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Kenny Omega Has Carved His Own Path in Wrestling, But Where Does It Lead?

Kenny Omega takes great pride in doing things his own way. What does that mean for his impending free agency?

Kenny Omega is New Japan Pro Wrestling’s IWGP heavyweight champion, and he is also an impending 2019 free agent with the ability to redefine the wrestling landscape by signing with WWE or advance New Japan’s expansion into the United States.

Sports Illustrated spoke with Omega, as well some of pro wrestling’s elite—including Hulk Hogan, Chris Jericho, the Young Bucks, Kofi Kingston, Jim Ross, and Rob Van Dam—to assess whether his immediate future should be in WWE or New Japan, and Omega also revealed what he hopes to accomplish this Saturday at All In against Pentagon.

Sitting in his hotel room, tucked away on the second floor of a San Francisco Marriott, Kenny Omega apologizes for the scattered state of his parlor.

The unmade bed is covered in wrestling T-shirts, homemade cards with glitter and pink ink are sprawled out all along the dresser, and the floor has somehow transformed into an obstacle course of luggage, weight lifting supplements, and video game accessories. Even in his rushed state, Omega still takes an extra moment to fold the straps of the IWGP heavyweight championship title and place it neatly atop his suitcase.

With the sun peaking in from the nearby window, Omega recalls the night—June 9 to be exact, in front of the biggest crowd New Japan ever drew in the 10-year history of the Dominion show—when he fulfilled his decade-long odyssey and won the prized title, the most prestigious title in all of pro wrestling.

“Winning the title is an important detail to the story, but how you get there is much more important,” said Omega. “Up until now, what made me who I am today were my losing efforts. It just goes to show you that losing doesn’t necessarily equate to losing steam. I gained the most steam in my career by losing to Okada at Wrestle Kingdom. Winning at Dominion, the way that I did, magnified my journey.”

He was hit with the epiphany that the match was his, signifying a symbolic change from Okada to Omega, after evening up the best-of-three falls match. Wrestling may have predetermined outcomes, but the emotion is raw and uncontrollable.

“If there ever were a moment where my confidence peaked in the match, it was after taking the second fall,” said Omega. “Okada shocked me with the first fall, destroying my game plan, but using my finishing move to take the second fall—a finishing move no one has ever kicked out of—that finishing sequence really made me feel like I’d seized all control.”

Fifteen minutes later, Omega was IWGP heavyweight champion.

“I know we need to get to a certain emotion at a certain point, but the trick is in knowing how to get there,” said Omega. “We have a very physical performance art. A lot of times, when you want to achieve a certain emotion, you have to use professional wrestling ingredients, which are moves or a sequence of moves.

“But I really find that the best study material for me are things that can accomplish incredible feelings of emotion within a half-hour block.”

Omega draws inspiration from 30-minute television programs, especially superhero cartoons.

“I’m looking for that range of emotions,” said Omega. “A lot of my main-event matches will last around the half-hour mark, and if you can have a variety of emotions within that half hour, that’s a great story from start to finish. That’s why I love my old-school superhero cartoons, and the old-school animated Batman series was great for that. I love using that as a focal point on how to structure a story properly. It’s universal storytelling where a child can find enjoyment and inspiration and an adult can understand and enjoy the deeper themes behind it, as well.”

The 34-year-old Omega is dressed in a CEO-NJPW t-shirt, company shorts, and slick Nike sneakers. He looks as if he is ready to step into the ring, though this is still morning.

Omega talks like he wrestles: taking a great deal of thought in his words, with a refusal to rush and a desire to remain true to himself.

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“I’ve always been on the outside looking in,” he explained. “I was never popular in school, despite my success in athletics. I would win track and field competitions, but I wouldn’t go to parties. I’d be alone.

“I’d see from the outside how people were treated, how people used their popularity to bring others down and make themselves look good. I thought that was cruel. Why use your natural abilities to make someone feel bad? I just want to be the guy who uses his power to be positive.”

Omega—real name Tyson Smith—is unfailingly kind, sometimes, he admits, to his own detriment. But he never apologizes for being himself or staying true to his beliefs.

If he has it his way, the story of Kenny Omega’s rise will pale in comparison to his body of work after winning the IWGP heavyweight championship, which is New Japan’s most prestigious accolade. Yes, people recall Hulk Hogan defeating the Iron Sheik for the World Wrestling Federation title in 1984, but Hogan’s longevity is far more memorable than his origin, precisely what Omega is seeking.

