I know the headline "WWE is interested in Kenny Omega" is the most obvious statement in the wrestling world. Oh really? The biggest pro wrestling company in the world would want to sign one of the biggest stars outside of the company?! you would sarcastically ask, but the story is making the rounds again this week.
It first began to gain traction last week, when Jay White kept losing his loser leaves New Japan matches and the Wrestling Observer hinted that while WWE would be interested in White, they have their eyes set on a larger free agent. The following week, after a ton of speculation from other outlets, the Observer's Dave Meltzer confirmed that the talent was Kenny Omega. Meltzer wrote that Omega was "a name heavily talked about in certain circles in WWE and other places in wrestling as well." While Omega's initial AEW contract was for four years and set to expire at the end of January 2023, due to his nine-month injury, Meltzer reported there was a clause that allowed AEW to extend his contract because of the time Omega was out. That would make his timeframe of availability in November. Interestingly, The Young Bucks' deal is believed to expire the following February.
Fightful Select confirmed the report that several in WWE believe "they have a chance to land Kenny Omega." Despite the AEW/WWE rivalry, we're told " and that "Omega had a positive relationship with WWE, and especially Triple H when discussing the potential of heading to the company in late 2018." Before AEW was fully formed, the Bucks, Cody and Omega were in serious negotiations with WWE about coming in.
Adding fuel to the fire, Pro Wrestling Torch's Wade Keller independently confirmed rumors that WWE is interested in Omega and that they are "aware of Omega’s open-mindedness to come to WWE." That’s what I’ve been told. That he’s " Keller noted that Omega was "open-minded to landing in WWE before his career is over. The attitude is not ‘I love AEW, I’m gonna stay here forever.’ That is not apparently the belief within WWE. They don’t believe that’s Kenny’s mindset at this point.”
Omega was the guest on Renee Pacquette's podcast, The Sessions, today and he was asked about the reported interest. He responded (transcribed by Fightful) “Sometimes, the first thing that pops into your mind is probably how you really feel. The first thing that came into my mind wasn’t a title, wasn’t some kind of accolade. I feel like whatever I can contribute to wrestling, I want to be able to help people in the next generation realize their potential as quick as possible or quicker than I was able to. If I can help give anyone advice or push them into a certain direction that can lead to something good for them, career-wise, down the road, that is where I like to see myself. I don’t feel like I have too many goals or aspirations of my own anymore.”
Omega continued “I feel like, am I wasting my time here? Do I not even deserve my position if I’m not looking for some sort of measure of success for myself, am I being ungrateful? Those thoughts still fill my head a little bit because I felt that when I was motivated to win the G1, when I was motivated to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship or win the Match of the Year award or win Wrestler of the Year award or a random thing like ‘wouldn’t it be nice if I could win PWI 500.’ It got to a point where I was kind of creating goals to achieve, just to have something. As the checklist started to fill up, and I’m so thankful and grateful that I was able to (achieve those things), it became so much less about me and became more about ‘well, I’ve got this resume now,’ and I know that I’m breaking down and I know there are people that have 10-15 years on me and they can much easier, and with much less of a struggle, get to where I am today and maybe I can save them some mental anguish or being away from their family a couple more years if I can help them. That’s the position I feel I’m in right now.”
Ultimately, I think it's too soon to tell where Omega ends up. He might find the challenge of working within WWE's parameters a fun final goal before retirement, but will WWE allow him back in Japan? He just made his return there in grand fashion and has plenty of unfinished business there. Also, how hard will AEW fight to keep Omega on the brand? It will be an interesting year for WWE contract negotiations for sure!
What's on TV this week?
WWE NXT is on Tuesday at 8pm on USA:
- Wes Lee defends the North American Championship in an open challenge
- Meiko Satomura vs. Zoey Stark
- Carmelo Hayes vs. Tyler Bate
- Gigi Dolin promo
- Briggs & Jensen vs. Indus Sher
- Sol Ruca vs. Elektra Lopez
MLW Underground is on tonight at 10pm on REELZ
- John Hennigan vs. Davey Richards for the National Openweight Championship
- The “World’s Greatest Wonder” Microman competes in trios action.
- Alex Kane challenges the British Bulldogs.
