My translation of a short interview with Kenny Omega that appeared on the Tokyo Sports website. As always, my annotations are in , and annotations by the original publication are in ().
Original text and images © Tokyo Sports Press Co., Ltd., AEW.
Note: pull quotes may differ from actual answers. This is part of the editing in the original.
(New Japan) Kenny Omega’s real reasons behind his return to old home ring, condemns his supposed successor Ospreay as [being] “cheap”
What are the real reasons behind his return to his old home ring? US promotion AEW’s Kenny Omega (39) will appear at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Tôkyô Dome show on January 4th next year, and challenge IWGP US Heavyweight champion Will Ospreay (29). He has mixed feelings about Ospreay, who became the top foreign wrestler after [Kenny] left four years ago.
Kenny left New Japan, with his last show being the 2019 Tôkyô Dome on January 4th, and helped found AEW. He’s looking to return to his old home ring for the first time in four years, after having gained even more worldwide popularity.
Revealing his thoughts regarding his appearance [for New Japan], Kenny said: “Ever since I left, no one’s fully been able to lead New Japan forward. Everyone has failed. It’s my responsibility to be the role model of what a superstar should be like. I thought that it was necessary for me to be [at the Tôkyô Dome] and get the crowd excited, so that they can have more fun.”
By all means, Ospreay was supposed to be [Kenny’s] successor. However, Kenny criticized him harshly: “I told Jay White too, ‘I leave the future to you.’ He carved out his own success. But what Will did felt cheap to me.”
He cut Ospreay down, who had taunted him with various actions, like using his finisher, the One Winged Angel: “Of course it pissed me off. I think he wants to show that he is the better one of us no matter what, but he was supposed to be the one to lead New Japan.”
Will Ospreay’s G1 CLIMAX finals match on August 18th (at Nippon Budôkan) with Okada Kazuchika was chosen as the Best Bout in the 2022 Puroresu Awards. But Kenny, who received the award three times, two out of which were for matches with Okada, put in his two cents: “Compare those matches to the Best Bout [awards] I won. I think that no doubt, on a technical level they are great. And if I didn’t exist, it would indeed appear that they are the best [matches]. But just ask the fans which matches stayed with them. Do they remember Ospreay’s matches?”
“To new fans, Ospreay might appear to be the best wrestler. Sorry to shatter that illusion, but he was the first one to strike. I need to show what a true major leaguer is.”
He is also thinking about what will happen after he wins the belt: “I will do anything for wrestling, in whatever form it takes. I feel like New Japan needs me. I have no plans to take the belt back home and then only having matches in America.” We can’t wait for their decisive bout that is drawing the eyes of wrestling fans worldwide.