Kenny Omega Compares Jon Moxley and Kazuchika Okada: 'Stylistically, They Are so Different'

Kenny Omega: "The reason I’m in AEW right now is because I wanted a new challenge"
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Kenny Omega meets Jon Moxley in a match for the AEW Championship next Wednesday on Dynamite. The build has been developing at a slow-but-sublime pace, laying a foundation that has connective tissue to a story that began in May of 2019 at Double or Nothing. Giving wrestling fans further reason to give thanks is that Omega has every intention of extending this program into the new year, spotlighting the long-term storytelling that has defined his work in pro wrestling.

“My goal is to put a pay per view caliber match on TV next week,” said Omega. “On the same token, I want another pay per view match with Moxley in the future. I don’t want to write an entire book in one match, but I hope this is a great chapter.”

There are a plethora of highlights on the Omega reel, but none brighter than his series of matches against Kazuchika Okada. Omega and Okada combined to make magic at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in January of 2017, setting a new standard of excellence in New Japan Pro Wrestling. The rematch took place five months later, ending in a 60-minute draw in Osaka at Dominion. Omega finally emerged victorious against Okada that summer in the G1 Climax tournament. The finale, at least for now, took place in June of 2018, when Omega crowned himself IWGP Champion by defeating Okada in a no time limit, two-out-of-three falls match.

Despite the success of those matches, Omega stressed that his goal is not to build a similar template with Moxley, but rather create something entirely new.

“I’m never in competition with myself, and I’m never trying to compare someone who is very unique like Moxley to another competitor that is also very unique,” said Omega. “I’m not going to compare building to building, I’m not going to compare fan base to fan base. I don’t think that’s fair. For me, the reason I’m in AEW right now is because I wanted a new challenge. What I wasn’t trying to do was create an environment or a situation where I was competing with the New Japan Kenny Omega. I’m not trying to structure things the way I would structure with Okada. I’m not trying to find a new Okada, Moxley has his own qualities that make him special. Stylistically, they are so different.

“When I went to the Okada match at the Tokyo Dome, for me, it was all or nothing. I didn’t think there would be an Okada-Omega II or III or IV. I thought that was my only chance on a stage like that. In AEW, I knew there, even during my ‘Lights Out’ match against Moxley last year [at Full Gear], that there would be another match down the road. I would love for this story to lend itself to the other chapters in the series. Regardless of how this match goes, we’re committed to this project. There probably is going to be an Omega-Moxley III somewhere down the road.”

In addition to his work as a wrestler and Executive Vice President with AEW, Omega is also now the newest ambassador for Redcon1, a sports supplement brand, developing a line of products and apparel.

“I’m representing a brand that can help people perform better, and that’s so cool,” said Omega. “I’ve been able to work in areas outside of wrestling where I have a genuine interest. I’ve done work with anime companies, I’ve done a lot of video game work, and now to get into the world of sports supplementation and nutrition, it means a lot to me. There are a lot of safe supplements, and that helps create better athletes.”

Omega added that taking care of his body is going to extend his wrestling career, and he is also eager to help others pursue their goals.

“Redcon1 has a wide variety of products that can help, and these are some of the safest products you’re going to get,” said Omega. “Whatever walk of life you’re coming from, whether it’s sports or gaming or working long hours, there is something here for you. It can help, whether you’re training hard or training for fun. It means a lot that I can reach people and help them.”

Now that Thanksgiving has arrived and winter is coming, the calendar is rapidly approaching New Japan’s signature Wrestle Kingdom show in January.

In addition to his Wrestle Kingdom 11 classic against Okada, the Tokyo Dome show was a constant proving ground for Omega. He defeated Ryusuke Taguchi in 2015, fell short against Kushida in an eye-opening match in 2016, then made a gargantuan leap by transitioning from the junior heavyweight division to the heavyweight division in 2017. The 2018 event was also pivotal to his success, both in Japan and globally, as he defeated Chris Jericho. Omega wrestled his final match with the company at Wrestle Kingdom 13 in 2019, which ended when he dropped the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in an outstanding match to Hiroshi Tanahashi.

It remains strange to see New Japan build to Wrestle Kingdom without Omega involved, a point of view with which he does not disagree.

“This time of the year makes me nostalgic,” said Omega. “I’m really feeling that this year. A lot of us are still friendly, we still keep in touch.”

AEW stars wrestle in New Japan, and perhaps a time will arrive when New Japan stars will wrestle for AEW.

“Now more than ever, with the entire world struggling, we could really make lemonade out of lemons by putting forth our best efforts for a collaborative effort,” said Omega. “That’s the great thing about pro wrestling. A lot of people are in this business because they love making people happy. There are a lot of us in wrestling right now that want nothing more than to make fans happy. We get lost in our own fantasy booking talking about how cool it would be to team up, and there are restrictions in the world right now, but maybe down the road.”

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