Kenny Omega, one of the biggest names in wrestling, and perhaps biggest not aligned to the WWE, has announced, after Wrestle Kingdom 13, that he would leave New Japan Pro Wrestling. Today we look at the options available to the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion.
After losing the IWGP Heavyweight title at Wrestle Kingdom 13, Kenny Omega made the decision to leave New Japan Wrestling (NJPW). His NJPW contract officially expires at the end of January and, as expected, Omega has decided to not stay in Japan. He made these comments as the reason for his departure:
“There is no real place for me to fit, so it’s best for me not to be in (NJPW). I can’t be there working under Tanahashi. I don’t think he’s surpassed me, don’t think he’s better. If we can, I want to face him again. But I need time away, and not just from New Japan.”
So after this month, Kenny Omega will officially be a free agent and a hotly sought after free agent at that. It has been reported that various WWE stars like AJ Styles and Xavier Woods have reached out to Omega to join the WWE. It was also rumored that WWE has a multi-million dollar offer on the table.
On the flip side, there is the upstart promotion All Elite Wrestling from his good friends Cody and the Young Bucks. The president is billionaire Tony Khan who I am positive wants Omega to be the centerpiece of this organization. It certainly makes for an interesting decision on Omega’s part.
The money will obviously not be the issue for either billionaire owner. The question that we all are not aware of is where will Kenny Omega be the happiest? Will it be coming into WWE as a former failed developmental wrestler who became a legitimate star elsewhere? Will it be with AEW as the main star of a company that he can see grow starting from the ground floor? Both have pros and cons.
WWE is already an established brand with built-in feuds and matches with stars like AJ Styles, Seth Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura. AEW is his chance to prove what a big star he really has become by being able to build something from scratch.
The cons of going to WWE is possibly being misused as have other big names that came from elsewhere. The cons of AEW include that this is a brand that nobody has any knowledge of yet. They as of this writing, have no television deal secured and really won’t be any immediate threat to WWE.
Fans are divided on where Kenny Omega will go and where he will fit in best. Some are really excited about the possibilities of Kenny against an array of new opponents in WWE and others have gone as far as calling him a “sell out” if he joined Vince McMahon’s company. It has led to a lot of heated discussions among fans on social media. One thing is definite, this is all great for professional wrestling.
In the recent past, when a star from another promotion left their old company, it was almost a foregone conclusion they were headed to WWE. Ever since the announcement of All Elite, that foregone conclusion is no more. It isn’t a guaranteed lock that Kenny Omega will sign with WWE and he has made no hints as to where he may be heading. There is this air of mystery that is building a much-needed excitement and passion one way or the other.
Not since the old Monday Night War days between the WWF and WCW has there been this level of excitement for a free agent wrestler. Where will he land? Why did he choose this company over that company? I really cannot a remember a time in recent memory that there has been so much buzz over one wrestler. Sting? Perhaps, but he was already at the tail end of his career.
No matter where Omega decides to bring his talent, Kenny will be a rich man with a load of opportunities presented to him. One day, we may look back at this decision and as a turning point in pro wrestling. It may also be looked at as the time when Kenny killed his mystique. Whatever his ultimate decision, this has truly been a great time to be a wrestling fan.