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(New Japan) US Champion Kenny Omega Talks Title Defenses, Doesn’t Care About Nationality of Challengers, Interested in Facing Juniors Too
Where is his interest for his title defenses headed? New Japan’s IWGP US Heavyweight champion Kenny Omega (39) revealed his future plans to us. The Best Bout Machine, who won the belt from Will Ospreay on January 4th at the Tôkyô Dome show, hopes to actively defend the title in both AEW in America and in New Japan. Being of the opinion that the nationality of the challengers shouldn’t matter, he named several people as the opponents he has in mind.
After recapturing the US championship in a critical matchup in his old home ring at the Tôkyô Dome that he returned to after four years, Kenny tagged with IWGP World Heavyweight champion Okada Kazuchika at the Ôta show on the 5th. They stood proud in victory over Jeff Cobb and Aaron Henare.
After the match, he called out Cobb, who had made his challenge [to Kenny]: ”You want a piece of this? Prove that you’re the best. I’m not gonna make it that easy. Come find me in America.”1
In an interview with Tokyo Sports after the show, Kenny explained the intentions behind forming the dream tag team [with Okada]: “I’m the first ever US champion, so I want to restore the value of this belt that it has lost. I had a dream match today. Of course, the fans think that the IWGP World Heavyweight [champion] is the best, but by tagging with Okada, I wanted to prove that there isn’t that much of a difference [between the champions].”
About his upcoming defenses, he [said,] “I want to [defend it] in both New Japan and in AEW. When I was US champion, I had most of my title matches in New Japan. So I want to not just wrestle in the States, but in Japan as well.”
Furthermore, aside from Cobb, who emerged as his first challenger, [Kenny] hopes for challengers, regardless of nationality. He considers defending against Japanese wrestlers from New Japan.
“It looks like he’s challenging for the IWGP World [championship], but one day, I want to wrestle Takagi Shingo. Before I ever came to New Japan, the match I had at DDG [Dramatic Dream Gate] (June 5th, 2012, Ôsaka), me and Ishii Keisuke [versus] Takagi and YAMATO, was a lot of fun. I have always thought that I could maybe have a singles match with him.” On top of mentioning the KOPW title holder, he went on: “I didn’t get the chance when I was in New Japan, but Takagi is at the top right now. I think this is the perfect timing.”
There are still others he has in mind. He picked out two from the junior division: ”(El) Desperado for example has been working really hard lately. And also, this is continuing with more wrestlers that aren’t heavyweights, but (Takahashi) Hiromu. I feel like I want to wrestle people I have never wrestled before, or that have improved a lot while I was gone.”
In any case, he proved once more his top-of-the-world strength in his old home ring. Now that he won the US championship, it will be harder and harder to take your eyes off of what he will do in the future.
1 Taken from the English original, rather than the translation.