New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) star and IWGP United States Heavyweight Champ Kenny Omega recently did an interview with Rolling Stone to discuss his upcoming match with Chris Jericho at Wrestle Kingdom 12 next month.
“The Cleaner” discussed NJPW executives being okay with the use of blood in his segment with Jericho, his feud with Jericho standing out in a somewhat family-friendly NJPW product, and how he thinks things will be this time next year with NJPW rolling out to the United States. Here are the highlights:
NJPW executives being okay with the use of blood in his segment with Jericho:
“I’ve been lucky where I’ve asked for a little bit of trust from the company. When you put yourself in a situation like that, you either hit consecutive home runs or you’re dead in the water, because there’s a lot of money on the line, there’s a reputation on the line. And a lot of times I really forced them to step out of their comfort zone. Between last year’s G1 and now with Jericho, I have done a lot of things the company isn’t necessarily comfortable with, but they’re seeing positive growth from it. Drawing blood is a faux paus. They don’t like it at all. Our parent company makes its money through anime and card games.”
His feud with Jericho standing out in a family-friendly NJPW:
“Yeah, and even if it wasn’t what they’ve been expecting, we want to give them something completely different from what’s gonna be on the rest of the card. And not just different because, ‘Hey, it’s a WWE legend coming in to invade New Japan.’ From how we went about it, how we’re going about it and how we will execute the match, we want it to stand out from anything in recent memory. It’s really important for us to do that.”
How he thinks things will be this time next year with NJPW rolling into the United States:
“It’s hard to picture what the situation is gonna look like. [Omega Vs. Jericho] is a real self-contained story that can maybe only happen once, but I’m excited to see where it leads because it’s showing more of my range and a little bit of self-discovery on my part. I’m able to explore now this side of pro wrestling that is generally regarded here as taboo, but it’s the wrestling I grew up watching.
“It goes back to the territorial stuff with Ric Flair, the way he’d promote his matches. You can’t do it anymore. There’s always an A, B and C point you have to hit, and things are overly scripted and micro-managed, and now we’re gauging by how everything feels. Everything that this match evolves into has been an organic evolution, and that’s why we haven’t lost people yet.”
You can check out Omega’s full interview with Rolling Stone by clicking here.