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Kenny Omega’s Feud With Will Ospreay Moves From the Internet to the Ring

The longtime adversaries—both in NJPW and on Twitter—will square off in AEW’s World Trios Championship Tournament.’s Week in Wrestling is published every week and provides beneath-the-surface coverage of the business of pro wrestling.

Kenny Omega on differences between himself and Will Ospreay: “We look at the business in two very different ways”

The Elite vs. United Empire will headline this week’s Dynamite.

A match like this is reason to be grateful that AEW exists. It offers a chance to see Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks’ Matt and Nick Jackson share the ring with Will Ospreay and Aussie Open’s Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher, a collision of talent from AEW and New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

This is a World Trios Championship Tournament semifinal match, with the winning team advancing to the finals at Sunday’s All Out pay-per-view. It also marks the first time Omega has shared the ring with Ospreay since December 2018.

Distance has heightened the tension between Omega and Ospreay. The two have taken turns hurling insults at each other on social media, then last week had the chance to do so in person after Dynamite went off the air.

“We look at the business in two very different ways,” Omega says. “The way we go about our matches is different, and even what we want to leave behind in wrestling is different. We’re both shooting to be the top performer wherever we go, but we go about it in very different ways.”

On and off the air, Omega and Ospreay do not share much in common. In terms of wrestling accolades, only one—Omega—has been New Japan’s IWGP heavyweight champion and winner of the vaunted G1 Climax tournament, but Ospreay genuinely believes he is the better performer. They finally have the chance to make a very physical, compelling brand of magic against one another on Dynamite.

“There may be some tense moments between myself and Will,” Omega says. “I’d like to test him, and I’m sure he’d like to test me. I also would like to test myself and see if I’m really in a position where I can hang with the best. I’ve had one match [since returning from injury] to feel it out, which was a very unique scenario. I came back to AEW after a long hiatus and wrestled against three of the top luchador wrestlers in the world in a four-sided ring. Normally when I am testing myself against top luchadores in AAA, we’re in the six-sided ring.

“I’m still determining where I am, but I am going to push myself as far as I need to in order to keep up with him—and I am going to push myself hard enough to send a message to Will Ospreay that he’s just not quite there yet.”

Asked what Ospreay is lacking in his quest to be a top performer, Omega provides a very honest assessment.

“Will has this false sense of self,” Omega says. “That’s reinforced partly by some people in the wrestling media, like Dave Meltzer, who I believe overrates his matches just a little. I can take blame for that—I broke the [ratings] scale. Since I broke the scale, the ratings have been all over the place. It’s hard to make heads or tails of how good a match really is, and that’s creating a divide. The rating system used to be something that was prestigious. Now, should I be proud of a four-star match? Or should I be proud of a five or a six? If Will gets something that’s over a five, and I didn’t enjoy my experience watching the match, do I want a match like that?

“For Will to put so much stock into that is a sign of his age, his experience and his maturity level. If he focused more on where he needs to evolve and grow, he’d come closer to becoming what he wants to be in wrestling. Essentially, that’s me. He’s just not close enough yet. And I’m still here.”

This is only Omega’s second match since dropping the world title in November to “Hangman” Adam Page. (He subsequently vacated the AAA world title due to injury and underwent knee and hernia surgeries.) His return bout took place two weeks ago on Dynamite, when he and The Young Bucks defeated La Facción Ingobernable’s Andrade, Rush and Dragon Lee in an outstanding quarterfinal bout in the World Trios Championship Tournament.

When Omega first rose to prominence in the United States, it was beside the Bucks in Ring of Honor. They were also superb together in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and their work both together and separately has helped define AEW as the world’s premier company for pro wrestling.

“I can’t really say things are coming full-circle because AEW is such a new thing, but for me and the Bucks, it’s another pitstop on this gigantic road map we’ve created as wrestlers,” Omega says. “We’ve traveled all throughout the globe already, and even though this story may have started in Japan, we’ve already taken our battles to Scotland, to England, to PWG in California.

“And just when we thought that maybe we wouldn’t see any more matchups between AEW and New Japan, this relationship does continue after Forbidden Door. It’s great that talent is interested in coming here, and we have talent interested in making a mark there. So it’s great for Will to come with Aussie Open, who perhaps aren’t as well known to the AEW fan base as they are in other places, and people are going to be surprised by this match.”

Even during his time away from the ring healing a multitude of injuries, Omega remained a key piece of the company. As executive vice president, one of his top responsibilities is launching AEW’s inaugural video game, Fight Forever. As the game’s creative director, Omega was thrilled to learn that Fight Forever won the Best Sports/Racing Game category at GamesCom, the world’s biggest game conference, last week in Germany.

“I was blown away by that,” Omega says. “It was recognized as something fun, and people who left our booth had a very entertaining experience. That is what we’re always seeking. And I think we only gave a small taste of what makes the game so much fun. That makes me even more excited for when people start to really see how crazy, kookie, and fun this game really is.”

There are still many surprises left to be revealed with Fight Forever ahead of its yet-to-be-announced release date. Omega explained that every step is being met with extreme care, as the team wants the game to be as close to perfect as possible upon release.

