When Kenny Omega was a free agent in early 2019, the professional wrestling world eagerly anticipated his next move. Even John Cena trolled fans on Instagram with a picture of Omega along with several cryptic messages.
Omega reportedly turned down a lucrative offer from WWE before joining the upstart, AEW, as an EVP and full-time wrestler. After conquering the Japanese circuit and earning a cult-like following in Mexico, Omega was finally about to become a weekly fixture on American national television.
It’s been close to a year since AEW Dynamite debuted on TNT and former WCW Superstars Disco Inferno and Konnan believe that Omega’s stock has dropped significantly.
“While Omega got majorly over in Mexico and Japan, he has failed on American television because his promos aren’t on the level of other top guys. Also, he has not been pushed as a star, but just another guy who can work. There are 18 other guys who know how to work, Omega doesn’t stand out in any way,” Konnan said on his podcast Keepin It 100 with Konnan.
Inferno mentioned that unlike in Japan, where the focus is squarely on the quality of matches, wrestling on American TV is very different and requires a wrestler to build their character on a weekly basis.
“If you are an independent wrestler, or wrestling in Japan, it is night and day to transition to weekly American TV. As opposed to just having matches, you have to deliver on promos, sell facial expressions, and build up a lot of skills on a weekly basis,” added Disco Inferno, the former WCW TV Champion.
Disco Inferno went on to contrast Omega to Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley, who both landed in AEW after achieving significant success in the WWE.
“Omega doesn’t cut a good promo,” Disco Inferno stated. “This is why it has become difficult for him to elevate himself to the level of Jericho and Moxley because his mic skills are not close to those guys. Also, he doesn’t understand the psychology of what you have to do in the ring and mic on American TV.”
Konnan, who worked closely with Omega in Mexico’s AAA, felt that AEW had failed to “build an aura around Omega” and have not distinguished him from the rest of the roster.
“The fans in Mexico loved Kenny because we built an aura around him and they went nuts every time he stepped through the curtains. That has not happened in AEW,” said Konnan.
Echoing Konnan’s views, Disco Inferno was critical of the way AEW has booked Omega, especially while pitting The Cleaner against “jobbers” in the undercard.
“Your character is not doing well when you can’t even get over in squash matches. It is not about making the other guy look good but actually getting over as a superstar. AEW hasn’t done that with Omega.”
After feuding with the likes of Jericho, Moxley, and PAC in the early days of AEW, Omega, one half of the AEW Tag Team Champions, has been predominantly used in the tag team division. Omega’s last singles match on AEW Dynamite came against Alan Angels on April 22.
In recent weeks, Omega has been teasing a heel turn on AEW Dynamite.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Keepin It 100 with Konnan with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.