Following his classic bout against Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 11 last month, Kenny Omega has become the most talked about commodity in professional wrestling.
While Okada was victorious during the January 4 showdown at the Tokyo Dome — a match that received six stars from wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer — it’s Omega who has been linked to WWE over the last few weeks. A rumored Royal Rumble appearance never materialized and Omega confirmed that he will be returning to Japan to negotiate a new one-year deal with New Japan Pro Wrestling — delaying a potential WWE run.
During a Q&A session for 4FrontWrestling, Omega discussed jumping ship to WWE, however, “The Cleaner” all but ruled out starting his WWE career in the company’s developmental system, NXT.
“I know NXT is kind of like the indie darling promotion of the WWE; however, I have, maybe, next to zero percent interest in going to NXT, to be honest,” Omega said (h/t Wrestling Inc). “I’m just saying it does not jive with the goals I have in mind for myself or my [professional wrestling] career to go to NXT. As great as a guy like Bobby Roode is or Samoa Joe or Shinsuke Nakamura, I could go my entire career from this point on not wrestle those guys, and not feel like I missed something. And I don’t mean disrespect to them. I just feel that I’m on borrowed time.”
Omega, 33, has been wrestling since he was 16-years-old, so the Winning, Manitoba, Canada, native wants to maximize his remaining years. As Omega mentioned, Roode, Nakamura, and Joe have all went to NXT and captured the promotion’s top championship — Joe just made his main roster debut last Monday on RAW.
However, all it takes to see Omega’s physical in-ring performances to see his body isn’t made of rubber. Crashing into barricades and through tables during his bout against Okada isn’t the evidence of a man who will be wrestling into his 50s. That’s why Omega doesn’t want to waste bumps in NXT.
“My style is very physical and I push myself very hard and to the limit all the time to try and change wrestling and give people a reason to subscribe to a New Japan World or WWE Network and I know what we do isn’t always cool, so I want to give you all a reason to find it cool again. And it’s tough on me, so I want to make sure when I do thesehigh-riskk matches and when I push myself beyond my boundaries that there is a point. And doing that in NXT, for me, would seem like a little bit of a waste.”
For what it’s worth, Triple H, the head honcho behind NXT and former 14-time WWE champion, indicated on a conference call to promote WWE’s United Kingdom tournament that there’s interest in Omega.
“As far as a Kenny Omega goes, I’m just interested in talent, period,” Triple H said (via ESPN) “If somebody is talented as a performer and they wanna come work for the WWE, if they wanna come to the largest platform in the world where they can truly show what they do off on a global basis, then WWE is the choice for them. If they wanna come work for us and they’re very talented, then I’m interested in talking to them, and that’s across the board.”
Omega was previously in WWE’s developmental system in 2006, then known as Deep South Wrestling. However, Omega explained to the The Inquisitr last year that his experience in WWE developmental helped him understand how he can be successful in wrestling.
“Some people thrive being programmed, some people need to have a direction told to them, some people need to be created from the ground up to even stand a chance in this world,” Omega said. “But for people like me, I really need my own creative freedom and be in an environment where that can I flourish.”
NJPW has allowed Omega that creative freedom and if WWE is in Omega’s future, the company will have to afford him the same opportunity.
[Featured Image by NJPW]