Source: Talk Is Jericho
On episode 317 of Talk Is Jericho, the current WWE United States Champion, Chris Jericho, spoke with New Japan Pro-Wrestling's Kenny Omega. Omega talked about his stint in WWE's developmental system, taking current WWE Champion AJ Styles' spot when Styles left NJPW, and whether he plans on returning to WWE.
"The experience just kind of reinforced more what I thought already was that I really need to make something of myself outside of here before coming here because, I mean, I was a nobody and I understood that I was a nobody and the guys are going to treat me like a nobody and they wouldn't trust me with anything, any of my different ideas. But I felt that I could be this guy that could make this company millions and millions of dollars, but I first had to prove that I could do that on my own, on my own accord."
According to Omega, he did not see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel in WWE's developmental system and he thought he would always be treated as "a green piece of trash".
"I decided to put in my notice and give it another shot in the indies and see if I could get to Japan and work my way from the bottom up there. It was [a tough decision to walk away] and I remember that morale there was really low at one point in time and Johnny Ace had said, 'I've heard that a lot of guys don't like it here and that if you want to quit and if that's the case, just come talk to me first and we'll have a chat,' so it's not that I was… my morale, the day-to-day stuff wasn't good because the morale was low. Like, it sucked to be around such negativity at one point in time, but I didn't mind the training. I loved the physicality of the training, contrary to what people might think. I loved doing a ton of pushups and squats and running. That stuff was all fine by me. It was that I felt there was no light at the end of the tunnel, like, I was just always going to be this kid that was treated as this green piece of trash. And, do you know what I mean? And there's no way to grow from that."
"Yeah, the company, it was in a scramble, in a state of disarray. We had two of our very top stars, Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ [Styles] just up and leave the company! And, no hard feelings. Everyone understood the opportunity that was before them. But the company didn't know what to do with themselves and they had no plan because in a matter of a day the transition period between the Tokyo Dome on the 4th and the 5th, the date to start next year's storylines, they didn't know what they were going to do, so they just said, 'okay, Kenny, AJ was the leader of The Bullet Club. You are in The Bullet Club. Well, figure it out!' Do you know what I mean? And there you go. So myself and The Young Bucks, I believe you've had them on the show, yeah, they love you! Right, so me and The Young Bucks, we got together and we said, 'this is a chance to really show what we're all about and change something.' And then, thus was me turning on AJ, and creating The Elite, and sort of putting a different spin on what The Bullet Club was at that point."
Although Omega had no qualms being second banana to Styles, 'The Cleaner' stated that he decided he wanted 'The Phenomenal One's spot when he found out Styles was leaving NJPW.
"There was a time when I was in New Japan, especially when AJ was there, and I was sort of delegated to be, 'you're the cruiser guy, AJ's our heavyweight guy. We know you can wrestle with the heavyweights, we all know that, but,' he says, 'guess what. AJ's here, so AJ's going to be that guy and you're going to be that guy.' So I said, 'okay, completely fine. I think AJ's one of the greatest of all time,' so I had no qualms about kind of being second banana to him even though I wanted to be first banana. Don't get me wrong, but I understood that at that point in time, 'okay, I just want to do the best I can in that position,' so my goal became 'I want to be the best cruiser champion this place has ever had in a long time' and suddenly when I showed up before at the Tokyo Dome and they said, 'guess what, AJ and Shinsuke are leaving', 'oh crap, this is a chance! Like, it's not my plan. Well, screw the plan. I want AJ's spot.' Do you know what I mean? So then, my plan changed to, 'okay, I can be The Bullet Club leader. I can be a heavyweight now. This is crazy!'"
When asked whether he plans on returning to WWE, Omega claimed that he only has day-to-day plans for now, instead of having big plans for how his professional wrestling career should unfold.
"I once had this whole plan laid out of, like, where I was going to go, how it was going to end up, and now, it [has] strangely changed to, like, this day-to-day plan." Omega continued, "they were like, 'okay, you're going to win the G1' and I didn't know that until the day before, like, the day before the finals, mind you. And I was like, 'well, okay. This is huge! Like, this has kind of blown up into something that I never thought was even possible.' I couldn't plan for this goal. You can't plan for the booker to put me in something cool. Do you know what I mean? So it's really just day-by-day, just sort of being prepared for anything at this point. And I just want to do things that the company hasn't done and I want to take the company outside of its comfort zone and do things that haven't been done before."
Interestingly, Omega admitted that he would not suggest to aspiring professional wrestlers to model their careers after his own because he has acted like an "a-hole" and took many risks. Omega went on to say that NJPW fans and staff alike are "a little worried" that the master of The One-Winged Angel will take his talents to Titan Tower.
"I would never suggest to anyone to model their career after mine because I have been a complete a-hole about it and I've always put myself on the line, put my whole entire career on the line, on a nightly basis. I should've been a fired a million times, but it was all for the greater good and I was lucky that when push came to shove, it worked out in my benefit." Omega added, "I think the fans are a little worried. The company is a little worried, but I do think that has helped in the trust factor, so when I come up with a wacky idea that might just sound crazy to them, like the ladder match, something they'd never do, they're at least open to hearing it out now because they're worried that if they say 'no,' 'okay, he's gone!' Do you know what I mean?"
Listen to the interview here. If you use any of the quotes that appear in this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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