This time last year, the impending departure of Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and the rest of the Elite from New Japan Pro Wrestling was one of the stories going into Wrestle Kingdom. Omega, the Bucks, and Cody all ended up losing New Japan titles at the Tokyo Dome on their way out of the company to start All Elite Wrestling. On the latest episode of Matt and Nick Jackson’s ‘Wrestlers On The Road Ordering Room Service’ interview web series, Omega and the Bucks spoke about issues they had while leaving New Japan.
Towards the end of the episode, Nick Jackson recalled watching Omega’s Wrestle Kingdom 13 main event with Hiroshi Tanahashi and thinking, “This is a great match, but I feel nothing.” Matt said this was because they “felt betrayed because we found out we were getting kicked off New Year’s Dash.” The post-Wrestle Kingdom show had included send-offs for departing wrestlers in the past.
Omega added that he took issue with how he felt New Japan changed the story of his feud with Tanahashi once they found out he was leaving the company. “At first, it was supposed to be a fifty-fifty story between myself and Tanahashi. People were supposed to be torn. You know, is it this new age of thinking or is it supposed to be the golden age of thinking, the savior or strong style? And once they knew that I was going, they did a complete media blitz to make it look like I was just a terrible person.”
Omega said that once he realized what New Japan was doing with his character, he created the Kenny’s Quest video with Toby Fox, the creator of Undertale, and, “I funded the whole thing because I knew it wasn’t going to clear.” New Japan said they wouldn’t show the video, which presented Tanahashi from a much more villainous perspective than their NJPW programming did going into Wrestle Kingdom 13. After it was rejected, Omega had Nick Jackson put the video up on the Being The Elite YouTube channel. A shorter version of the video ended up playing during Omega’s WK entrance and a sequel video played months later on an episode of AEW Dynamite.
The AAA Mega Champion later added, “When I think about the business of it, I don’t have any gripes with it. It was a bad business decision. You made a bad call. I do take it personally though. I take it personally because a lot of the fans just crushed that suddenly… I think it was very irresponsible to do that and then try to cover for it by making a new version of me when they just should have let everyone be themselves and I think now they’re sort of getting into that groove.” On other platforms, Omega has said that New Japan higher-ups have since tried to prevent him from getting visas to Japan.
Matt Jackson compared leaving New Japan and Ring of Honor to “bad breakups,” and Nick Jackson remarked that though they were leaving ROH, “It felt like we were getting basically kicked out” and, “Even after all this had happened, we had meetings with both ROH and New Japan to say hey, we’re open to working with you guys and nothing happened.”