Jim Ross — in addition to being the voice of at least one generation of pro wrestling fans and a WWE Hall of Famer — is the lead announcer for New Japan in the United States on AXS TV. He’s also someone who is a former head of talent relations for WWE, and has always tried to keep his finger on the pulse of what’s happening in independent wrestling. In the wake of the exceptionally critically acclaimed Wrestle Kingdom 11, he’s getting ready to call the “six-star” Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada match for AXS, and he gets to watch and speak to a ton of high-level independent talent all the time.
So it would seem that J.R. is a lot more qualified than most to weigh in on which independent talent he believes has the most potential to become a big deal in WWE. It’s not surprising at all that when Ring Rust Radio asked Ross who he feels could become a big WWE star, the very first name out of his mouth is Kenny Omega. He did manage to list several other stars that he would snatch up, though!
“That’s a pretty straightforward question for me. We all have our preferences, likes, and dislikes. If I was WWE—and not that their not who knows—I would go after Kenny Omega as soon as he is available. He isn’t going to get any younger. He is 33 years old, so it’s time to go get him. If he has any dreams of getting in the WrestleMania mix, he should do it at 33 rather than 35 in my opinion. He would be my first choice out of the New Japan roster right now. Ricochet is another guy. Will Ospreay. I believe that Cody Rhodes still has an immense upside. With everything he is doing in the independent scene and how he is managing his career, I know his dad would be very proud of him as far as having a booker’s mentality.”
For many fans, Omega is THE free agent they want to see in WWE right now. Forget free agent; after Wrestle Kingdom 11, he’s about the only person wrestling fans want to see in WWE, period. Whatever lingering “CM PUNK” chants still exist are probably going to turn into “KENNY OMEGA” chants if we keep getting closer to Omega’s Jan. 31 New Japan contract expiration without word that he’s signed with someone.
Ricochet is also another solid pick and one that fans have been clamoring for for some time now. It would be a bit shocking, honestly, if he didn’t end up in WWE this year. Cody Rhodes will almost certainly be back at some point, but it’s great that he’s turning heads and getting to do everything he wants under his own name on the indies for the time being.