Kenny Omega Reveals Who He Feels Are The Next Big Stars For NJPW

Recently, newly minted IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega spoke with WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Ross on The Jim Ross Report for a two-part interview. Among other things, Omega shared his thoughts on former ROH World Champion Cody, the qualities he enjoys in opponents, and up-and-coming NJPW stars.

According to Omega, he likes working with Cody and other performers who have good facials and sell well.  

"One thing that I always look forward to when working with Cody is thatů and this isn't a knock on anyone that I've worked with, but it's very rare that I get to work with someone who has such good facials and selling ability." Omega explained, "so I love being able to work with people like that. It allows for moments, and moves to feel more real, and for people to kind of take in the in-between stuff a lot more."

When asked who will be "the next big thing" for NJPW, 'The Cleaner' immediately named the newly crowned IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson.

"I mean, we have a couple of guys that I think are working really hard and that could get over with the crowd." Omega pondered, "right off the bat, I can say that people are really starting to believe in Juice and I think that he's going to start to connect to people in a brand new way and people are going to start to care more about what he does in the ring. And I remember when Juice kind of first came to his sort of single's run, and because he was kind of just doing a bunch of multi-mans and stuff like that beforehand. And he was sort of recognized as a graduate of our Young Lions kind of program even though he was fully trained when he came to New Japan. This is sort of a gimmick kind of thing. But he was doing the punches. You know he [has] got those great punches and he eventually wanted the crowd to chant, 'Juice' with it as he did every jab. And I worked with him in a singles match in one of the country towns and none of them knew to chant the 'Juice' and he was really disappointed about that, but now he'll go anywhere and everybody is all about his punches and they're all about his character. He's really starting to get that effect and have that gathering and people are really starting to cheer for him as an underdog."

Additionally, Omega put over Ishii, Toa Henare, and Jeff Cobb.

"And for example, Ishii has always been one of our great underdogs where people believe he can beat anybody and that makes all of his matches, regardless of who he's working against really exciting. And he kind of represents that New Japan strong style that they've been promoting even though it's kind of like a new age strong style. But it's a very Japanese sort of style. So I mean, yeah, with the expansion into other countries, Ishii's going to be a name to watch like Juice is going to be a name to watch.

"We have a new young talent if we're going to kind of go further into the future. His name is Henare, Aaron Henare. He's kind of doing a Tongan gimmick right now and he just brings so much energy, so much fire. He's not afraid to use his voice. He's not afraid to put himself out there. He just has limitless potential. I'm really looking forward to his growth. And actually, we have a lot of Young Lions. It's really hard to say who is going to emerge as kind of the ace of the Young Lions. But all of our new batch, they have a very great, storied athletic background with a lot of amateur wrestling champions, just baseball champions, all different kinds of sports backgrounds. These are real athletes and these guys want it. And like [Ross] said, we have our older talent that have a ton of experience under their belt." Omega added, "I think [Cobb] will be leaving an impact very, very soon. Oh yes [he is talented]."

Get your dose of 'Slobberknocker Audio' here. If you use any of the quotations that appear in this article, please credit The Jim Ross Report with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

Source: The Jim Ross Report


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