NJPW star Kenny Omega recently appeared on LAW: Live Audio Wrestling. Here are some highlights….
On the use of big moves in his matches:
“I think a lot of people, unfortunately in this day and age, rely too much on the flash of the move itself. So many moves now look prettier than they ever did when they were first performed. The Shooting Star [Presses] of today look so much prettier than the Shooting Stars of the 90’s, but the Shooting Stars from the 90’s arguably meant more because it was always a finish. Now, I can name 25 guys that are doing Shooting Star Presses and a lot of times it doesn’t mean anything. I think that’s sort of the plight of today’s pro wrestling: Our every day athlete has actually gotten better; however, because it’s so easy to rely on your physical ability, the intellect has been sort of ignored […] As a professional wrestler in the position I am in, I would rather have people remember my matches for an emotion or for a certain thought it evoked when they saw it. I don’t want people to look back at my matches and say, ‘When you did that move it was good and I liked it because it was cool,’ I want people to sort of remember a rush of images and the emotion that they felt when they saw it. That’s when I think you have a real masterpiece in your hands.”
On Katsuyori Shibata’s possible career ending injury following a skull-on-skull head butt:
“Everything we do in general, there’s gonna be a percentage of risk. Me, making my entrance to the ring, there’s actually a percentage of risk I’m going to trip and fall and hurt myself. Me, getting up on the apron, there’s a percentage of risk. It’s [asking ourselves], ‘How do we keep that percentage as low as possible at all times?’ […] Shibata had been battling injury and toughing out tours, probably for a long time. […] When you’re just generally tired and you’re already battling a myriad of injuries, that percentage is naturally going to creep up. […] It’s not something I would ever do. I do feel that Shibata probably felt comfortable in doing it and that he probably felt that, ‘It’s a big match, so I need to express myself in this manner.’ I get that. But, we sometimes as performers don’t even know our limits.”
On his interpretation of “Strong Style”:
“There’s actually a very safe way to do ‘Strong Style’ and it doesn’t necessarily have to be how I see people mimicking it. I see a lot of folks on the indies that don’t quite know the secret to what ‘Strong Style’ really is, and they’re killing each other with elbows, they’re killing each other with head butts, they’re killing each other with kicks as hard as they can, and that actually isn’t the true art form of what ‘Strong Style’ is. What true ‘Strong Style’ really is, is the battle of the heart of man. It’s not about how strong and how forceful you’re throwing your blows. It’s showing the never-say-die attitude of the human spirit. As long as it looks like you’re fighting and giving your all, people will believe.”
On his upcoming rematch with Kazuchika Okada at NJPW Dominion and dealing with inevitable comparisons to their first bout:
“Much like I do with all of my matches, I’m not really one to ‘rinse, wash and repeat’ things. I think that rather than trying to force fans into drawing a direct comparison to [ask themselves] which match is better, I would rather give them two completely different stories that they can appreciate on their own. So whether they like the first one better or not, I want the stories to be so different from each other that you can watch them apart and have something that you like [about both of them]. That’s my goal.”
On his future goals outside of New Japan:
“Right now, I’m 100% content with where I am because I would love to be the driving force behind New Japan in the global market. However, generally, I’m just guided by how I feel, where my heart’s at and where I’m needed, if that makes sense. I’m not gonna lie, there are things that I haven’t been able to do that I would love to do at some point in time. One of those things is, I really feel I need to have a high stakes main event with AJ [Styles]. I really feel I have to. I’m not sure where it will be, I’m just saying that it’s always in the back of my mind.”
Click here to listen to the interview.