AEW Dynamite this Wednesday at 8pm on TBS has a huge lineup:
- Face of the Revolution ladder match for a future TNT title shot: Komander vs. Konosuke Takeshita vs. Ortiz vs. Action Andretti vs. Sammy Guevara vs. Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Eddie Kingston vs. AR Fox
- Casino tag team battle royale for a spot in the Tag Team title match at Revolution: Top Flight vs. Aussie Open vs. Matt Menard & Angelo Parker vs. Best Friends vs. Alex Reynolds & John Silver vs. Mike Bennett & Matt Taven vs. Preston Vance & Rush vs. Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta vs. The Lucha Bros vs. The Butcher & The Blade
- AEW All-Atlantic Championship: Orange Cassidy (c) vs. Big Bill
- FTW Championship: Hook (c) vs. Matt Hardy
- Chris Jericho vs. Peter Avalon
- Toni Storm vs. Riho
- MJF & Bran Danielson speak
Ring of Honor is back on Thursday at 7pm at HonorClub.com and has this lineup announced:
- ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli defends against AR Fox
- NJPW World TV Champion Zack Sabre Jr. defends against Blake Christian
- Konosuke Takeshita vs. Josh Woods
- Mark Briscoe vs. Slim J
- Willow Nightingale vs. Lady Frost
Impact Wrestling on Thursday at 8pm on AXS TV has announced:
- Trey Miguel vs. PCO for the X-Division title
- Shane Haste vs. Mike Bailey
Smackdown on Friday at 8pm on Fox announced:
- Roman Reigns returns
- Cody Rhodes will make an appearance.
- Liv Morgan vs. Rhea Ripley
- Natalya & Tegan Nox vs. Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler
AEW Revolution is this Sunday and has this lineup announced so far:
- 60-minute iron man match for the AEW World Championship: MJF (c) vs. Bryan Danielson
- AEW Women’s World Championship: Jamie Hayter (c) vs. Ruby Soho vs. Saraya
- TNT Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Wardlow
- AEW World Tag Team Championship: The Gunns (c) vs. The Acclaimed vs. Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal vs. TBD
- AEW World Trios Championship: The Elite (c) vs. The House of Black
- Chris Jericho vs. Ricky Starks — everyone banned from ringside
- Texas Death match: Jon Moxley vs. Hangman Page
I'll have a big preview of the PPV in my next column.
What else is happening in the wrestling world?
RAW was pretty uneventful this week, but there were new women's tag team champions crowned, and as a long-time fan it was very cool to see Lita and Trish Stratus get this moment:
But what does this mean for WrestleMania? It seems like Ronda Rousey and Shayna Bazler are destined to win the titles at WrestleMania and Becky, Lita and Trish have a ready-made match with Damage CTRL. My prediction is that Damage CTRL somehow costs Lita and Becky the titles before WrestleMania and we get two separate matches out of it. We'll see how this plays out over the next few weeks.
Elsewhere on the show, there was this weird Bray Wyatt promo setting up his match with Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania, Kevin Owens continued to mess with the Bloodline, and Brock Lesnar vs. Omos was made official for WrestleMania. The Miz will be the official host of WrestleMania.
Logan Paul will be on RAW next week to "confront" Seth Rollins and announce their match.
Knotfest was out and about in LA at the Circle 6 Wrestling show last week. Here is our write-up.
Matt Riddle's WWE suspension is up and he's ready to be back on TV. WWE is likely keeping him off until after WrestleMania, since all their plans for the show are locked in, according to Dave Meltzer.
In other news, AEW's Revolution PPV this Sunday will be available to watch at movie theaters and bars like Dave & Busters across the country. If interested, you can get more info here.
Omega was asked about the infamous "Brawl Out" fight on the Sessions and he commented "It's a shame the general public aren't ever going to know what went down and how it could have been prevented, how it could have ended differently. That's how things go in a big business operation. I don't think anyone is happy or proud that it happened or anything like that. I think across the board everyone thinks it was a terrible situation that was unnecessary." Asked if the atmosphere has cleared up Omega responded "Yeah, I really do. There was a time where, and I can understand the confusion, it's sort of like 'Hey, we know this thing happened, we heard this thing happened, it's all over the dirt sheets, why don't we know what happened?' And we're gone and we're kind of sworn to secrecy. We can't say anything legally. So that was the poopy part where it was like 'Well why doesn't anyone tell us what's happening?' and then you're forced to form your own opinions. What's important was no one was seriously injured emerging from that and I'm so thankful for that. We've moved on with life, I'm completely fine. It doesn't dictate what I do, what I say, I'm sure The Bucks are in the same boat. I can't speak to the other parties, hopefully they are doing well and I mean that."
Chris Jericho told the Daily Star he has zero interest in going back to WWE "I don’t see why it wouldn’t be. I don’t hold a torch for WWE. To me, that’s not ‘the place to be’. AEW is the place to be. It really is. I’ve been in WWE. I know how it works. They work that way, I don’t care if Vince is there, Hunter is there, or whoever is there. They have a way of doing things, and I was there for 20 years and was pretty good at it. I like the way we do things at AEW better… so I don’t know why I wouldn’t want to finish my career in AEW. I never thought that I wouldn’t finish my career with WWE, but things happened, and I was just like ‘I want to go to Japan and do this match
Vickie Guerrero's contract with AEW expires in July and both sides have agreed not to renew. I could see Vickie getting a legends contract from WWE.
Do you enjoy pro wrestling? Knotfest Wrestling has a bi-weekly column filled with wrestling news. Read previous editions of this column here. You can always follow me @robinjection on Instagram and Twitter and @Squaredcirclpit.