Kenny Omega recalls match that led to his vertigo, reflects on wrestling Bryan Danielson, praises Jay White

Originally published at Kenny Omega recalls match that led to his vertigo, reflects on wrestling Bryan Danielson, praises Jay White

Omega chats match with Okada in New Japan, Danielson and working injured.

Former AEW World Champion Kenny Omega is currently out of action as he is rehabbing and nursing injuries along with lining up dates and time periods that he can undergo surgery.

Omega was last in action at the Full Gear 2021 event where his reign as AEW World Champion was ended by Hangman Adam Page. Omega guest appeared on Wrestling Observer Radio and spoke extensively about his career and his work related to AEW. He touched on his run with IMPACT Wrestling during which he was the AEW and IMPACT World Champion at the same time.

He expressed how much pain he was in and mentioned that his hernia injury grew worse. He stated that it got to a point where he could feel the sensation while making routine movements.

I mean the difficult part is I don’t — I’m kind of a very private person and I don’t want… I’ll always of course tell my friends, tell everyone in AEW, the people that I work with, these are sort of my current limitations or this what’s hurting on me but I still do know what I can do and what needs to be done and I guess the tough part was just trying to — I don’t want this to come off the wrong way but I guess I wanted to fool the fans. I didn’t want them ever to think, ‘Kenny’s doing a decent job for someone that’s hurt.’ I didn’t even want that to cross their minds. I just wanted them to — I wanted to build myself up as a champion that they wanted to see defeated and there were times when that was more difficult than others. I remember there was times — funny story actually, when I was at IMPACT and when my hernia got real, real bad, we had to do like video-on-tape or did a lot of tapings. It was a no-fan arena setting in Nashville and I would always be doing something, whether it was showing up at the arena or you know, walking out to the ring to cut a little bit of a promo or interject during a match. I wouldn’t necessarily have a match all the time but it got to a point where I would go, I would do some six-man tag. I said like, ‘Hey, I can get myself there and I can do what we need to do but I really need to pace myself. I kind of need to really select those moments when I push it because if I do it all the time, I’ll never be able to get to a point where I can even do that’ and IMPACT was super professional, loved working with them and of course, Tony is super understanding about everyone’s health and all that sort of stuff, incredible boss and cares about us legitimately and yeah, we were able to come up with a schedule and a way for me to be active all the time but for me not to look like I did that one week on IMPACT.

This past November, Omega shared that he had been dealing with vertigo for a great deal of time. He remembers when the bout with vertigo started and it first came about in 2017 during a G1 Block final against Kazuchika Okada.

Okada delivered a dropkick to Omega, but Omega fell within Okada’s landing zone and Okada’s knee came down on Kenny’s head.

This will sound silly, but I’m just trying to speak as honestly and as candidly as possible. But when it Naito and I had taken the Okada dropkick and it was just a fluke thing. Okada kind of does like, you know, a nice, high, pretty dropkick as everyone knows and he had landed on the side of my head with his knee off the dropkick. So it’s almost like he did the dropkick and kind of like, sort of moonsault out of it and I bumped, you know, I guess under him and then the knee came down and I kind of knew when that happened, I was like, ‘Woah! I got caught with something.’ I wasn’t sure what and I finished the match and it was totally fine and I loved the match, it was one of my favorite matches.

Bryan Danielson is five months into his run with AEW. He debuted at the All Out pay-per-view and brawled with The Elite alongside Jungle Boy, Christian Cage and Luchasaurus. Danielson’s first match in AEW was against Kenny Omega at Arthur Ashe Stadium which is AEW’s most attended show to date.

Omega looks back fondly on that match and thinks it’s cool that Bryan trusted him and for Tony Khan to trust him and Bryan with that platform. Omega thought that he and Bryan would’ve wrestled one-on-one again soon after their 2009 PWG match.

The Arthur Ashe show was an incredible memory for me as well. It was — I had — I don’t wanna call it ‘writing the wrong.’ It wasn’t that at all and I still stand by my first sort of thought process way back in the day when I did a straight-up comedy match with Bryan to trust us with that platform at our largest weekly show, by far. Actually, it was probably just our largest show in general, right? In terms of attendance, I don’t think we’ve ever done that many people.

So to be trusted with that responsibility when you had Bryan coming back and it’s sort of like, ‘Yeah, take my word for it. I’m ready to go,’ then it’s me, it’s like, ‘Okay, take my word for it. I’m the guy to do it.’ There’s a lot of trust going into that match and I’m glad we delivered but was cooler than feeling like we had done our company and our boss proud was that the fans were just enjoying it as much as we were in the ring so that was a great memory.

When the former AEW World Champion does return to the company, he believes there’s an opportunity to tell a story with Adam Cole. On-screen, Cole is currently tied to The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) and reDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish). Cole also ‘brought’ Jay White into AEW, who had a storied rivalry with Kenny Omega in New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

I feel like there is an opportunity to tell a really interesting story with Adam Cole, at some point. I don’t know when. You just gotta fill it out. I don’t like ever being bound to something by a certain time. Like, okay, I like being able to feel the atmosphere, to listen to the fans’ response, to really gauge when the proper time is to pull the trigger. So when the timing is right or as right as it can be, hopefully I’m able to investigate that storyline.

Kenny spoke highly of Jay White and his growth as a performer. Omega feels that when Jay came back from excursion, he was unfairly compared to him but despite that, Jay rose to the occasion.

Omega is interested in sharing the ring with the current version of Jay White and exploring what they could do together.

I’ve always had a real good relationship with Jay White over the years. Known him since he was the guy doing my laundry in New Japan and always supported his venture and his journey in professional wrestling and extremely proud for him to take sort of the opportunity that was before him and make it his own. I really feel like he was sort of unfairly compared to me and/or others when he was given this incredible responsibility of being a top guy when maybe it was really soon, too soon. He was able to transform his look, his character, his wrestling style to really be something unique and something that fit him. So I would love to have that rematch with Jay, with the current version of the new Jay and hopefully be an instrument for him to really show how far he’s come, which, I think an American audience really hasn’t seen that yet and it’s tough to really see that. I mean I think the best version of Jay White that we got was probably Tokyo Dome against being as generous as he is with being able to showcase talent, I think that, even if it’s not me, I hope that Jay gets a chance to show something to the American fan base because he’s really developed into one of the great talents in professional wrestling.

Elsewhere during the conversation, he said the initial plan was for him to return to the ring this month, but he’s awaiting the umbilical hernia surgery and wants to get that taken care of. He stated that it is the last injury/surgery-related issue that he needs to take care of.

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