Kenny Omega Teams With Major NJPW Star For First Time Ever

Kenny Omega successfully returned to New Japan Pro-Wrestling on the first night of Wrestle Kingdom 17 by defeating Will Ospreay to become the new IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion. "The Cleaner" hadn't performed for NJPW since Wrestle Kingdom 13 in January 2019, where he lost the IWGP Heavyweight Championship to Hiroshi Tanahashi. Following his defeat to Tanahashi, Omega signed with Tony Khan's All Elite Wrestling

The day after capturing the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship inside the Tokyo Dome, the 39-year-old returned to action at NJPW's New Year Dash event at the Ota City General Gymnasium. Notably, the former AEW World Champion teamed up with a significant NJPW star for the first time in history. Omega tagged with the new IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada and defeated Aaron Henare and Jeff Cobb of United Empire. Omega and Okada had only previously crossed paths as rivals, with their last one-on-one encounter coming at 2018's NJPW Dominion 6.9 event in a two-out-of-three falls no time limit match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship; Omega defeated Okada 2-1 that night to capture the gold. 

This year's action-packed New Year Dash event also saw Shingo Takagi become the inaugural Provisional KOPW 2023 Champion after defeating Sho, Great-O-Khan, and Toru Yano in a four-way match. Elsewhere, Jay White blamed Hikuleo for his loss to Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 17 and challenged him to a Loser Leaves Japan match following a vicious attack, Minoru Suzuki surprisingly came to Ren Narita's aid during a post-match beat down by House of Torture (EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, and Dick Togo), and Zack Sabre Jr. introduced Young Lion Kosei Fujita to The Mighty Don't Kneel stable.