AEW moved all its shows to Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Kenny Omega, wrestling in open air and battling the heat and humidity of Florida has been a trying experience. During his appearance on The Wrestling Observer Radio, Omega detailed why it’s been “the most difficult challenge” he’s ever undertaken in his career.
“No one watches our show and realizes, ‘ok, these guys are [wrestling] in over 100 degrees weather, its damp and moist, the ring cameras are slippery, and the ring is bouncy,” said Omega. “Its the most destructive environment I’ve ever been a part of in professional wrestling.”
Omega said he was otherwise used to rings in Japan where it feels like “running on quick sand” and the performers are able to push their limits a lot more. That’s the reason he has been wrestling 15-20 minutes matches instead of 30-40.
“These performances are killing me,” he laughed. “It’s dangerous out there. I can’t stress that enough. People know what we’re capable of. They’ve seen us have great performances in air conditioned arenas, in front of 10,000 fans, and now, we’re thrust into this outdoor location.”
He continued, “But all of us are pushing ourselves and wrestling as if we’re in normal conditions. And now, as of this week, it’s the reverse because we’re walking out there and now its super cold. If you’re not prepared for it, you get these goosebumps due to the chilly wind. Its very strange and a brand new experience that I’m not used to, and I’m not sure anyone is. Its a challenge.”
During the interview, Omega also spoke about juggling various roles within the company.
“I’m having to agent matches, I’m working almost everyday with the game production crew, there’s stuff I’m doing outside of wrestling with Anime and videogames,” he said. “So, to do all that and still be one of the main characters on our weekly TV series, and still be expected to have these performances under these conditions has been the most challenging experience I’ve ever undertaken.”
Omega will challenge Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship on the AEW Dynamite: Winter is Coming episode on December 2.
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Wrestling Observer Radio with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.