I like to say that I’m a huge pro wrestling fan but I will be the first to admit that might not actually be true. While I do watch “sports entertainment” programs, I only watch WWE shows. It’s what I grew up with and I’ve grown accustomed to the brand. I still watch RAW and Smackdown every chance I get and I still love it. But the WWE isn’t the entire world of pro wrestling. There are a ton of wrestling promotions out there that I’ve yet to give a chance to. Not to mention the numerous talented wrestlers who have made a name for themselves in those promotions.
There are only a couple of non-WWE wrestlers that I’ve actively seen in action. One of them is Kenny Omega, the former New Japan Pro Wrestling star. I would’ve never gotten to know him if he wasn’t a huge video game and Street Fighter fan, though. In fact, my first “contact” with him was seeing him play Street Fighter IV on Excellent Adventures (with Gootecks and Mike Ross) as well as that phenomenal show at CEO 2016 against Austin Creed (AKA Xavier Woods from the WWE)!
Even so, Kenny Omega is more of a legend to me as I have never really seen him do his thing as he had only made a huge name for himself while at New Japan Pro Wrestling, or NJPW for short. He was the former heavyweight champion there and was one of the promotion’s biggest stars. I say “was” because, sadly, Kenny “The Cleaner” Omega just lost the NJPW Heavyweight Championship to Hiroshi Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom 13 AND he announced that he’ll be taking time away from NJPW, leaving him open to other companies, namely the upstart All Elite Wrestling promotion of Cody Rhodes or the WWE.
Honestly, this is incredible news for wrestling fans all over the world… except maybe for NJPW fans. But him leaving for either AEW or the WWE can definitely make Kenny Omega more of a household name and, based on what I’ve seen, he deserves to be a household name! Kenny Omega is pretty much the complete wrestling package. His in-ring skills are top-notch as he’s been given multiple 5-star ratings for his matches in the past. His mic skills are also incredible as Kenny is able to pull off great promos off the top of his head without blinking an eye, which I bore witness to during the E3 2018 Capcom show for Street Fighter V. That was just for a “silly” gaming event yet he still gave it his all!
Of course, as someone who primarily watches the WWE, I would love it if Kenny Omega moves there. It would mostly be for selfish reasons since I will be able to see him perform week in and week out in something that I’m already watching. Also, the thought of Kenny Omega going toe-to-toe against some of the WWE’s biggest Superstars is just alluring! Imagine the matches he can pull off against guys like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn! Or just seeing him perform in the ring with guys like Shinusuke Nakamura, Rusev and even John Cena! Or just think of the promos he can do, ranting against everyone in his classic Kenny Omega style!
Moving to the WWE would also be in favor of Kenny Omega in theory. From what I’ve researched, they really want The Cleaner to join the house that Vince McMahon built as they made a “fantastic offer” to Omega in an attempt to sway him. The WWE has deep pockets so I can only imagine how financially lucrative the offer is. But I’ll bet the WWE also sweetened the pot with other amenities, like giving him a run as WWE Champion (because wrestling is *gasp* predetermined) and possibly even extended time off so he can pursue things like going to video game tournaments and the like.
That already seems like a lot but there’s also the exposure Kenny Omega would get if he joins Vince McMahon’s promotion. Even if you’re not a wrestling fan, you’re at least familiar with the WWE. Everyone has! So, if he becomes more well-known, that can only lead to Kenny Omega getting better offers from other stuff, like endorsement deals and merchandising opportunities.
All of this seems like a win-win for Kenny Omega, the WWE and wrestling fans. Yet, I’m not completely convinced it’s actually a good thing. The reason? Well, Kenny Omega would be joining the WWE, a company that’s notorious for doing some incredibly stupid things with their popular stars for the past several years!
There are numerous examples of the WWE wasting their wrestling Superstars talents and I’m going to rant about a few of them right now. First, there’s Sasha Banks. She was one of the most popular women Superstars in the WWE for several reasons. The Boss has the looks of a star and she also had the attitude to back it up. She’s also willing to do some incredibly insane things in the ring that women and even male WWE performer would be squeamish to do.
Sasha Banks was one of the most popular WWE Superstars a couple of years ago because of all of this. I and so many fans adore her because she’s a great example of a WWE Superstar who had it all. She had the charisma, the wrestling acumen and the mic skills to enthrall fans. But what has the WWE been doing with her? Virtually nothing! Sasha Banks had this weird on-and-off feud with Bayley which led nowhere. It’s like the WWE actively wants to push her into the background for some reason.
Another set of examples would be, coincidentally, some former NJPW wrestlers who made the jump to the WWE a while back. These would be Finn Balor, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. They were part of the same stable that Kenny Omega, the Bullet Club. They were some of NJPW’s biggest names when the WWE snatched them up as they made a name for themselves in Japan by working hard and their boundless creativity made them the faction to watch. The sad thing is I’ve seen clips of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, along with Kenny Omega, working in NJPW and they were very good!
What has the WWE done with them? Well, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows have been languishing in the midcard of the tag team division. Finn Balor, despite being the first ever WWE Universal Champion, is hardly getting any fanfare. He’s generally be regulated as the company’s resident “little man with a lot of heart” shtick like Rey Mysterio. I don’t see holding any WWE gold anytime soon.
There are definitely others. Cesaro. Rusev. Asuka. Shinusuke Nakamura. Kevin Owens. The WWE has, to varying degrees, pushed them and then drastically de-pushed them, despite them being incredibly over with the WWE Universe. You would think that the WWE would capitalize on their popularity but, for one reason or another, they don’t like them in the limelight.
But the biggest fear I have of Kenny Omega going to the WWE is how his creativity may be stifled there. The WWE has a reputation of taking creative control over their performers and they might just script out Kenny Omega’s entire time in the company and not allow him to do his own thing. If they do that, they’re just going to destroy what made Kenny Omega one of the best wrestling talents out there! I’ve already mentioned his ability to do excellent promos but the WWE may be too afraid that he’ll say something that they don’t approve of. They might even not allow him to do moves like the EX Hadoken, V-Trigger and Flashman Time Stopper, which are video game based, because they might be sued for copyright infringement but Capcom!
To be fair, there are some current WWE performers who are allowed to do their own thing and still succeed. AJ Styles, another NJPW alumni, has gotten really far in the company. It took a while but Becky Lynch was given the room to do her own thing and be The Man. Even after months and months of languishing in the midcard, the WWE eventually gave Rusev his Rusev Day thanks to enormous fan support. So there is a chance they’ll allow Kenny Omega to do his own thing as well.
Should Kenny Omega go to the WWE? Honestly, it’s hard to say. It’ll be good for the man as he’ll make a ton of money if he does. The downside is that there is the chance the WWE will limit his exposure or cripple his creativity, causing his insane level of popularity to plummet in just a few months.
Personally, I would love to see him in the WWE… but just so I can see him clash with AJ Styles. That would be a Wrestlemania level match!
Do you think Kenny Omega should go to the WWE? Let me know your opinion in the comments section below!