Kenny Omega Returns to AEW in Stunning Manner

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Kenny Omega returned to AEW this past Saturday at Full Gear.

Serenaded by a packed house singing along to Kansas’ “Carry On Wayward Son,” Omega and the Young Bucks burst back onto the scene in distinct fashion. That entrance was followed by a spectacular trios match against the wildly talented triumvirate of Pac, Fénix, and Penta. Just over 18 minutes later, it ended when Fénix finally accepted Pac’s desperate plea to win by any means necessary, escaping the One-Winged Angel and pinning Omega after hitting him in the head with a hammer.

The match represented a homecoming for Omega and the Bucks, and AEW felt complete again with three of the company’s founding fathers.

“We knew we had to make it special for the fans,” says Omega. “It felt like we left people in limbo, so we had to come back emphatically. Our goal is to make wrestling feel like a rock concert. We wanted people to focus entirely on the match, and whether you were rooting for or against us, we wanted people to enjoy it. As soon as the music hit, we wanted it to be a spectacle. We wanted people to know they were in for a ride. Hopefully everyone enjoyed the performance.”

In a story lacking any kind of concrete, confirmed details, Omega and the Bucks’ Nick and Matt Jackson were suspended with a host of others, most notably CM Punk, for a post-show altercation following the All Out pay-per-view on September 4.

There is rampant speculation surrounding the details of what allegedly occurred, but none of the people involved have commented publicly. Omega was asked for his insight on what transpired.

“There are things no one can talk about, so I’d encourage people to let it go,” says Omega. “It doesn’t change that we want a team effort in AEW. I don’t even mean implicitly myself and my opponent. It also means the referee, the fans, the people who set up the ring, everyone–even a technical error can ruin the memory of a match. I can refer back to the exploding barbed wire death match. So I encourage people to move away from it because there is no information to be released. Though I cannot talk about it, I do want the fans to know I still want the best for pro wrestling.”

Omega returned Saturday at ‘Full Gear’ following a two-month hiatus. 

Omega is one of the most passionate, devoted performers in the entire industry. Yet, for all the pride he takes in pro wrestling, he shared that events from this past Sunday served as a heartbreaking reminder that his goal in wrestling is to unite, not divide.

“The day after the pay-per-view, I was absolutely devastated by the loss of Jason David Frank,” says Omega, speaking of the actor who died over the weekend. “He’s one of my childhood heroes. That evening, there was a mass shooting at an LGBTQ club where five people died. It’s absolutely terrible. After such tragedy, it puts everything in perspective.

“This isn’t Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks against CM Punk. It is people trying to show off their craft. You can boo Kenny Omega, or the Young Bucks, or CM Punk, but I hope people don’t forget we’re human beings struggling to show our art.”

Prior to Saturday, it had been more than two months since Omega had wrestled in an AEW ring. He had only worked three matches following his return from injury that extended back to last November. Omega looked healthier than ever at Full Gear, despite the fact that he nearly put himself back on the injured list during that stretch.

“I’m finding that I really have to push hard past my limits to create change,” says Omega. “Sometimes that means I push myself too hard. I was able to get myself into better shape in the time away because I had a goal and a vision. But it almost came to a screeching halt when I strained a tendon in my knee because I was pushing too hard.

“The time away wasn’t time to rest. That was time for me to put in the work. It was time to train two or three times a day, increasing the intensity of those sessions. I wanted to come away from the time away with something positive.”

Kenny Omega

Omega and the Bucks outclassed Death Triangle’s Pac, Fénix, and Penta Saturday at ‘Full Gear.’ 

The strenuous preparation paid dividends. Omega and the Bucks put together the match of the night at Full Gear against Death Triangle’s Pac, Fénix, and Penta. The bout also enhanced Death Triangle’s current storyline, as they retained the trios championship. And those who want more trios are in luck–the pay-per-view served as the beginning of a best-of-seven series between the two teams, with the next match taking place tonight on Dynamite.

“We are six individuals with a unique vision on professional wrestling,” says Omega. “Our minds are never closed to one idea or another, so the possibility exists for every match to look unique. The Lucha Brothers are known for lucha libre, but Penta and Fénix aren’t limited to one style. Pac is the same–he came through the UK indies, then moved onto Dragongate in Japan, which is a totally different style, and it includes lucha libre. He wrestled in WWE, which is sports entertainment, and now AEW, which is a hybrid alternative sports entertainment brand. Death Triangle has such a wide range, and this is a platform, in a potential seven matches, that’s a lot of matches to show your craft to a lot of people. If people don’t know Death Triangle, they’re going to by the end of this series.

“We take a lot of pride in showing what trios wrestling can be. It could be a daunting task to have these incredibly challenging matches every week, but it’s really a chance for us to show that trios wrestling has a place. That’s our goal–to show what wrestling can be.”

In addition to the return at Full Gear, Omega’s weekend also included a surprise video package that aired at the NJPW/Stardom Historic X-over show. Speaking in Japanese, Omega challenged Will Ospreay for a bout on Jan. 4 at Wrestle Kingdom 17.

“I’m returning to New Japan as an ambassador of AEW,” says Omega. “I’m returning to New Japan as an ambassador of pro wrestling. I’m also returning home. I left to start this new, exciting opportunity, but it’s still home. Now the things Will can do are things I cannot. He’s an athletic phenom. But as finely tuned as he is physically, he still hasn’t doesn’t have the knowledge or experience. I pushed my own physical boundaries in All Japan and DDT, but that’s not what I’m known for. My mind is my greatest asset, not my athleticism. That’s what’s allowed [Hiroshi] Tanahashi to have such a long and flavorful career.

“I needed someone to take my place in New Japan, I wanted someone to take my place–and it was Will, Jay [White], and [Kota] Ibushi. Will is the only one to have a problem with that.”

Kenny Omega

Omega will challenge Will Ospreay for a bout at Wrestle Kingdom 17 to kick off 2023.

The match will mark Omega’s first trip to the Tokyo Dome since 2019. His promo challenging Ospreay was executed perfectly. It was also rich in symbolism, with Omega speaking primarily in Japanese, while Ospreay responded in English.

“I had to speak in Japanese to remind him that he doesn’t have home court advantage. This is still my home.”

Another project for Omega, who remains one of AEW’s EVPs, is the company’s inaugural video game, Fight Forever, which is ready to launch. The new trailer came out for the game, and it provided plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

“It’s a lot of fun,” says Omega. “For people looking for an accurate representation of AEW and our characters, wrestling style, and feel, this is going to be the game for them. If you played the old SmackDown! vs. Raw game, it has that zaniness, some of the same control schemes as No Mercy, and times have changed since 2000–so there are sequences and moves that have never been part of a wrestling game before.”

Following more than two months of waiting, Omega is back. His matches are, once again, must-see viewing, and his passion behind the scenes has also returned to AEW. His immediate future in the company centers around his work with the Bucks, and he is also eager to enjoy the ride with an extremely devoted fan base.

“There is a bond, a connection with fans that is unbreakable,” says Omega. “We all felt that on Saturday. And we still have a lot of goals to show the possibilities of wrestling. We’re excited to do that with our fans.”

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This post was originally published on Sports Illustrated

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