AEW Tag Team Champion Kenny Omega spoke with The Natural Aristocrat about if he feels the pressure of always putting on extraordinary matches after receiving critical acclaim for his matches against Kazuchika Okada in NJPW. Omega also touched on not being able to appear at last year’s ROH/NJPW G1 Supershow in Madison Square Garden.
Omega was asked if he felt any extra pressure on performing in the ring after receiving six stars (typically the most stars was five stars) from Dave Meltzer, thus raising expectations from some fans.
“Yeah, I mean it’s a double edged sword really because when you set that standard, that precedent that you can have a six star match,” Omega began. “For some people there’s an expectation that, ‘Oh, if I see Kenny Omega, this is what I expect and hope to see!’ And there’s a lot of variables that go into making a 6-star match. Now, I’ve had I think four or five matches that have went over 6-stars. I’ve had more than that go over 5 stars, but I never feel the pressure to have to deliver what one critic deems over a 5-star match.
“What I’m trying to do is just diversify my resume, I never want to have to give what in one person’s mind is a 6-star match. That 6-star match to him isn’t necessarily what I think is a 6-star match. It isn’t necessarily what my neighbor that was beside me thinks is a 6-star match. It’s not what little Jimmy who lives across the world and generally likes watching Sailor Moon, maybe he doesn’t consider that a 6-star match. I’m trying to always have performances that can appeal to all sorts of different people, from all walks of life.
“I think as long as there is somebody in the world, that looks at one of my performances and considers it time not wasted. Or one of the best things that they’ve seen, I feel like my job is complete. So, yes there’s pressure to always give a performance that I think merits somebody’s interest and high praise. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that one person’s praise.”
In April of 2019, ROH and NJPW teamed up to put on a G1 Supershow at Madison Square Garden, an event Omega was originally thought to be at. Omega revealed it was a preference by AEW that nobody from the company be represented at that show, so he wasn’t able to perform.
“Oh, we all thought I was going to be there!” Omega responded. “Even though I’d already been involved with the AEW project at that point and everyone knew my intentions of going there ? It was always my hope that I could still be a part of that show. But you know, things happen. It was just a preference that there was no one from AEW to represent on that card.
“I was always ready, willing, and able. I still feel that it’s a shame that it couldn’t have happened because there was nothing on my end that had caused that to happen. I understand there’s not just a service to the fans, but there’s a very unknown business side to everything we do. I’d call about to happen. Whether it be in wrestling or fear of working any kind of job. There’s a hierarchy and there’s stuff that happens behind closed doors that no one ever hears about or talks about. And those decisions were made without my involvement, and it was decided I wouldn’t be on the show.
“Again, I still apologize to fans because of that and it is a shame because I would have loved to show people something special from New Japan in one of the world’s most famous arenas.”
Omega and Hangman Page are scheduled to defend their title on next week’s AEW Dynamite: Fyter Fest against Private Party.