AEW world champion Kenny Omega recently spoke with the New York Post to hype up tomorrow’s Revolution pay per view, where the Cleaner will be taking on Jon Moxley in an exploding barbed wire deathmatch with the world title on the line. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
Why he thinks this feud with Moxley was the right time to call on the exploding barbed wire deathmatch:
I feel like every week is always the right moment to bring something new to the table, and that’s kind of why I tried with the weeks leading up to this match, to the pay-per-view, that there has been a lot of surprises, things you didn’t expect to see on our programing, things you didn’t expect to see in professional wrestling and this is sort of just the cherry on the sundae. After seeing Don Callis, the Good Brothers (Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows) from Impact, Kenta, there’s no better way in my mind to blow everything out of the water by just blowing each other up. That’s how we’re ending this thing.
Why AEW hasn’t been shy of going to the hardcore match type:
I still very much look at pro wrestling as an art form. I still like to consider myself the utmost professional. People like to dumb down matches with a violent stipulation. They kind of like just defer to those as garbage wrestling or that maybe we lack a certain area of expertise or talent, which is why we’re going there. For me, it’s the complete opposite. I want to be considered as one of the best well-around athletes in professional wrestling and I want to test myself in all avenues this sport has to offer. For me to do that and do that effectively, I have to have some kind of experience in these types of situations. I want to test myself with the type of wrestler who specializes in this type of stuff. And sure, I don’t think Moxley has had an exploding barbed wire deathmatch, but it’s not something out of his wheelhouse to do something very hardcore. We have this very competitive nature, the both of us, but in very different ways and I think we have very different motivations in wrestling as well, but by having this stipulation added to this match I feel like the two of us are as motivated as ever in kind of different ways. But because we are both so motivated, I do believe the stars will align and something special will emerge from this.
On other match types he’d like to explore:
One of them was mixed-tag wrestling. I had a ton of those in Japan and they’ve always been a lot of fun. Like shoot-style wrestling. I have a background in jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts and people are probably so shocked to hear that because I like video games. Even though my style doesn’t use a lot of those (jiu-jitsu) skills that I had trained back in the day, I still have them. It’s fun to shows those off when I can in the right situations. I’ve done matches like that in Japan, but that was before my New Japan time when no one really knew who I was. It would be cool to go back and have an opportunity where I could show that. I mean, it’s all timing.
On reverting back to his Cleaner persona:
When I saw how the relationship was going to develop with Don Callis, it sort of reminded me of the days when I first started to use The Cleaner character in New Japan where I would find success in the ring, but I wasn’t against using foul tactics. I wasn’t against using my fellow comrades. We always traveled in a pack. People for whatever reason, they can relate to The Cleaner and they enjoy the character. I really do think this current incarnation is a lot different, but if it’s easier for people to tether it to something that I’ve done in the past I guess you can call it The Cleaner as it debuted in 2015-16 in New Japan.
On a possible showdown with Kota Ibushi:
I always felt like even when we parted ways and I kind of came over to America to attempt to try this thing out with AEW, and Ibushi really wanted to still accomplish what he has always dreamed of during in Japan, I sort of felt that things once again at some point would come full circle. I knew we were both winding down in the pursuit of our dreams in wrestling and we were breaking ourselves essentially. We were worried we wouldn’t get back around to that point because it would be too broken to do it. But he’s done what he’s always wanted to do and I’m doing something I never thought I’d be doing right now, but it’s put us both in a position where it’s perhaps possible. It’s well within the realm of possibility if the world was open to some degree to these type of things. It’s not even an issue of if the companies are open to it.
His takeaway from the women’s tournament:
We’ve had shorter segments on TV before where matches would be five, six, seven minutes. Now we are getting in the 15-minute range and it’s really difficult to go from these short, really quick bursts to having these longer matches. They were all ready for it and they’re ready to assume the responsibility to go in there with the kind of energy and the kind of hunger that you need to start a match fresh and continue that sort of drive and that energy throughout that entire segment and just kill it until the finish. I was so happy to hear a lot of the feedback that everyone was enjoying those matches as well as (me) and for some of our characters. And for some of our wrestlers, people would write them off, maybe “they’re too old” or “I don’t like their character” or “they have no charisma.” Now that we got to see them in a more competitive capacity the opinion has changed on almost everybody, which is great.