Source: The Steve Austin Show
Recently pro wrestling personality and current NJPW color commentator Don Callis appeared on The Steve Austin Show for a two-part interview with WWE Hall Of Famer Steve Austin. Among other things, the two talked about inaugural NJPW IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega and Callis explained what rival pro wrestling promotions will have to do to sign 'The Cleaner' away from NJPW. Also, Callis recommended the Ric Flair/Ricky Steamboat trilogy from 1989 as a resource for Omega in advance of the potential third match between Omega and NJPW IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada.
According to Callis, Omega is a true artist and any company wishing to sign him has to understand that Omega is more interested in the art of pro wrestling than making money.
"You have creative people in [pro] wrestling and you have to let them be creative. And the worst thing I think you can do to a creative person is make them feel like you're kind of looking over top of them." Callis continued, "I say he's Mozart and to use my favorite artist, that's Prince, I think it's like comparing another pop star to Prince. Prince didn't really give a s--t about number ones [hit records, presumably] - he wanted to make art. He wanted to make music. He wanted to change the music business. That's Kenny Omega and I think anyone negotiating with now or in the future needs to understand it's not just going to be about the money for a guy that. That's where that cat's head is at."
In Austin's estimation, Omega can work the mic and could be mega over in WWE with a green-light push.
"I think the charisma and what I've seen him do over there in Japan, if you were to unleash that right now at 33 years of age, I think, boom, or as soon as you can get him, the fact that he's such a draw over there in Japan, here I think he translates. I just see… he kind of reminds me visually, a little bit, of Brian Pillman, but I don't want to go down that road because he's Kenny Omega, and Brian, man, he was ahead of his time, the way he pushed the gimmick from a [kayfabe perspective], I mean, he worked the boys. He worked the whole damn system. He worked Vince [McMahon] at a trade show one time and [Jim] Ross had to smarten Vince up, that he was just working and that's how Brian got noticed. But back to Kenny Omega, I just think the guy's a lightning bolt, hell of a damn talent in the ring. When I say green-light, I don't want to beleaguer the point anymore, but when I say green-light, I mean take down all the walls and let the kid go do his thing." Austin added, "I think this guy, you turn him loose on a microphone, and I mean unstructured there, let him go do his thing, I just think the kid could be a huge hit in the United States if you turn him loose here in the WWE."
Moreover, Austin advised that Omega should not wait too long to sign with WWE.
"Working his style, you've got to take that all into consideration. It's dog years once you start working that style all the time, but I'm not going to put a window on it, but I'm just saying like, I'm not here to book Kenny Omega or his next decision, what he's going to do, but just with respect to hey, in the big picture, as a corporate entity if WWE is going to gets there and has the ability to work with him, it's like, 'hey man, we'd rather have the kid at 34 than 39' and he says, 'hey, man, I'm just going to stay in New Japan finish the mission I started out here. I like the creative freedom. Do you know what? I can go to WWE and just relax at 39 or 40 because I can smoke most of these guys.' And that's with due respect. You don't want to come there too late."
With the stage set for a third installment of Omega vs. Okada, Callis told Omega to check out the Flair/Steamboat trilogy because it tells a similar story as Omega/Okada.
"I said to Kenny, I go, 'okay, you did this thing. You're not going to top the Tokyo Dome match. You don't have to take those bumps anymore. Don't do it.' To me, a broadway was the way to go, not two-out-of-three falls, a true broadway." Callis continued, "yeah, absolutely, I think there's a missing chapter if you don't crown him. Absolutely, but to me, it's 'Kenny, go watch Flair/Steamboat, those three matches. That tells a story that's very similar. People might have said, 'they have no place to go,' but they had somewhere they could go."
Crack open a Steveweiser here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.
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