“If people are concerned about modes, and I’ve heard some strange stuff, like there are only singles matches, but I can happily say that is not the case,” Omega says. “We will have tag team matches and tag team maneuvers, and the mechanics to those matches will feel vastly different from singles matches. You’ll feel like you’re in a tag match, and we’re working diligently to have varied match types. This game isn’t going to pull any punches. It’s going to be physical, sometimes bloody, and we’ve got a very high weapon count for everyone to have fun with. The hijinks outside the ring are a lot of fun, and there’s still Career Mode, too. I hope people have a blast with it.

“We’re coming pretty close to wrapping up. There is still the approval process, and we’re looking to avoid any net play issues so people can play online competitively. We really want to make sure that when people try to log onto the servers, they can do so without incurring any issues.”

Omega has too much respect for wrestling fans to release a game that has play issues or is rushed into retail. The drawback to that, of course, is that it means more time is needed to perfect the game.

“The one detriment to that is we live in an ever-evolving sport in pro wrestling,” Omega says. “That pertains to the craft itself, and our roster is also ever-changing. The more time passes by, we may see a new face that people are going to be upset isn’t going to be in the game. Our roster on release was almost etched in stone, and we had very limited slots for very special cases, like Adam Cole and CM Punk. Generally speaking, you’re going to see a lot of familiar faces from the early years of AEW, many of whom are still here today. Having that original, year-one roster is important to us. We’re trying to retell that story of how we came into existence.

“Now that our game is pretty much wrapped, between now and the release, it will be hard to include anyone new. Even if John Cena walked through the tunnel and down the stage, we probably wouldn’t be able to get him in on time. That is why we’re doing post-launch support. It was never the game plan to purposely hold back, but it’s to make sure fans can be a certain wrestler, then they’ll be available as soon as possible.”

No different from his pursuit of creating the best video game possible, Omega is still perfecting his craft in the ring. Never one to rest on past laurels, he is looking to manufacture an unforgettable stretch now that he is back in the ring, producing the type of content that fans will crave to see.

“I want to express myself in a multitude of ways, and tell my stories in a very different way,” Omega says. “After suffering through so much rehab, and being at a stage where I wasn’t sure if I could ever come back, I’m now being proud of where I am. The standard thing to do after climbing Mount Everest is to celebrate. I felt like coming back to the ring was cause for celebration, but I didn’t want to come back in a traditional way. My goal is to give a unique take on what a comeback story can look like. It’s something new for me, it’s something that isn’t really being represented on our shows, and it’s a challenge. I’ve never been away for this amount of time. It’s uncharted territory, but I refuse to rehash what I’ve already done.”

That unrelenting pursuit of greatness continues on Wednesday night. Omega and the Bucks have the ability to bring professional wrestling to a whole new level, and that is the plan for this evening against Ospreay and his United Empire.

“As a performer, I want to leave behind the full spectrum of performance types and match types,” Omega says. “There’s situations where I’ll be the underdog, and situations where I’m the favorite. I plan on creating something very special in 2022 into 2023.”

The (online) week in wrestling

  • The CM Punk–Jon Moxley match was over as soon as it started last week on Dynamite, with Moxley winning in a squash. It adds intrigue for their apparent rematch on Sunday at All Out, in theory giving AEW a rating for Dynamite and a reason to buy the pay-per-view. But it will be interesting to see how it is explained that Punk’s injured foot will be stronger for the rematch.
  • Sami Zayn’s brilliance was, once again, apparent on SmackDown. I don’t know how long their partnership will last, but he adds a whole new dimension to The Bloodline.
  • Matt Riddle’s real-life family issues were the focus of this incredibly intense promo between Riddle and Seth Rollins. I feel for the family, who is part of the punchline to Rollins’s joke, but this program is designed to introduce a more serious side to Riddle as he pursues his place as WWE champion.
  • There are new women’s tag-teams champs in WWE. Fair or unfair to the new champs, this division won’t be right until Sasha Banks and Naomi return and reclaim the titles.
  • There is more backstage drama in AEW, with Thunder Rosa citing injuries as the reason why she could not drop the women’s title. A new champ will be crowned this Sunday on pay-per-view.
  • In addition to Sunday afternoon’s NXT-NXT UK Worlds Collide show, WWE also has Clash at the Castle on Saturday. Drew McIntyre’s push for the title will be center stage, but there is a part of me that thinks it will be derailed by Karrion Kross.
  • The match of the weekend could very well be Carmelo Hayes vs. Ricochet at Worlds Collide. This is an outstanding platform to show that Hayes is among the very best in the world.
  • Kurt Angle played his greatest hits on Raw, and, unsurprisingly, there were some extremely enjoyable moments.
  • Perhaps this is hope for Finn Bálor with Triple H in charge of creative. This promo is the most realistic work he has done since his heel turn, displaying the kind of fire needed to be a major star in WWE.
  • The NWA held its 74th Anniversary Show this weekend, which ended with Trevor Murdoch retaining the world title.
  • Can you imagine the sadness of living in a world without Kayfabe News?

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