Kenny Omega is quite possibly the hottest wrestler on the planet right now, and his main event match with Kota Ibushi against the Young Bucks at Strong Style Evolved was one of the most emotional matches we’ve seen in the past decade. He, like most wrestling fans, is extremely excited about the Golden Lovers being back together, and we had a chance to talk to him about being back with Ibushi, and what the future might hold for him as both a singles and a tag team wrestler.
We previously shared Omega’s thoughts on what was the then-upcoming Strong Style Evolved show and the return of Daniel Bryan, and this, similarly, is just a portion of our conversation with Omega. You can listen to the entire interview in this week’s episode of McMahonsplaining, the With Spandex Podcast, which also has our complete preview for WrestleMania weekend.
WITH SPANDEX: How have you been reacting to the response to the Golden Lovers getting back together?
Kenny Omega: I mean, the response to us coming back together has been more positive than I ever could’ve imagined. Again, I selfishly really wanted the Golden Lovers to come back for us. For a while, there was a situation where we were never in the same room together. We couldn’t travel together. We couldn’t be seen in public together. It was just a very, I wouldn’t say volatile situation. That’s the wrong word for it, but just things are different in the Japanese wrestling culture. We have to stay separate, and for us to finally be ourselves and get back together and sort of reassume this dream that we once had in the 2008 to 2010 where we wanted to be the best tag team in the world together. It’s just been really cool.
Then to see not only that, but when our music hit for the first time at Korakuen Hall, it’s still kind of unbelievable, the reaction that they had for us. We thought we would have to kind of reintroduce ourselves from zero again, but people remember, or not only did they remember, but maybe they went back and studied our history and then became fans that way, but everyone in that building knew who we were and were excited to see us, and it was just such a great feeling, and we don’t want to stop here. We want to go further with it, and we really want to cement ourselves as one of the best tag teams in the world.
Well, with that being said, now that your focus is on the Golden Lovers, does that mean that you’re not going to be pursuing any singles titles of your own for the time being?
I mean, losing the belt to [Switchblade Jay White] sort of freed me up a little bit, and I sort of feel like I can now focus more on one thing. I can multitask, but I generally am not good at it, but when I do focus on one thing and one thing passionately, usually I can get great results, and I would love right now to focus strictly on tag team wrestling with Ibushi, not only because I want to team with him again and I want to show what we can do, but I want to show the potential of what tag team wrestling can be as well, because I think a lot of people have missed the mark on what tag team wrestling is, and especially in New Japan.
We’re in a situation right now where tag team wrestling just … It can’t come close to main eventing a show. It just can’t. The cards are built so heavily upon that one mega singles match, and I want to show that our roster is deep enough and that there is a way to show that we can make people look forward to tag team wrestling as a main event-style match as well, so that right now is my immediate goal, but the year is just getting started, and regardless of how well the tag team does, I know I will be in the G1, so you will definitely see some singles matches down the line for sure.
Your career has tended to be very focused and driven, and in Kota’s career, he tends to just go where his winds take him. If he were to, say, challenge Kazuchika Okada and win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, do you think that that would put a strain on the Golden Lovers?
I mean, make no mistake. I sort of feel like if it’s anyone but me taking the belt from Okada, that it just doesn’t feel right, but I’ve kind of been maybe preaching a little too hard that I’m the best bout machine in New Japan, that there would be no company without me, and I want to be the guy to spearhead the whole worldwide movement that New Japan has taken upon, but if there was anyone that I’d be completely cool with stealing that title of the Best Bout Machine and running with it, being the guy that people say is the best in the world, I would love for it to be Ibushi.
I think he’s maybe the only other guy with the actual potential to do it, realistically, and in my opinion. I kind of want people to challenge it. I want someone else to be the clear and wide MVP of the company, and I think Ibushi can be that guy if he wants to be, and I don’t want to hold him back and force him to focus on tag team wrestling if he wants to go about things in a singles way. I mean, he was in the New Japan Cup, so clearly he does want to leave his mark as a singles performer, and again, he’s also the G1, so we’ll see how things work out, but I want the world for the guy. I really do, and I think he’s been out of the spotlight for far too long.