“I’ve seen so much in the past, especially with foreign champions, where of course, a title reign will always go down in history and you can’t change that,” said Omega. “AJ Styles won the belt, MVP was the first-ever [IWGP] Intercontinental champion. I hate to say it, but all of these title reigns have been forgotten. It’s almost as if they don’t exist. All the work that was put into them somehow became forgettable.”

Omega makes a salient point: What resonates about Styles’ two runs with the IWGP title? Even in WWE, where the world title changes hands more frequently than in New Japan (Omega is only the fifth man to wear the IWGP heavyweight title since 2011), there have been a number of title reigns in the past two years—Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, and Jinder Mahal—that were largely forgettable.

“A lot of people, especially performers in wrestling, feel that winning the title is the only statistic that matters,” said Omega, allowing people inside his psyche. “But it’s always about the journey. If you don’t have the people behind you, believing in you, and the start of a new chapter after winning the title, then you don’t have anything.”

Tetsuya Naito’s short-lived tenure as IWGP champion for just over two months in 2016 is enough to give chills to Omega.

“Naito was the most popular act in all of New Japan, but how he took the title in 2016 was lackluster and what he did with that title afterward was lackluster. It’s almost as though he never won the title. That’s why the fans were acting and reacting this past Wrestle Kingdom at the Tokyo Dome like he finally had his chance to win the title, but he’d already won and people had already forgot. It was that forgettable.”

Far from forgettable, Omega’s victory over Okada for the title is a night that will be forever remembered by at least one wrestling luminary.

Chris Jericho, the future WWE Hall of Famer who also excelled in ECW, WCW, Mexico, and Japan, defeated Naito at the same Dominion show in June to win the IWGP Intercontinental title. Months prior, Jericho and Omega helped headline Wrestle Kingdom—the New Japan equivalent to WrestleMania—at the Tokyo Dome.

“Two guys from Winnipeg sold out the Tokyo Dome in January and now hold the two most important titles in all of New Japan,” said Jericho. “It’s pretty rare that something like this happens, and I take great pride in it.”

Both Omega and Jericho grew up in Winnipeg suburbs (Omega in Transcona, Jericho in St. James), and Jericho even reached out to the Winnipeg Free Press imploring the paper to cover the accomplishment of their two native sons.

“I love the idea of two guys with similar career paths, basically from the prairies in Manitoba, holding the top two titles in Japan,” said Jericho. “I don’t know if anybody else cares, but I really enjoy that.”

After winning the IWGP title, the first person Omega encountered after he passed through the curtain was Jericho.

“I consider him a good friend, we support each other, and it’s really cool to have him in our locker room,” said Omega. “Jericho was the first person to inspire the path I wanted to take in professional wrestling. I wanted to mirror my career after him.

“Jericho was so cool and different in WCW. I’d also watch my local stuff, and I’m sure they weren’t allowed to do this, but when Jericho wrestled in Japan in the 90s, the promotion I watched had footage from when the local guys went to Japan, and they’d literally play the WAR [Japanese wrestling promotion] tapes on their live television. Somehow, they got away with it, and that’s when I first saw Chris Jericho vs. Ultimo Dragon in Japan.”

There is a certain feel to Jericho’s matches. Wins and losses do not reverberate as much as the moments—think of the kick to the groin of Shawn Michaels after their WrestleMania 19 encounter—which are also a staple of Omega’s work.

“That’s when I first started to learn, even at a young age, what it meant to be a jack-of-all-trades who innovates rather than replicates,” Omega says. “But by the time I got started, there was no more WCW, there was no more ECW. My path was more direct, and a little more ass-backwards, because I went to WWE [developmental in Deep South Wrestling from 2005-06] then Japan.”

Omega is perhaps the top wrestler working today, though his immediate future is uncertain. He is set to enter free agency this January. Should he re-sign with New Japan and further cement his legend in Japan, or sign with WWE? Is he destined to lose in the main event of the upcoming Wrestle Kingdom 13? And does he owe it to himself to attain the worldwide fame that only WWE can deliver?

Jericho, famously, main-evented a WrestleMania in 2002 at WrestleMania 18. Does Omega need to do the same? Despite holding New Japan’s top title, the WWE question always lingers.

“Yes, I’ve heard it before,” deadpanned Omega. “Every day, multiple times a day.”

