Kenny Omega has a lot of irons in the fire. The reigning IWGP heavyweight champ barely has ALL IN in his rearview and he’s got New Japan’s return to the United States and the Cruise of Jericho to build to. Then before you know it, it’s Tokyo Dome season - and the build toward a likely showdown with the G1 Climax winner and “Ace of New Japan” Hiroshi Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom.
With all that to consider, it’s actually pretty remarkable he emerged from an interview designed to promote all those things and the people behind them (plus his Destruction in Hiroshima defense against Tomohiro Ishii, which hadn’t happened when this piece for NJPW’s website was put together) without getting his wires crossed. But he did, and he even managed to walk the tightrope of running down his bosses on their own website.
See, to run down Tanahashi, you pretty much have to go after the company he’s been the face of for pretty much this entire century, and the island nation which adores him. So during the parts of the interview designed to build to a match which won’t happen until 2019, that’s what Kenny does.
In doing so, the Best Bout Machine threw in a dig at an old target - and one which can be used should he and his Bullet Club brethern opt to take the wads of cash WWE is rumored to want to throw at them next spring...
“The thing is, I know that New Japan at that time, they don’t want to have to use me as their main event star, as their number one of course they don’t, look at the way they pushed Tanahashi. They still call that old f**ker the Ace. He’ll still appear on TV, he has a movie in Japan, it’s embarrassing. Absolutely f**king embarrassing. But they do understand, hey guess what this is a business, we need money and the American fans aren’t stupid. They understand what a good match is. They understand who is able to give the best matches. I’m not here to cash in checks, I’m not here for money, I’m not here to do the classic style and the way wrestling is supposed to be. I’m the greatest f**king showman, I’m the greatest showman in professional wrestling, maybe of all f**king time, so they have no choice but to put me in the main event they don’t give a f**k about me, I know they don’t give a f**k about me as a person, and I know. There was one match where I wasn’t the main event, but I still remember that match I had before, in the semi versus Michael Elgin, that was still the best bout and guess what even if I’m not the main event, I’m still gonna have the best bout because no one here comes close to what I can do.
Here’s the thing, Tanahashi has this idea that wrestling has to be a certain way. There are borders that you shouldn’t cross. Wrestling should be wrestling, there’s a “classic” way. But the thing is when I watch a Tanahashi match, I feel nothing. When I show a Tanahashi match to my friends, to my father to my fans; they are f**king bored. But when I show some of my matches, they feel something in their hearts, it makes them think about something. When a Tanahashi match ends, you’ve already f**king forgotten it. I wanted matches that stay with me forever, more than 24 hours, more than one week. Why they f**k do you think they call me the best bout machine?! It’s not because I’m the greatest athlete in wrestling. Because I can create emotion and I can create a memory and because Tanahashi could never f**king do that. Really Tanahashi belongs in the WWE. He can be the next Roman Reigns. So, don’t think for a second that’s new Japan style. What Tanahashi should do is f**king thank me because you actually think a Tanahashi main event could ever go to America? You never could. You can go to America once, because it’s an interesting name, its’s a novelty for new Japan to come to America. Do you think if you put Tanahashi and Billy Gunn as a main event do you think he could ever come back? Of course not. So, with this worldwide movement, with the boost in numbers for New Japan World, somebody should tell this a*****e to think about business.”
In continuing to work this on Twitter (even as he joked the interview was clearly “pre-Vietnamese coffee Kenny”), Omega continued to attack Tana, but left Roman and The ‘E out of it.
And he almost certainly has a match coming up with Tanahashi. Will he have one with the Big Dog not long after? If it becomes possible, there will already be plenty of heat for it.
Check out Kenny Omega’s entire interview on NJPW’s website here.