Will NJPW Pull the Trigger with Kenny Omega?By Chad Johnson (@obechadington) | March 16, 2017 7:11 AM PST | Articles, NJPW
It’s safe to say that 2016 was another successful year for New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) with Kenny Omega driving the bus so to speak. He enjoyed a magnificent 2016, starting the year as IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion though he lost it to KUSHIDA at that year’s Wrestle Kingdom in what was a pretty good bout. Omega became the leader of the Bullet Club faction the night after Wrestle Kingdom when the faction turned on AJ Styles (who then left for the WWE of course). He won the IWGP Intercontinental title beating the legend Hiroshi Tanahashi in a fantastic bout. To finish the year, he won the prestigious G1 Climax tournament after defeating Hirooki Goto in a grueling match. His run in the tournament included a 5 star rated match with Tetsuya Naito.
As all wrestling fans should know by now Omega and Kazuchika Okada wrestled a near 47 minute 6 star rated match which, whether you agree with that rating or not, doesn’t take away from the fact the match was instantly one of the best in the last decade or two. I watched the match live and it had me hooked. It was a 47 minute match that felt like 20 minutes and it deserved the 6 star rating in my opinion though I’d have agreed with a 5 star rating too.
Why won’t NJPW do it?
Now, with such a great 2016 and a unbelievable start to 2017, surely New Japan will push Kenny Omega to the moon and back? It’s not so simple for New Japan. Disclaimer: New Japan have shows coming in Los Angeles and I expect him to be heavily promoted for that show and made to look strong for the American market. But when it comes to shows in Japan I believe that they are unsure if it is wise to make a Gaijin (foreigner) their world champion and essentially top guy.
Is this a bad decision on their part, or is it logical? I personally feel that it would be a mistake not to. Kenny Omega has showed us that he has every tool needed to succeed. His ability to sell a match in the ring and out of the ring is second to only a few. I would go as far as to say that Omega is one of, if not the best, all round workers in the world of wrestling but that is a matter of opinion so it’s hard to argue with that.
But why should we doubt that New Japan will “pull the trigger” with him? Well, since that Wrestle Kingdom match with Okada, he has been doing little of that scale. He recently was eliminated in the New Japan Cup which was a shock to me. He bowed out in a great match with Tomohiro Ishii, who of course is a great wrestler in his own right and one of my personal favorites. Is this a bad sign for Omega fans worldwide? No, probably not, but there is cause for concern and don’t be surprised if that day where he wins the Heavyweight Champion never comes.
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