WWE undoubtedly raises a wrestler’s profile. In terms of in-ring wrestling ability, it is a stretch to compare The Miz and Omega. But is The Miz known further across the wrestling world? Yes, because the WWE machine is fully behind him. The Miz, it should be noted, also headlined a WrestleMania.

Another talent to work multiple WrestleMania main events after years competing against WWE is legendary broadcaster Jim Ross.

“I can’t imagine that a student of the game and a guy as passionate as Kenny Omega would be complete without main-eventing WrestleMania,” said Ross, a WWE Hall of Famer who calls New Japan every week on AXS TV. “Does he have to? Absolutely not. Kenny does not have to leave what he’s currently doing to become influential in this business. But, at some point, is WWE the last level for him?

“I got to experience the last match at WrestleMania as a broadcaster. I know what that meant for me. It changed my entire career. WrestleMania means everything to the business with fans from all over the world. That’s a hell of an opportunity.”

Ross famously served as the head of WWE’s Talent Relations and helped to scout and sign future stars like John Cena and Brock Lesnar. He sees an insatiable hunger to be the best in Omega.

“Kenny came up the hard way,” said Ross. “He didn’t win an NCAA title like Brock Lesnar or a gold medal like Kurt Angle. He loves to innovate and create. He’s a wrestling lifer, and he deserves the opportunity to experience being the last man standing at WrestleMania.”

Before delving too deep into a potential WWE run, it is imperative to look at Omega’s reign with the IWGP heavyweight title.

Clearly, New Japan has faith in Omega. The man known as “The Cleaner” was the one to end the record-setting 720-day title reign of Kazuchika Okada.

The decision to give Omega the title happened during the company’s change in leadership. Harold Meij was named New Japan’s new president earlier this year, and the shift in power led to changes, including going with Omega as the world champ.

Omega, who learned to speak fluent Japanese, is a tremendous asset for the company as it makes strides in its international expansion. But, as a foreigner, will the Canadian-born Omega ever be fully accepted into New Japan?

“Kenny made a new movement, created a new trend in New Japan Pro Wrestling,” said Hiroshi Tanahashi, who is a seven-time IWGP champ and still the face of New Japan. “He does extreme moves and people love him, but New Japan Pro Wrestling has a different ideology of pro wrestling. Kenny’s ideology is different than my ideology, and that is the biggest difference between us.”

Tanahashi spoke with Sports Illustrated following his G1 Climax victory, openly criticizing Omega’s friendship with Golden Lovers partner Kota Ibushi (“Kota is the future, but he should be separated from Kenny”) and openly stating that he would dethrone Omega in January at Wrestle Kingdom 13.

G1 Climax Winner Hiroshi Tanahashi Plots His Eighth Reign Atop NJPW

Of course, what else was Tanahashi going to say? That he does not want to win the title for an eighth time? So was this purely part of a wrestling promo, or is there an old guard in New Japan who prefer that the company be led into its historic Madison Square Garden show next April by Tanahashi instead of Omega?

“There is a difference between us,” noted Omega. “Okada and Tanahashi, they don’t mind being the wrestler that approaches everything day-of in the ring. I like to go in-depth, to tell the human side of Cody Rhodes, the human side of Kenny Omega. That’s why Being The Elite exists.

“They are the product of New Japan, which is ‘The King of Sports’. For myself and the Young Bucks, we believe it’s not only about what happens inside the ring but also outside the ring.”

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The Young Bucks are Matt and Nick Jackson. In a wrestling world full of commodities, few are more valuable than the Bucks, who are the most talented, popular, and convincing tag team in the entire business. The Bucks are also set to make even more history this weekend with their creation, along with Cody Rhodes, of Saturday’s All In pay per view.

“Kenny isn’t a perfect character,” said the Bucks’ Matt Jackson. “Instead, he’s flawed just like how real people actually are in real life. And he’s not afraid to explore those flaws. He’s not afraid to explore those vulnerabilities.

“Many people said during our Young Bucks-Golden Lovers angle that Kenny seemed like the bad guy in the situation, so they sided with us. Kenny became more focused on himself, and his accomplishments. He sort of put the Bullet Club lower on his priority list—something his character also caught heat for, but again, he wasn’t afraid to go down that path. People are interesting. We’re all a little selfish sometimes. We all have family and friends we love. But, we’re not all good guys or bad guys all the time, we’re a little of both. I think Kenny resonates because he makes himself relatable to the viewer. Sometimes we don’t always make the right decisions, but we always do our best.”

