My translation of an interview with Kenny Omega published on 5/10 2018 on Tokyo Sports here.

As always, my annotations are in [], and annotations by the original publication are in ().

Images and original content © Tokyo Sports Press Co., Ltd..

Note: pull quotes may differ from actual answers. This is part of the editing in the original.

(NJPW) Kenny to Challenge Okada on 6/9: I Want to Create the Legend of Kenny

Kenny Omega (34), who’s challenging IWGP Heavyweight Champion Okada Kazuchika (30) on New Japan’s Ôsaka-jô Hall show on June 9th, confessed to his passionate dream of being crowned IWGP champion for the first time. He explains his true intention behind proposing the “No Time Limit Best out of Three Falls” [stipulation], the first in the history of the IWGP [title]. Also, he much needed the support of his sworn friend Ibushi Kôta (35), with whom he was able to reform the “Golden☆Lovers” (GL).

Kenny was named the next challenger by the ultimate champion Okada, who has accomplished the single most defenses of the IWGP [Heavyweight title] with 12 defenses, and their fight at Ôsaka-jô has been decided. Last year, the same event ended with a full 60 minute draw. The champion demanded a “No Time Limit”, and to that Kenny added a “Best out of Three Falls”, and thus the decision to use this special rule set was reached, for the first time in IWGP history.

Simply put, if you wish to wipe the unsightly draw from your records while looking to end this once and for all, the no time limit condition should be enough. What could be [Kenny’s] intention of adding the best out of three falls [rule] to that? First, Kenny prefaced by [saying] that ”Ôsaka-jô is a special place to me. I wanted to prepare for a historic fight.”, and he went on to explain that “In the normal match (1/4 2017, Tôkyô Dome), Okada won. The match I was in perfect form for (June of the same year, Ôsaka-jô), I wasn’t able to get a decisive finish. The match we both fought while being the most worn-out (August of the same year, G1 tournament match), I won. I thought a best out of three falls, where it’s a match-up of everything, technique, stamina, strength, would be the most fair. And I thought now would be the best time for that.”

10 years and 4 months after the no time limit match in February of 2008 that saw Nakamura Shinsuke face Kurt Angle (both now in WWE), this will be the first time in either IWGP title’s history that the match will also be a best out of three falls. ”The IWGP has a strong tradition to it, and I too respect New Japan’s 45 year-long history. But I also want the fans from today to experience something new. I want to create a legend. Everyone has to evolve,” Kenny [declared], eager to prove himself in a historic match.

Furthermore, there’s a sense that the support has also grown from last year. This February, [Kenny] reformed the GL with Ibushi. Kenny revealed, “I’ve found the perfect training partner. He makes my weak points stronger. I’ll be able to show you a new Kenny. If Ibushi’s okay with it, I’d like him to second me. I don’t need him to interfere, I just want him to give me his usual support.” It’ll be exactly 10 years since he first set foot in a Japanese ring for DDT in July of 2008. The time has come to fulfill his wish of reaching the very top.