New Japan’s President Responded To Rumors That NJPW Is Trying To Keep Kenny Omega Out Of Japan

Visa difficulties aren’t a new issue for the professional wrestling industry, but they’ve been exceptionally noticeable this year, with incidents like New Japan Pro Wrestling not being able to book any wrestlers from Japan on an American tour this winter, Oriental Wrestling Entertainment being prevented from sending Chinese wrestlers to the U.S., and All Elite Wrestling‘s women’s division having visa-related difficulties as well. Last week, a rumor spread about a more sinister visa problem, that NJPW tried to ban former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega from entering the country, and the story became so widespread that it prompted the company’s president to respond.

The source of this rumor was the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Dave Meltzer reported that “When Kenny Omega went to Japan for the DDT show, he was stopped going into the country. It’s the third time this has happened since he left New Japan. Something happened where there was an attempt to get him banned from going to Japan for ten years.”

WON continued, “He did get in, like he has every time, and worked the show. But he was very bitter about New Japan and Nick Jackson made a cryptic tweet about New Japan. Suffice to say feelings are very bad right now with them, even though Jericho is going to the Tokyo Dome since he has a separate deal. Nothing has been said regarding Jon Moxley at the Tokyo Dome but there are still two months to go.”

Some wrestling fans not subscripted to WON read the above excerpt on Twitter, while many others learned about it from a reddit. A popular r/SquaredCircle post summarized this part of the newsletter as “Kenny Omega was stopped from going into Japan for the third time since leaving NJPW and there was an attempt to get him banned from the country for 10 years. He made it in, but there are bitter feelings from Omega and Nick Jackson. The Observer said Jericho has a separate deal, but nothing has been said about Moxley at the Dome.”

This prompted lots of speculation from fans, some of whom were quick to believe New Japan was up to something shady, while others believed this to be a case of AEW villainizing NJPW, pointing to Omega’s recent Undertale-themed entrance video on Dynamite as an example. Some who had traveled to or lived in Japan weighed in based on their experiences too.

Omega himself eventually responded, or was seen to have responded, on Twitter, posting, “One day I’m gonna have a lot of wild stories to tell about my 2019 that a lot of people won’t want to believe. But the truth is actually way worse than what’s been rumored and/or reported. Until then, one day until #AEWFullGear.”

Today, NJPW President Harold Meij responded to the reports and rumors in the latest installment of his blog on the New Japan website, claiming they have no basis in reality. The Super J-Cast posted a translation on Twitter:

By the way, there’s this unbelievable rumour going around that NJPW tried to prevent Kenny Omega from entering Japan, there’s no way a company (meaning New Japan) could do that, no reason to do that or would even want to do that.

I just thought I’d address it because I want to be clear about these things. It was a rumour spread by someone’s wild speculation. Kenny Omega made a huge contribution to New Japan and we wish him all the success in the world.

Of course, in addition to a lack of knowledge about the Japanese immigration system by, it’s safe to say, most wrestling fans outside of Japan, this is all complicated by the possibilities that any or all parties in this story could be working an angle and/or lying. For now, true or not, this is everything that’s come out about this situation.