Jackson genuinely believes that Omega brings a different element—a unique alternative—to the wrestling business that is both captivating and compelling.

“Also, he’s the greatest wrestler in the world,” said Jackson. “So, that helps.”

If Omega decided to work for WWE, that would require leaving his adopted home in Japan. It would also entail shifting continents, changing styles, learning the subtleties and nuances of WWE, and completely alter his way of life, especially with designs on headlining shows for Vince McMahon. Only a precious few can relate to this scenario, but one who can completely understand is Hulk Hogan.

“Kenny Omega is a different animal, he’s just such a special talent,” said Hogan. “He’s already a worldwide star. You have to know how to switch gears, and Kenny understands how to work the Japanese style, the American-Japanese style, and the American style.”

Hogan has a great deal of history in Japan. When he arrived in Japan in 1978, he had a built-in backstory with Japanese-born Hiro Matsuda having trained him and also had Freddie Blassie—who was immensely popular in Japan—working as his manager.

“Speaking from my own experience, when I wrestled there, I could have just stayed in Japan, never came to the United States, and my career would have been fine,” said Hogan. “Kenny can do the same thing, though I think the transition is going to be a little easier with him. People in America can pretty much watch, in real time, his matches in Tokyo.

“The momentum he is building in Japan only adds to how big a star he could be here in the States. He is built up to headline Wrestle Kingdom, which he’s already done, or WrestleMania. He already has years of TV exposure, so he’s familiar to the domestic audiences here in the States, and you could put him in the main event of next year’s WrestleMania.”

It is fair to question whether WrestleMania would have ever reached such an incredible level of popularity without the presence and popularity of Hogan. Omega, another must-see attraction, is serving a similar role at the first-ever All In.

Even in a business of pre-determined outcomes, the main event is still very real and extremely meaningful. No one knows more than Hogan about the significance of main-eventing a WrestleMania. Will Omega’s story, Hogan was asked, be complete with a run in WWE and a ’Mania main event?

“Would I love to see him go to the WWE?” asked Hogan. “Yes. Would I love to see him be used correctly? Yes. If he ever got lost in the mix, it would be a sad, sad story. But if there is a chance to sign him, Vince McMahon could be the guy to take him to the next level. If you don’t touch on the WWE, your story is not complete. But rules are made to be broken, and Kenny is such a big star that he could be the one to change all that.

“Kenny is such a big star that he doesn’t need to sign in New York, but it would complete the story if he went and dominated and had a hell of a run in WWE.”

Regardless of whether Omega stays or goes, the IWGP title will eventually return to Okada’s waist. Before that, it could very well be Tanahashi who takes the title from Omega. Yet Omega is not concerned with the future, only focused on the present.

“I can’t lose sight of this title reign being my own, it needs a different look and feel,” said Omega. “I know I can’t mimic the way Okada did his. Okada was very much a manufactured champion, but then took what was manufactured for him, made it his own and believed in it. I have a lot of respect for Okada; he took what the company gave him and made it work.

“‘The Rainmaker’ wasn’t even something he came up, but when you watch his matches, it’s definitely his move now. ‘The Rainmaker’ character, I remember when he made his debut and confronted Tanahashi. It was awkward, no one believed. But he believed so much in his own character that people in Japan know him as the Rainmaker.

“Okada is a wrestler’s wrestler, the blue-chipper stud in New Japan, he’ll always be there go-to guy. My path and my journey is so different than Okada’s, so I just need to remember my strengths, and that is highlighting my opponents’ strengths and hiding their weaknesses. I’m hoping to tell very visually different stories. There is a big possibility that I’ll run into the same challengers that Okada did. Structurally, if all those matches look similar, people will be disappointed in what I’m doing with the belt. Those matches have to be very different.”

Omega’s first title defense was this past July in San Francisco against Cody Rhodes. The match stands as arguably the finest moment in Rhodes’ career, a major stepping-stone to prove that he can headline a show and even carry a company, and serves as Omega’s first stand in memorable title matches. Okada also wrestled Rhodes the prior July, but the match lacked the backstory with which Omega and Rhodes ensconced their encounter. Omega is now set to defend his title this September 15 in Hirsoshima against Tomohiro Ishii, another opponent who has far more chemistry with Omega than Okada.

