My translation of an interview with Kenny Omega published on 1/29 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 G1) First Try, First Win! Kenny Omega Becomes First Ever Foreign G1 Winner

On the 14th, at the show in Tôkyô’s Ryôgoku Kokugikan, the finals of New Japan’s midsummer festival, the G1 CLIMAX, were held, and B Block winner and first time participant Kenny Omega (32) crushed A Block winner Gotô Hiroôki (37) to win the tournament. He became the first foreigner in history to win the G1. Behind his Japanese Dream of conquering the tournament at the very top of Japanese pro wrestling, which he was able to fulfill after 8 years since first coming to Japan in 2008, lay his special feelings towards his former sworn friend turned stranger, Ibushi Kôta (34, Ibushi Research Institute). 

What sealed the deal on the gruesome battle [with Gotô], was the lineage of the leaders of the foreigner stable Bullet Club (BC): after 25 minutes, Kenny countered Gotô’s GTR (variation neckbreaker), and brought out Prince Devitt’s (now Finn Balór) Bloody Sunday and AJ Styles’ Styles Clash. In the end, he took the three-count with a One Winged Angel (variation driver).

He wrote a new chapter in the history of the G1. [After] 8 long years since first coming to Japan for DDT in 2008. What had allowed him to finally earn this glory, were his feelings for a once-in-a-lifetime friend he had met in a strange land far from home. On the stage of the finals, Kenny had used Ibushi’s special moves, the Sit down-style Last Ride and the Phoenix Splash. Kenny revealed that “I had used up all of my own strength. That’s why I fought with ‘memories’.”

After [Kenny] transferred to New Japan in 2014 and joined BC, the two had parted ways. The distance between them became even greater when Ibushi quit New Japan in February of this year. But Kenny always carries a deep care for Ibushi in his heart. Ibushi is currently participating in WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic tournament, but Nakazawa Michael (40), who accompanied him to America, revealed that he “was asked by Kenny to protect [Ibushi] and prevent him should it look like he’d sign a disadvantageous contract for himself.”

That’s why on this day, he had something he wanted to tell Ibushi. “I have two messages I want you to relay to him. First, that New Japan is the best place in the world. I’m still evolving, getting better. And then one more. Today, I finally overcame you. Aren’t you…lonely by yourself? That’s why I’ll wait for you here.”

When Ibushi, who had watched over Kenny’s remarkable achievement from the shadows of the venue, was relayed his moving message, he commented with wishes of celebration: “I was watching in the venue, and for the first time in a long time I remembered the cheers of the crowd from back when I was doing this. Of course I think there’s something [we] need to finish…But today, I want to say congratulations to Kenny.” The strong bond between the pair that used to be called the “Golden☆Lovers” is still connecting them, even now.[Kenny] got an offer from WWE [more than] once or twice. Even so, Kenny declared firmly that “All my dreams are in Japan.” The Japanese Dream of the foreign wrestler who came to love Japan above all else has come to a satisfying conclusion today, for now. But this is not the end. Kenny continues fighting in the ring in New Japan, carrying his dramatic dream of another meeting with Ibushi in his heart.