Kenny Omega Talks Potential NXT Debut, Shinsuke Nakamura In WWE
Current New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and Ring of Honor (ROH) superstar Kenny Omega has developed into a unique character in the pro wrestling with his love for video games and passion for the business. “The Cleaner” is currently the leader of the Elite, a subgroup within the popular Bullet Club stable and a former IWGP Intercontinental Champion (one time) and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship (two times).
Omega reinvented himself after leaving the WWE’s then-developmental promotion Deep South Wrestling in 2006. Instead of being told what to be, Omega turned his real-life passions into a character that is arguably the most popular act in Japan.
However, in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Omega revealed that he’s been in contact with NXT officials. If he chooses to return to the WWE system at some point, the Transcona, Manitoba, Canada, native will be welcomed with open arms.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 13, 2016
“I have spoken with the heads at NXT, and they’ve all said, ‘If you want to come down, let us know–the second your visa is in place, you’re on TV the next week,” Omega said. “I thought that was really cool of them to say and I appreciate they recognize that I’d add some value to their product, so I always kept that in my mind as an option. But this is going back to my Deep South days–I still haven’t quite shown them what I can do on my own, and that’s what I think this year is going to do for me.”
In an exclusive with The Inquisitr in January, Omega spoke about his time in DSW. While “The Cleaner” appreciates his time in the promotion, it was more of a learning experience of what not to do than an opportunity to get on WWE television.
“That’s one thing Deep South Wrestling taught me, which was the WWE developmental at the time when I was there. 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. But for people like me, I really need my own creative freedom and be in an environment where that can I flourish.”
WWE has shown it’s more open to signing international and independent talent in recent years. With the success of Finn Balor, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens, NXT has become a breeding ground for the main roster. That roster will get an injection of NXT talent next week during the WWE Draft when six picks from the NXT roster will be taken.
— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) July 17, 2016
One those talents may be NJPW legend Shinsuke Nakamura, who made his WWE debut at NXT Takeover: Dallas during Wrestlemania 32 weekend. However, Omega feels that his former colleague deserved to debut on a grander stage, like Wrestlemania 32 two nights later, instead of NXT.
“I certainly think it is. A lot of people heard the reaction that AJ [Styles] received when he came out of nowhere at the Royal Rumble–if Nakamura debuted at WrestleMania, knowing that fans in that crowd travel from around the globe for that weekend, Nakamura’s reaction would have dwarfed AJ’s. That’s not saying Nakamura is better than AJ, but that atmosphere is built for someone who eats it up like Nakamura.”
— Cageside Seats (@cagesideseats) April 14, 2016
At some point in the future, Omega could follow Balor, Nakamura, and several other former NJPW superstars to NXT and eventually WWE. Until then, he has been working an internet phenomenon with New Day member Xavier Woods as both men share a love for video games. However, he still hopes for the Elite to face New Day in the future.
“New Day rocks,” Omega said. “I can’t lie. What would it do and what would it prove if they sucked? We’re The Elite, so we have to challenge the top act on the planet. You don’t see us challenging some other three man unit–we’re trying to make history, and we’re challenging the best–New Day rocks.”
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