Why is Omega so popular? For starters, his match quality is unparalleled, and that includes stiff competition from Okada, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, and Styles.

“Kenny has such a unique skillset,” said Jim Ross. “I just watched his matches with Ibushi and Ishii from the G1 and they were incredible. Kenny has a unique look, he has unique eyes, and there are some things he does that nobody does better. That running knee to the face is absolutely scintillating.”

The V-Trigger—which is Omega’s knee to the face—is an example of his ability to turn a move into a trademark. The way Omega delivers the V-Trigger is violently sublime, but also entirely unique to him.

Courtesy NJPW and TV Asahi_Omega V-trigger[1].jpg

“I want beauty to exist in my work,” said Omega. “All of my move set, aside from the transitional stuff that I do, are moves I chose because they describe me as a person. I also chose and selected moves that, even if people tried to duplicate, wouldn’t have the same flair that I bring to them.”

Rollins incorporated a nearly identical version of Omega’s Rain Trigger—a standing knee strike to an opponent’s head—a little over a year ago, which Omega quickly used as a chance to take a playful jab at Rollins.

“A lot of people do a dropkick, but very few dropkicks look like Okada or AJ’s dropkick, so a dropkick isn’t just a dropkick,” said Omega. “That is true for the dropkick and true for the V-Trigger and the you can’t escape kamikaze moonsault, the way I do my tope con giro, my vaulting facecrusher. I know, in this athletic generation, there are people who can jump higher and jump further, but do they have the exact snap? The exact elegance? Or the thought put into it? And that’s why I never feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I might crack a joke if I see someone doing one of my moves, but I never feel threatened.”

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There is talent in WWE taking note of Omega’s talent, specifically the New Day’s Kofi Kingston.

“My one regret is that when I got signed, which was September in 2006, I got to Deep South in Atlanta when Kenny had just left less than a month before,” said Kingston, touching on Omega’s brief sojourn in WWE’s developmental system in 2005 and ’06. “What if we came in together? That could have changed everything.

“People always spoke so highly of Kenny and how much of a mind for the business he had and how cool he was. To see him rise in the independent scene and then in Japan, and see his performances. He had that one match with the 12-year-old girl, he’s so ultra mega-talented.”

Omega and Kingston worked together at the E3 video game conference this past spring when the New Day battled (and lost) to The Elite in a video game match-up.

“To this day, I’m still baffled that actually even happened,” said Kingston. “Think about WWE, when was the last time you saw them do any inter-promotional stuff? I can’t remember a time, not in this era. On top of that, a group like the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega—The Elite—they are on top of the independent scene.”

New Japan Pro Wrestling is better described as the second largest wrestling promotion in the world than as an indie, but Kingston’s point is accurate: there is money to be made with him in the ring with Omega.

“Since we became a trio, everyone’s been talking about us doing stuff with The Elite,” said Kingston. “We came close, interacting and verbally jousting, and I’m getting goosebumps even thinking about it. Hopefully that opens the door for some things in the future.”

Kingston was asked if he will ever see Omega in WWE.

“You’re seeing things in the industry you never thought you’d see,” said Kingston. “You never thought you’d see AJ Styles in a WWE ring. You never thought you’d see Kevin Owens in a WWE ring, you never thought you’d see Shinsuke, you never thought you’d see Asuka, but here we are.”

Omega does not deny there are scintillating match-ups that would await him in the WWE.

“I realize that there are people that are employed by that promotion that I could have a good match with,” said Omega. “There are people within that promotion where, if we had that said match, could generate multiple communities celebrating the performance. That’s what happened when the Bucks and I did the gaming battle with the New Day. If I wrestled one of their top guys, people would watch that match in the anticipation of something great happening. 

“But right now, it’s all, ‘What if?’ fantasy scenarios. It’s going to stay that way until it happens, if it ever even happens, because you never know what type of limitations are going to be placed on those matches. If Kenny Omega is allowed to be Kenny Omega, then those matches would be really special. Would I be allowed to be myself, the real Kenny Omega, within that realm? In a way, it’s almost more exciting to think about what it could be rather than see what it would be.”

Another wrestling legend looking at Omega’s situation from afar is Rob Van Dam, who, like Omega, excelled using the creative freedom afforded to him in the unrestricted terrain of Paul Heyman’s ECW in the 1990s and was able to create genuine buzz away from WWE. Similar to Omega, Van Dam debated whether WWE was the right canvas for his art.

