounds too family friendly for my tastes. I’ll pass.
You were Heavyweight Champion in PWG as well as JAPW Heavyweight champion for nearly a year. What did those two title reigns mean to you.
Those title reigns were at one point my ‘final goal’ in wrestling. My thought process was kind of like – If I could ever become champion for those promotions, then I could retire happily. Of course, one thing leads to another, East Coast wasn’t enough so I had to test the West Coast. That wasn’t enough so I travelled overseas and so forth… Deadly snow ball effect if I do say so myself.
You recently won the JAPW Jr. Heavyweight title from wrestling legend Jyushin “Thunder” Lyger on the New Japan invasion tour. Tell us about that match and how you felt about the big tour overall.
I’ve always been proud to have be accepted by fans as a NJPW athlete. To be a title contender, however, was something that I never predicted for myself. Defeating Lyger capped off a momentous experience that may only happen once in a lifetime. It was a great tour and I really do hope we may revisit the US sometime soon!
In recent years you’ve focused more of your wrestling in Japan. What makes the country special to you?
I feel like the talent pool is at its deepest there and that I’m tested on an athletic level the most. Also, the support from my fans is astounding which motivates me to always push my own boundaries and bring Mr. 400% every time.
In DDT you’re currently part of the “Golden Lovers” with Kota Ibushi. How alike are you and Ibushi? What keeps the “love” in that partnership going?
Ibushi and I aren’t very alike at all. It’s more accurate to use the old expression, “opposites attract”. He’s the more cool and calm type, where I’m fiery and high tension. He’s the Tony Jaa and I’m Jackie Chan. Athletically, we have the same credentials, but our attitudes are much more varied. I think the “love” we have in each other is based on trust and a common goal. That would be marriage. Second to that would be to become the best. We know what we want to do and that to sync with each other in perfection is the best way to do it.
October 10, 2010, you and Ibushi defeated Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. As an outside team, from DDT, please tell us how it felt representing DDT on such a big stage and in holding such prestigious titles.
It was a huge deal at the time for such a thing to happen. For us, it felt like we’d now be taken seriously as the “World’s Finest”. Yes, that was a Batman/ Superman reference. (I’d like to think I’m the Batman in this scenario.)
That match was also voted Tokyo Sports Match of the Year for 2010, which marked the first time any foreign wrestler had won MOTY since June 5, 1992 Stan Hansen vs Toshiaki Kawada for All Japan. How did you find out that your match had won, and what was your reaction?
To be honest, the knowledge you’d dropped on me was the first I’d ever heard of it! At the time though, an official from Tokyo Sports did tell me that it was the first time Junior Heavyweights had ever won the award. All around, it’s definitely an incredible honor, one that will stand forever as a life highlight of mine.
What were thoughts on Ibushi finally winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title? Are you hoping to win it someday?
I’m one half proud, one half jealous. Though we’re friends, and though we’re lovers, a part of me still recognizes him as a “rival”. I don’t want to be Ibushi’s second best or to even accomplish what he did after the fact. I want to create my own legacy and show everyone that I’m the real leader of the team
Please, tell us about the phenomenal wrestler known as YOSHIHIKO[1. See the epic confrontation between Kenny and YOSHIKO here and the Infinite Destroyer here.]. What has he brought to DDT that former inanimate wrestlers, like ladder and Kitty-chan, have not?
He has the innate ability to accurately mimic the most legendary wrestlers of all time. In some cases, he has the ability to enhance previous maneuvers to make them even more devastating than ever before (e.g. The Infinite Destroyer). Clearly a being of higher cerebral capacity, when wrestling against YOSHIHIKO, it almost feels like you’re the puppet, and he’s the puppet master.
What sort of multi-discipline crosstraining do you perform in order to maintain your title of “King of the Anywhere Match[2. Check out Kenny in an Anywhere Match, courtesy our friends at M-Drop.]?”
Picture Stallone’s training in Rocky IV and then picture that in almost every feasable Anywhere Match location. I still get the stink eye from parents when I hog the ball pit at my local McDonald’s.
In Japan you have also worked for a number women’s promotions like Ice Ribbon and NEO. What is it about Kenny Omega that screams, “He’d make a good Joshi?” Any favorite female opponents?
I think what makes Joshi appealing in general is its raw emotion that can be seen within the matches. In a lot of ways, I wrestle more like a joshi than a male I think. It’s really a natural, but un-natural fit! As for favorite opponents, I have endless respect for Natsuki *Taiyo and am hoping to one day work with the Shirai Sisters again[3. Kenny vs Natsuki*Taiyo here and Kenny and Michael Nakazawa vs The Shirai Sisters here]!
Your epic Street Fighter IV entrance video mentally defeats most of your opponents before the match even starts. Should we expect you as a DLC character for Super Street Fighter IV X-Treme Turbo Edition?
Maybe the Super Duper Street Fighter IV Hyper Fighting Turbo Extreme Tournament Arcade We-want-another-fifteen-dollars Edition.
On a scale of Dan to Ryu, where does your Hadouken rate?
I’ve been known to throw it at an upward angle as an anti-air at times so maybe…. Sakura?!
With 10 years in wrestling you have made a name for yourself in various companies in Canada, the US and Japan, what future goals have you set for yourself? Is there anywhere you haven’t wrestled that you’d like to?
I’d love to make one more big accomplishment as a Junior and eventually challenge the Heavyweight division! Also, a side-project of mine (or hope, or goal) is to wrestle in places that don’t have a whole lot of wrestling. I want to spark an interest and help build pro-wrestling from the ground up. Off the top of my head, Korea, China, Thailand all strike me as interesting, yet challenging areas to pursue pro-wrestling.
Name one wrestler, one fictional character, and one object you haven’t faced that you’d like to in the future?
Fictional Character: My Girlfriend
Object: Whatever it is that prevents Shigesato Itoi from making another Mother/Earthbound game!
You’ve said it the past that you wanted to “revolutionize wrestling.” How do you feel you’ve done that so far?
I feel like I’ve shown glimmers of a much larger-scaled idea. I’m hoping that in the future, with more support from promoters, I can really show what’s been going on in my Dr. Frankenstein brain.
Whom do the ladies prefer, yourself or Ibushi? Whom does Danshoku Dino prefer?
Ibushi and I have a fairly healthy split, though Dino certainly loves him some bootay, so I’m in a little bit of trouble… (Though he has said that Ibushi is a better unwilling kisser than me.) 😦
Anything else you’d like to say to your fans?
Thanks for bearing with the interview – I hope it was as much fun to read as it was to write! Until next time!
To find out more about Kenny Omega check him out on Facebook. Also, see Kenny and Ibushi take on Devitt and Taguchi in this epic confrontation: