My translation of an interview with Kenny Omega published on manhattan drop on 6/4 2008 here.
As always, my annotations are in , and annotations by the original publication are in ().
Image and original content © manhattan drop.
Kenny Omega has come back to the US from Canada in order to wrestle for Jersey All Pro on 11/15. Before his match, we asked him about what he has been up to.
It’s been a while. Looks like you lost some weight.
Omega: Yeah. I’m busy traveling to Europe and to the West Coat in the US, so I think I lost some weight.
How’s your knee lately?
Omega: To be precise, the injury I sustained in the match with HARASHIMA is healing, but the muscles and tendons around the injury are still fatigued or have suffered something like an after-effect. That’s a pain that only goes away after giving it a good rest.
So you’re able to continue wrestling just like before?
Omega: Absolutely. I can go to Japan whenever.
What’s your impression of ROH after having been there?
Omega: In every promotion there’s wrestlers you call the top guys, but I think ROH is the place where all the top guys come together. And not just guys from the indies, but the top wrestlers from promotions with proper skills. I’m doing my best to fit in with these guys. I think I myself have to become more serious, because ROH is such a serious promotion. For example, before in PWG, the fans want something interesting, and I was able to use my comical side while I was there. There’s different colors to each promotion, and what the fans want is also different. But I think ROH is the promotion that wants the most seriousness, the most intensity [from you], so I want to adapt to that.
It seems that, up until now, the fans have chanted “Please come back!” for you, and you’ve received high praise from them. How do you feel about that?
Omega: I don’t think it’s anything special. When I have these matches with the top wrestlers, I’m nervous and I worry about injuries and such, but I don’t think about it as anything special, and just try and have matches the same way I always do.
You’ve been all over the place, to Europe and ROH, and also to PWG’s BOLA1, but is Japan still a special place among those for you?
Omega: Yes! Of course Japan is still a special place for me. That’s right, I wanted to ask something, is that okay?
Sure, what is it?
Omega: Is it true that DDT’s Gorgeous Matsuno2 collapsed and had a heart attack?
Yes. But he’s had a miraculous recovery and is performing at live events. But I mean, how do you know that?
Omega: Because I check up on Japanese wrestling on the internet. (laughs)
Ah, that’s why you often talk about things that aren’t even in the [pro wrestling] magazines, like Tanaka Safety Wrestling and Dragon Soldier Law (DSL).
Omega: Yes! And I have something that you must tell DSL. I’m a big fan of his, and if possible, I want to have a match with him the next time I come to Japan. Can you do that?
Of course we can do that. We just never thought we’d hear from someone who’s just fought in an amazing three-way with Bryan Danielson and Tyler Black that he wants to face someone like DSL. (laughs). You really are special.
Omega: And also, it’s so amazing that Tanaka Safety Pro Wrestling did a match in a karaoke box. (laughs) I really wanted to participate in that. It really bums me out [that I couldn’t].
Feels like that “amazing” has a bit of a different meaning, but let’s return to the topic at hand. This year you appeared for DDT for the first time. Was DDT the place you imagined it would be?
Omega: It was better than imagined! For example, when I went to the UK before, I was so nervous, but the fans were really kind to me. Same in Germany. In Japan, the fans are more enthusiastic, and treat me like family. In America there are a lot of people who go to watch pro wrestling as a form of entertainment, but in Japan, there were so many people who came to support me, personally. They came every day, even on weekdays. That made me really happy.
Do you have any memories of DDT?
Omega: It’s difficult because I have so many memories. If I had to pick just one, it would be the Super Hot Sauce challenge with Ibushi. We went to a restaurant in Nagoya, and they had something there called a Russian Roulette Pizza. Just one of the 6 slices had super hot sauce on it. Me and Ibushi can’t eat spicy food at all, but we thought it would be fun to try the challenge. We ate together with a rookie from Nagoya, and they ate first and nothing happened. Then, when we ate, nothing happened either, and when we wondered why, the rookie confessed that their slice had had the sauce on it, and that was the end of the Russian Roulette pizza. But that’s so fun, isn’t it? That’s why Nakazawa gave Ibushi the super hot sauce and he put some on my pizza, and in turn I put some on his pizza, but I accidentally put too much on. (laughs) But I gave Ibushi the slice anyway, and we [both] thought we’d just eat our slices quickly. It was so spicy! We both drank several glasses of water and put ice cubes in our mouths and drank more water, but it was still so hot. Ibushi started crying because it was so spicy, and when he went to wipe the tears away with his hand, there was actually hot sauce on his hand and he started crying more. So both our tongues still stung and we both ordered ice cream and ate it, but our tongues still stung. We kept drinking more water after that and it took a long time for [the burning] to stop. That was a nice memory.
It looks like in Japan you played through the arcade version of Silent Hill together with Ibushi. What are the games you’re playing the most right now?
Omega: They’re two rather old games, but I like the Metal Gear series, so I’m playing Kojima Hideo’s Snatcher and Policenauts right now. And I have played Chrono Trigger a lot. It’s coming out for DS as well. But I actually like Chrono Cross better. There’s something so wonderful about the worldview in that. Ah, I wanna play Chrono Cross now.
[Games for the] Sega Saturn and the first PlayStation, huh? You and Ibushi have a love for old games in common.
Omega: I want to go to the arcade with Ibushi again. Arcade! Arcade!
When you go to Japan the next time, what do you want to do?
Omega: (without hesitation) I want to have even crazier matches. Something no one will ever forget. At the scramble intersection in Shibuya or something. But last time I was there, I didn’t do much sightseeing, and I honestly don’t know what places there are [to do matches in]. But, I want to have some kind of crazy match.
Any last words for your fans in Japan?
Omega: I want to die.
What the hell? Where did you learn Japanese like that?
Omega: D’hahahaha. It’s a joke, it’s a joke. Okay, on a serious note. No matter where I go, DDT is the most important thing to me. So I’ll come back for sure.
1 Battle of Los Angeles, a famous tournament held by PWG that has lasted lengths from one to three nights over the years.
2 DDT wrestler. His gimmick is basically that he is very old, but the heart attack was real, as far as I can gather.