“At first, I looked at going to WWE as selling out, but there was nowhere left for me to work in the United States and still be on TV,” said Van Dam. “Yes, they do change you. Sometimes, it’s an improvement. I didn’t want to change as an artist.”

Van Dam feared the worst when he signed with WWE.

“I was prepared to become Robinhood Van Dam and wear a bow and arrow,” said Van Dam. “But I ended up representing ECW in WWE and I couldn’t have been happier. They used to erase your history but times have changed so much. The style and standards in WWE have changed where they compromise a lot.”

Will Omega need to change his style, Van Dam was asked, to succeed in WWE?

“I had to change my style because of the schedule,” said Van Dam. “I thought they were wrong, but WWE was right. If you’re not injured and you’re selling tickets, you’re working—and the matches on TV are shorter, so you have to change your style to fit in.

“For me, my job changed a lot with live TV. I learned quickly about how much time I needed to get to the ring, how much you needed to get to the ring, and how long it was going to take for the commercial break. Kenny can adapt to that and be successful.”

Keeping a watchful eye on WWE is a necessity for Omega. But just because he works for a competing promotion does not mean he does not enjoy parts of their programming.

“I like to keep up to date with WWE,” said Omega. “Every week on Twitter, someone tweets me and says, ‘This guy is better than you’ or ‘This match is better than yours’. I’ve watched the NXT ladder match, all the Johnny Gargano-Tommaso Ciampa matches, and I’m happy they have a very passionate fanbase within their own community that is willing to speak up for them and speak against me. But a lot of those people may not have watched any of my stuff to begin with.”

Omega stands for an alternative. Omega stands for change. His work differs from anyone currently employed by the WWE, and he is the rare performer that makes you feel his matches as you watch them.

Nothing is more different from WWE than this weekend’s All In show, and the importance of the pioneering event is not lost on Omega. Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks have also gone about success in their own distinct ways, and the respect and admiration between the four is as authentic as a One-Winged Angel (Omega’s finisher, which no one has kicked out of—how long would that last in WWE?).

Omega_One Winged Angel_Courtesy TV Asahi and NJPW[3].JPG

Omega has traveled his own journey in wrestling, one that now brings him to a match with Pentagon at All In. Reminded that neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run him over, Omega touched on whether All In proves there are evolving barometers for success in wrestling.

“All In shows there are enough people willing to take a chance on an alternative,” said Omega. “It shows that it’s worth putting your heart and soul into that alternative. We’re not looking for a quick path or quick WWE money. Opportunities like All In are great, it’s a tool to find who you are.”

Whether he will make a move to WWE inevitably remains a challenging question to answer.

“WWE was always the be-all, end-all, but now it’s changed so much that you can have your best years without WWE,” said Omega. “You don’t necessarily have to stress or worry about not having that ‘WrestleMania Moment.’ I used to hear that all the time when I was coming up in DDT. People found a measure of joy by saying, ‘You’ve never walked the ramp on Raw, so who the hell are you?’ I’m hearing a lot less of that. People are realizing the alternative can be just as good, if not better.”

This business is very cyclical. Down cycles are a natural occurrence in the world of pro wrestling and the day may arrive when Omega is not as hot as he is now. Will Omega get his mail to the same address in a year? Does he need to maximize his surging popularity and move to the WWE?

“That’s subject to opinion,” said Chris Jericho. “He’s already known worldwide.”

Omega’s future is unknown but the prospects are grand. He can stay in New Japan and see his legend grow overseas, or jump to WWE and attempt what many have tried but few have ever accomplished: set the business aflame and draw crowds and interest in a manner no one has done since “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

Despite all the grand designs, question marks, and proclamations, Omega has an alternative goal in mind.

“When people think Kenny Omega, I want people to know I was never manufactured,” said Omega. “I don’t have billions of dollars to protect my character or a PR person making presentations for me on my behalf, but I am authentic. I never want to put myself above anyone else. We’re all just humans. That’s why we need to focus on spreading a message of positivity. What we do is the peak performance of professional wrestling, and it would be easy to walk around with a chip on my shoulder. Regardless if I’m the best or not, it’s not going to stop me for being a real person. I want to use my blessings to help create a more positive environment.”

“But for now, I’m only focused on one thing. I’m ready for my All In moment.”

Justin Barrasso can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.