We caught up with Kenny Omega during the New Japan Cup tournament to get his thoughts on his loss , and what he wants to see in NJPW’s global future.
–It was a disappointing exit from the New Japan Cup, how do you feel now?
Kenny : A lot of people had high hopes for me in the tournament. I was the favorite. Until now I’ve always been the underdog, so it was easy for me to exceed everyone’s expectations. Now this time I’m a damn failure. What do I do? Where do I go from here? Why did I lose? Does CHAOS know something about me? My weakness? How is it that Okada beat me after I gave it my all, and then Ishii as well? It blows my motherfXXXking mind! So what I need to do is go on a quest, a search for what I am lacking. What is Kenny Omega’s weakness!? That’s what I need to find next!
— How has your shoulder been since 2/27 at Korakuen show?
Kenny : You know, I really wanted to keep that injury secret. I didn’t want to tell anyone about it before the [New Japan Cup] match… I didn’t even want to tell anyone after the match either! Because if I said anything after the match, they’d say I was making excuses. “You’re a sore loser,” they’d say! But I’m not making excuses and I’m not a sore loser. I should be able to beat Ishii no matter what! Do you think Ishii is 100%? No! He’s falling apart day by day, he’s in horrible condition. Look at him! He’s short, fat, out of shape… he’s f#%king bald, he gets no action, if you know what I mean (laughs). I could go on. He’s got more problems than I do! So I don’t want to use this shoulder as an excuse.
–So do you feel you’re back to 100%?
Kenny : No not yet. But I’m using these New Japan Cup tag matches to heal as much as I can. So when the next singles challenge comes, I’ll be 100%. Or at least whatever percent I need to be so I’m better than the other guy!
–What are your expectations and plans for Sakura Genesis coming up?
Kenny : Well every series has a theme, right? I can’t pick my matches, the company does. And the company is f#%king stupid! They don’t know what the best match of every tour should be. If they want to make a bunch of money, it’s simple! Don’t they realize who I am?! The “Best Bout Machine”!
Ok look, we’ve had a lot of good matches already this year. The best, of course, was my match at the Tokyo Dome. By far. Now everyone is trying to be like Kenny Omega, but it’s not even physically possible!
So what did I do? I came back to show everyone that no, you can’t be like me. There is no one like Kenny Omega! So if they want to make money, they give me another chance to get the belt. I know, I don’t deserve it, I didn’t win the New Japan Cup… But if this company wants the big match, they should put their best big match wrestler in it! The guy that gets the ratings, the guy that gets the money, and the guy that gets the world-wide exposure. That’s me and only me!
–We got not only Sakura Genesis coming up, there’s also Dontaku and Dominion. And last but not least, the G1 Special in LA. What do you have planned for America?
Kenny : Make no mistake about it, the people want to party. Coming to America is cause for celebration! But what would make people party the longest, hardest and loudest would be watching me in the main event wearing the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. No one wants to see Okada wearing that belt! Not even the Japanese fans are excited to see Okada as champion. Maybe the single, older women…maybe they enjoy him (laughs). But that’s ok, whoever they are, they can enjoy him all they want!
The truth is, if you’re a young guy or girl, or if you’re an athlete, or if you’re just plain cool, you want to cheer for Kenny Omega! Because he’s a real athlete, he brings the excitement, the hype. And he’s F#%KING cool! He’s got a good body…oh yeah, a DAMN good body! And everybody likes him! Not just in Japan. Not just in Taiwan, Singapore, or America…we’re talking world-wide!
–If you had to write the playbook for New Japan as it looks to expand globally, what would you put in it?
Kenny : Ok, here’s the thing…if I’m the champion, then you can challenge the world. Because then you have the one guy that can lead this company to bigger things. If you have someone like Okada holding the belt, then just stay in Tokyo! Because then there’s no appeal out there. There’s no appeal for that anywhere, except your home base.
I am the gateway drug. Do you want to take the Okada pill, or do you want to see just how FAR this rabbit hole goes? Then you’ll take the Kenny Omega pill! You enter that…O-Matrix! And then you can see what makes New Japan so special. Because the guy that gets the most out of all of these wrestlers here is me!
So you want to talk about me writing the playbook? Look, I’m not trying to be selfish. If I wasn’t the best wrestler, I’d say, “Look, you gotta give it to THIS guy! He’s the leader and I’ll be his warm-up act, that’s fine.” But I’m not an idiot. I know the truth, and the truth is I am the most creative, the best, the man of the hour! Put the belt on me, ‘cause I should be the rightful champion. I can take this company to better things and bring in the big bucks.
(Interviewed on 19 March 2017 & Photos taken on 22 March 2017)